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DreamWorks Animation and Universal Kill ‘Croods 2’ (EXCLUSIVE)

DreamWorks Animation and its new parent, Universal Studios, have pulled the plug on the long-gestating sequel to the 2013 hit “The Croods.”

Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley met with workers at DreamWorks Animation’s Glendale headquarters Thursday to confirm that production of “The Croods 2” was being stopped immediately.

Some 30 employees who have been working on the film, launched 3 1/2 years ago, will be looking for new jobs. The workers were told DreamWorks Animation hopes to keep them at the company. Some could be shifted to other film projects, while others might be put into training or “artistic development” programs, according to an individual at Universal, who asked not to be named.

The initial “Croods” film charmed audiences with the tale of a family that deals with problems small (gathering food) and large (the impending destruction of the world.) It made $587 million worldwide at the box office, on a production budget of $135 million.

When Comcast bought DreamWorks Animation in April of this year, it put the hierarchy at Universal Studios in charge of the toon studio founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg. Individuals at both DreamWorks and Universal said doubts had been raised about proceeding with “Croods 2” even before Universal was put in charge. Two sources said that Universal was effectively just ratifying a decision already made by DreamWorks Animation to kill the movie.

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Trouble was already evident in August, when the companies announced that an expected 2017 release would be pushed back into 2018.

There are no near-term plans to bring back the prehistoric family, voiced in the original by Nicolas Cage, Catherine Keener and Emma Stone. But said the source at Universal: ” ‘The Croods’ is still very much in the DreamWorks catalog. It’s not unheard of that it might be something someone takes a look at in the future.”

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