×

Layoffs Hit Both Disney and Fox Film Groups (EXCLUSIVE)

Layoffs are taking place across both Walt Disney Studios and 20th Century Fox on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the combined studios confirmed to Variety. The cuts are being made specifically in film staff, an individual with knowledge of the company said, and come on the heels of the Disney’s $71.3 billion acquisition of much of 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets.

Disney has not said officially which specific departments will be impacted, although the distribution division, particularly staffers overseeing the domestic rollout of films, are expected to be among the hardest hit. Cuts in the publicity and marketing departments are expected to take place on Thursday. More information is expected after pink slips are handed out, another insider added.

Content monolith Disney acquired Fox in March. Last week, the studio clarified its release calendar, folding in numerous high profile projects from Fox, including setting dates for the debuts of James Cameron’s “Avatar” sequels, as well as smaller projects such as the Amy Adams thriller “The Woman in the Window.”

The last significant round of layoffs occurred on March 21, when dozens of 21st Century Fox executives were given pink slips in the first wave of what is expected to be as many as 4,000 layoffs. Those cuts will take place across the units Disney acquired in the content space, as well as at the newly formed Fox Corp., the television company forged out of the Murdoch family’s remaining entertainment and broadcasting assets.

Popular on Variety

The layoffs are the human toll of the merger designed to fortify Disney and help it stay competitive in the fast-changing media and entertainment marketplace of the future. Disney has pledged to achieve $2 billion in synergy savings by 2021. There is no question that a great deal of that will come from job cuts.

Disney is not expected to initiate any mass layoffs on the television side in the near future. Fox’s TV network groups — FX Networks and Nat Geo — were distinct from Disney’s existing operations so there was no immediate duplication. The layoffs that hit the TV group after the deal closed in March were in domestic and international distribution, which were redundant with Disney’s existing infrastructure.

Sources said the studio side has brought together the three main production units — 20th Century Fox TV, ABC studios and Fox 21 Television Studios — to operate as separate labels. A source said there may be some consolidation in administrative and back office functions down the road. But those decisions will come in time after top managers have had a chance to evaluate how things are running. A senior source said there is no target number for layoffs nor a timetable.

Cynthia Littleton contributed to this report.

More Film

  • Bong Joon Ho, Jane Rosenthal, David

    Netflix Praised by 'The Irishman,' 'Marriage Story' Filmmakers at Producers Guild Panel

    Streaming giant Netflix received strong support from filmmakers behind “The Irishman” and “Marriage Story” at the Producers Guild of America’s nominees panel on Saturday at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Jane Rosenthal, one of “The Irishman” producers, said Netflix embraced the vision that she and Martin Scorsese had for the $170 million film. [...]

  • Gabriel Harel on MyFFF ‘The Night

    Gabriel Harel Discusses Dystopic Parable ‘The Night of the Plastic Bags’

    With his first short film, the animated “Yùl and the Snake,” Gabriel Harel won Europe’s Cartoon d’Or for the continent’s best animated short film, given at the 2016 Cartoon Forum in Toulouse. Now, Harel’s awaited sophomore effort, the animated “The Night of the Plastic Bags,” competes at UniFrance’s MyFrenchFilmFestival, and is available on a swathe [...]

  • MyFrenchFilmFestival: Profiling Benjamin Crotty’s Short ‘Nicolas

    ‘The Glorious Acceptance of Nicolas Chauvin’: Nationalism Wrapped in Charisma

    Winner of Locarno’s Signs of Life section, Benjamin Crotty’s “The Glorious Acceptance of Nicolas Chauvin” has enjoyed more than 12 months of festival success and critical acclaim as it reaches the end of its festival run at UniFrance’s MyFrenchFilmFestival. A modern take on one of France’s most influential yet widely unknown characters, the film headlines [...]

  • Alexander Ludwig

    Alexander Ludwig on Sharing his Recovery Journey, Playing the 'Bad Boys' Tech Guy

    With his towering height and stature, Alexander Ludwig looks every bit the action star, first appearing as Cato in “The Hunger Games,” and more recently as fierce Norse Viking chief Bjorn Ironside on History Channel’s “Vikings” and in “Bad Boys for Life,” the third installment of the “Bad Boys” franchise, with Will Smith and Martin [...]

  • Will Smith and Martin Lawrence star

    Box Office: 'Bad Boys for Life' Scores Big With $66 Million Launch

    “Bad Boys for Life” is showing plenty of power at the North American box office with an impressive  launch of around $66 million at 3,740 venues over the four-day holiday weekend. Sony’s sequel to 1995’s “Bad Boys” and 2003’s “Bad Boys II” far exceeded the studio’s pre-release forecasts of a $38 million weekend. The film, [...]

  • A Bump Along the Way Movie

    'A Bump Along the Way': Film Review

    While “Derry Girls” continues to be the last word in young, raucous female rebellion on the Emerald Isle, “A Bump Along the Way” has a little something to add. Sin the same Northern Irish city as the hit Netflix sitcom, but shedding the ’90s nostalgia for the Snapchat age, Shelly Love’s appealing, unassuming debut feature [...]

  • Tresor Plots $72 Million 'Asterix &

    Tresor Films Plots $72 Million 'Asterix & Obelix: The Silk Road,' New Projects (EXCLUSIVE)

    After delivering two of the highest-grossing French films of last year, Alain Attal’s Paris-based production company Tresor Films (“Sink or Swim,” “Little White Lies 2”) is kicking off 2020 with its most ambitious project yet, Guillaume Canet’s “Asterix & Obelix: The Silk Road.” Co-produced and financed by Jerome Seydoux’s Pathé, “Asterix & Obelix” is budgeted [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content