Mouse cuts 103 jobs, Sony adds seventh int'l prod'n unit

TOKYO — Moves by two majors on Japan’s hot animation front provided conflicting signals.

Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan announced Thursday that it would open a local unit in Tokyo to produce two animated features a year.

The day before, Disney revealed plans to close its 14-year-old Tokyo animation unit after “Winnie the Pooh” spinoff “The Heffalump Movie” wraps. The 103 animators and staffers will lose their jobs.

The Japan unit will be Sony’s seventh around the world that produces films in local languages. Pics will be exported through Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Disney’s Japan unit produced features that include “Piglet’s Big Movie” and “The Tigger Movie.”

Sony participated in earlier animated productions in Japan as a distrib. Foremost among those was “Metropolis,” by Taro Rin.

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