Animation Studio Laika Lays Off Staffers Amid Pandemic

About 56 employees were impacted at the Oregon-based studio, which says it intends to rehire "at a future date when we can expand the number of people we can safely have in our buildings."

As Hollywood firms aim to regroup from a monthslong production shutdown during the pandemic, animation studio Laika is the latest company to cut staffers across departments.

Days after noting the 15th anniversary of its founding, the Oregon-based stop motion studio said it would be implementing cost-saving measures with the intention of rehiring employees when it is possible. 

Laika "holds the well-being of its employees as its highest concern," a rep told The Hollywood Reporter. "With no end in sight to the pandemic, we have rolled off 56 of staff from our crew with the intention to hire them back at a future date when we can expand the number of people we can safely have in our buildings."

In April, as business closures went into effect across the country, the studio's president and CEO Travis Knight had told staffers that the studio would temporarily shutter but keep employees on the payroll amid the crisis. The company employs 362 staffers at its Hillsboro, Oregon office, with only essential staff on-site and the majority working remotely. 

The studio is in active pre-production on its latest feature, which has yet to be announced. 

Laika's most recent feature was 2019's Missing Link, which was released via United Artists and grossed $26 million worldwide. The film, written and directed by Chris Butler, also won the Golden Globe for animated feature and nabbed an Oscar nod in the same category, losing to Disney's Toy Story 4

The studio's other titles include Kubo and the Two Strings ($76 million global gross), The Boxtrolls ($108 million), ParaNorman ($107 million) as well as Coraline ($124 million). 

From: THR