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600 “Happy Feet Two” workers given walking papers

Happy Feet Two

Happy Feet Two

Some 600 of the 700 employ­ees at the dig­i­tal pro­duc­tion stu­dio behind the Warner Bros. flop Happy Feet Two have been given lay­off notices, accord­ing to an Aus­tralian film and TV indus­try site.

Work­ers at Dr. D Stu­dios, based in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia, have been told they will be laid off in the com­ing weeks, IF.com.au said. The stu­dio could not be reached for comment.

The orig­i­nal Happy Feet (2006) won an Oscar and grossed $384.3 mil­lion from a $100 mil­lion bud­get. But as of Thurs­day, the sequel had made just an esti­mated $30.3 mil­lion worldwide.

Happy Feet Two opened Novem­ber 18 in 3,606 the­aters. Bud­geted at an esti­mated $140 mil­lion, it came in sec­ond at the box office on its debut week­end, gross­ing $21.2 million.

We obvi­ously came in a lit­tle bit under our expec­ta­tions on Happy Feet,” said Warner Bros. pres­i­dent of dis­tri­b­u­tion Dan Fell­man. “The mar­ket expands enor­mously over the hol­i­day. By next Mon­day, we’ll know whether we’re in good shape.”

Report­edly, some Dr. D. employ­ees have been offered a job at a new com­pany that Kennedy-Miller Mitchell Films, which launched Dr. D as a joint part­ner­ship with Omni­lab Media, plans to launch early next year. Happy Feet direc­tor George Miller co-founded KMM in 1973 with pro­ducer Byron Kennedy.

Dr. D Stu­dios’ Web site dis­plays an out-of-date notice that Happy Feet Two is in pro­duc­tion. No job open­ings are listed on the site.