Disney Films Layoffs Include Spotlight, Story, and Distribution Departments – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: While Disney is cutting 4K employees across the conglomerate in a goal to reach $5.5 billion in savings, Deadline has learned that on the functional side, those being laid off consisted mostly of mid-level employees and coordinators.

Among those departments affected were Searchlight, as well as general Disney marketing, public relations, distribution, legal and 20th and Disney history departments.

Those wiping their eyebrows and ducking the ax include many prolific leaders.

Disney Films Layoffs Include Spotlight, Story, and Distribution Departments – Deadline

Search light

While those executed ranged from two-decade vets to new hires, an insider tells Deadline that it wasn’t a bloodbath like when Disney absorbed 20th Century Fox.

In the story department, eight employees were cut, some who came over from 20th Century Fox. Employees were notified today in meetings with HR and department managers.

Deadline hears that those fired were given 60 days’ notice, but must work for the duration of their employment with one week’s severance pay. In previous redundancies, it was not expected that those who were let go would work and still received pay upon termination.

That said, given that many of the affected individuals are union employees, severance pay is determined by the collective bargaining agreement and years of service. Disney aims to give those laid off as much flexibility as possible during the 60-day period so they can look for other jobs.

On the Searchlight side, the affected departments were legal, production, PR and marketing. When Disney merged with 20th, Searchlight was largely unaffected. They increased after the merger as former CEO Bob Chapek pivoted Disney toward streaming, and now the 20th classic arthouse brand is back to a pre-merger headcount that’s in the 100-plus employee range.

Other cuts are coming. To date, Pixar in Emeryville, CA has been untouched.

Disney did not return Deadline’s request for comment.

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