I was going to make a government bailout joke, but it's not funny when people lose their jobs - Warner Bros. is planning on cutting about 10% of its workforce, about 800 people.
Even though the studio brought in $1 Billion last year just with The Dark Knight, they're battening down the hatches for a rough 2009. Although they pretty much brought it on themselves, the recent Watchmen business with Fox Studios certainly didn't help the situation. It's going to cut into their profits from the film and at this point despite all fanboy buzz we still don't know how it will do at the box office (although I suspect pretty damned well).
According to Nikki Finke of DHD:
The 800 positions break down as follows: 200 open positions around the world; 300 outsourced (with a third being offered employment opportunities with Capgemini and continue to be based in Burbank), and 300 lay-offs.
And from Barry Meyer and Alan Horn of Warner Bros.:
"This was a very difficult decision to make, and one that was not made easily. Despite the fact that the company performed solidly in 2008, this decision reflects changes necessary for stability and growth going forward. The changing entertainment business landscape, shifting consumer demand and the overall state of the economy have affected companies around the world, and Warner Bros. is not immune to these factors."
"We have examined every aspect of our business in order to cut costs responsibly and to keep staff reductions to a minimum. One way to achieve these objectives is to outsource certain job functions to a third-party company. To that end, we will be outsourcing the U.S.-based components of certain parts of MIS and accounts payable. This initiative, as well as the ongoing analysis of our global MIS and finance and accounting structures, will be explained in more detail to those business groups directly impacted."
Of course it's expensive to employ 8,000 people around the world and movies are getting more expensive to make all the time between production costs and sky-high actor salaries. And everything associated with film making is expensive - not only the production but all the glamour and keeping up appearances side of things.
It sucks, but we're not out of the recession yet. This isn't the first I've heard of companies hunkering down and trimming costs/employees in preparation for a bad 2009.
For more details and the full memo visit the link below.
Source: Deadline Hollywood Daily