Hollywood’s top studios rang in the new year by unveiling new rounds of layoffs. The first was Amazon, who announced layoffs at both its studios and Prime Video divisions. After acquiring MGM for $8.5 billion at the end of 2022, Amazon began slowly by cutting back only about 100 positions in 2023.
The upcoming round is said to amount to the elimination of “several hundred” more staff positions, both at Prime Video and the MGM Studios group. Future rounds are also planned, as the company reorganizes operations after several years of aggressive hiring and investment.
On Thursday, the online tech publisher TechCrunch broke news that Disney’s Pixar Studios would be laying off as many as 20% of its current 1,300 employees. While Disney confirmed this reporting, it clarified that the scope would be less than 20% of its current staff and would take place gradually over the year.
ELEMENTAL was the studio’s only release in 2023, producing at an acceptable result at the box office with a worldwide total of $496M, roughly breaking after factoring in the cost of production and marketing. ELEMENTAL achieved even more success when it streamed on Disney+, as one of the most viewed titles on the platform.
However, Pixar was still reeling from the disappointment of the 2022 release of LIGHTYEAR, which is said to have resulted in a loss of over $100M. Earlier this year, Disney’s WISH was another animated flop for the studio, creating another loss of $100M+.
Because Disney is under intense pressure to re-establish profitability in all its divisions, management is forced to look at all options to cut its expenses. This will inevitably lead to layoffs, especially in areas where financial results have been challenged.
See also: As Disney pushes toward streaming profitability, Pixar to undergo layoffs in 2024 (TechCrunch)