Disney to Lay Off Dozens From Studio Division

Disney has enacted more layoffs, impacting more than 50 employees in the studio’s marketing group, the NY-based theatrical division and Searchlight Pictures. Several hundred open positions have been eliminated as well.

Six people at Searchlight Pictures, the independent label once owned by Fox, were laid off on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, the Disney-owned ESPN announced that 500 positions will be eliminated — 300 employees and 200 unfilled posts — to free up resources for streaming, digital and video departments.

Though no entertainment company has escaped the pandemic unscathed, Disney’s vast empire has been hit particularly hard by coronavirus. Florida theme parks have reopened, however, locations in California have yet to reopen and Paris has been forced to close down again. Disney announced in May that “Frozen” would not reopen on Broadway, illustrating how severely its theater division has been marred by Broadway’s prolonged shutdowns. And potential blockbusters like Marvel’s “Black Widow,” Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” remake and comic book adventure “Eternals” have been pushed into 2021 or later. Disney Plus has been one of the few bright spots as “Hamilton,” “Mulan” — and hopefully “Soul” in December — will help drive up subscriptions on the streaming service. Also, some film and TV productions have started shooting again.

Lionsgate on Thursday reported that 15% of the studio’s motion picture group would be laid off due to the pandemic. Last week, Sony Pictures enacted layoffs to its marketing and distribution teams as the studio consolidated domestic and international film and television operations, resulting in about 35 positions eliminated.

Deadline Hollywood first reported the news.

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