DreamWorks Animation posts 4Q loss on 'Guardians'

DreamWorks Animation posts 4th-quarter loss on write-off on 'Guardians' and other projects

Associated Press

GLENDALE, Calif. (AP) -- DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. said Tuesday that it posted a loss of $82.7 million in the fourth quarter, as it booked a big write-off on its November release "Rise of the Guardians" and on an upcoming movie that needs to be reworked.

The loss amounted to 98 cents per share, compared with a profit of $24.3 million, or 29 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 21 percent to $264.7 million.

DreamWorks said the loss included an $87 million write-down on "Guardians," a $54 million charge for sending "Me & My Shadow" back into development, a $20 million charge for other projects in development and $4.6 million in restructuring expenses.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected a loss of 9 cents per share, excluding one-time charges, on revenue of $216 million.

CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said that in hindsight, "Guardians" may have been too dark for the studio's normal family audience.

"We usually do big, happy, bright comedies," he told The Associated Press. "It maybe wasn't as funny and broad a comedy as we've traditionally done."

He also said the movie, which used characters from several fairytales, did not signal that the animation studio had run out of original ideas. "Making original movies is what we do," he said.

Much of the other charges related to "Shadow" and restructuring were due to the layoff of 350 people, many of whom are associated with the film and will leave over the course of the year, he said.

The film, which was removed from its 2014 slate, is about a character and his shadow, who live in different worlds and have different appetites for adventure. Katzenberg called the movie "very complex," adding "we need to give it the right time to get it right."

DreamWorks shares fell 21 cents to close at $16.61 and lost another 10 cents in after-hours trading.

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