DreamWorks Animation set to outsource work to ‘tax advantaged/lower cost geographies’

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DreamWorks Animation is reportedly looking to move chunks of its animation work to places where it can be made more cheaply.

One of the points made by Pixar earlier this year when discussing the price of the film Elemental was that it was one of the few companies making its animated films in the US, and not outsourcing the work to cheaper suppliers. Walt Disney Animation Studios and DreamWorks Animation were the others, with Sony Pictures Imageworks operating studios in Canada.

According to an extensive report at Cartoon Brew, DreamWorks Animation is looking to outsource a sizeable chunk of its future work.

It’s done this in parts before, with sequences of certain films going to animation producers outside of the US. The production of Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie – one of its best films, in my opinion – was handled almost entirely out of house.

As per the Cartoon Brew’s report, two of its 2025 films – the Dog Man movie, and an untitled feature – will now be produced ‘entirely at vendor studios’.

DreamWorks Animation is reportedly looking to reduce production costs by 20 percent, and as part of that, ‘DreamWorks will not longer fully-produce any of its animated films in-house’.

My favourite sentence reportedly came from COO Randy Lake. He is reported to have told staff that he wanted to “keep the majority of work in house, but outsource some of our asset and shot work to partner studios in tax advantaged/lower cost geographies”.

Tax advantaged/lower cost geographies. And that, chums, is where the world is now.

DreamWorks looks like it’ll be keeping some of the work in the Los Angeles area, and that in itself is becoming a rarity. But the extension of the outsourcing model does feel like a snapshot of where both animation and the effects industry too has landed.

The full, not very cheery report at Cartoon Brew can be found here. DreamWorks Animation has thus far not commented on the reports.

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