Following the Thursday night resignation of physical production topper Steve Molen, DreamWorks has laid off 10 staffers, several of whom worked under Molen. Other departments hit by Friday’s cuts were IT and legal, as well as one person working in insurance.
The pink slips come on the heels of this week’s news that DreamWorks has secured a second, smaller rounding of funding from India-based financier Reliance Entertainment, which initially invested $325 million in the boutique studio.
The responsibilities of Molen and his department were dwindling with DreamWorks making fewer films following the box office failure of “Cowboys & Aliens” and “I Am Number Four.” Company has two modestly-budgeted releases this year — Alex Kurtzman’s “People Like Us” and Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln.”
DreamWorks is currently prepping a summer shoot for Spielberg’s “Robopocalypse,” which returns the “War of the Worlds” helmer to his comfort zone of big-budget, sci-fi fare that is expected to please Reliance. 20th Century Fox is co-financing the pic, which is based on the book by Daniel Wilson. Spielberg is currently working with casting director Debra Zane to find his leading man. Spielberg has a long history of working with rising young talent and that appears to be his intention with “Robopocalypse,” rather than rely on the star power of a proven A-lister.