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Wednesday - April 25, 2001
- DISGRACE: Disney Animation Changes
- Animated Film Ratings
- Reuters: Animators No Longer in Demand
- News Link of the Day - Disney to Lay Off Animators

DISGRACE: Disney Animation Changes
(by digitalmediafx.com) In a move that is a blow to the animation industry, Disney plans on restructuring its animation division through firings and the slashing of salaries.

According to the LA Times, "Faced with shrinking profit in one of its cornerstone businesses, Walt Disney Co. is planning to significantly scale back its feature animation operation, cutting scores of jobs and slashing salaries by 30% to 50%."

Disney seems content with handing over its animation crown to DreamWorks, which has proven to be a tough competitor with its animated productions, including last year's Chicken Run, which DreamWorks distributed. According to the Associated Press, Disney is pleased with smaller animated productions like The Tigger Movie.

According to the AP: "The company lately has been favoring animated films with smaller budgets that have the potential to reap bigger profits. In one recent meeting, executives noted that The Tigger Movie was made at a cost of $6.5 million, but grossed $45.5 million domestically, $28.3 million internationally and generated $78.8 million in video revenue."

Just days ago, Disney CEO Michael Eisner made the comment that Disney animation "represents the heart and soul of Disney." Now Disney appears set to let go of some of that "heart and soul."

The LA Times article states, "But the latest move strikes at the company's heart and soul. Walt Disney launched the studio with animation in 1923, and it was animation that led Disney's revival under Chief Executive Michael Eisner in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the company released such hits as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and its high-water mark, The Lion King."

Up to 30% of the animators in Burbank are expected to be let go and for those that remain, their salaries will see a 30%-50% reduction. The move comes just months after Eisner accepted an $11.5 million bonus as CEO of Disney.

Related dFX Articles:
Disney to Slash Animator Salaries!
Michael Eisner: "Disney Animators Deserve Greatest Protection!"

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Animated Film Ratings
(by digitalmediafx.com) Here are the ratings for upcoming animated theatrical films:

Shrek - PG for mild language and some crude humor.

The Trumpet and the Swan - G.

Atlantis - PG for action violence.

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within - PG-13 for sci-fi action violence.

Osmosis Jones - PG-13 for crude language and humor.

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Reuters: Animators No Longer in Demand
(by digitalmediafx.com) According to an article in Reuters, "few of the animated movies from Disney's rivals, such as Warner's The Iron Giant in 1999 or Titan A.E. last yearfrom Fox, performed well at the box office. The result, beginning in 2000, was that several studios trimmed their animation units, smaller companies went out of business. As a result, animators were in less demand, and their salaries fell."

The article, titled "Disney to Cut Jobs in Feature Animation," alleges the lack of demand for animators as part of the reason behind Disney slashing animator salaries 30%-50%.

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News Link of the Day - Disney to Lay Off Animators

According to the San Jose Mercury News (via the LA Times):

"Faced with shrinking profit in one of its cornerstone businesses, Walt Disney is planning significant reductions at its feature animation operation and will cut dozens of jobs and slash salaries by as much as 30 percent to 50 percent.

In the past two weeks, Disney officials have held two key meetings with department heads, animation supervisors and directors at the company's animation facility in Burbank, using a series of dramatic charts and graphs to illustrate the unit's declining profit and hammer home that they believe labor and production costs of the animated movies are too high..."

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