Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer raked in $172.4 million at the global box office over its debut weekend, but DNEG, the studio which handled vfx work on the film – much of it uncredited, is laying off dozens of workers at its London headquarters.
According to a report by Deadline, which broke the layoff news, affected departments include lighting, tech, and rigging. In total, approximately 70 people are expected to lose their jobs in the cuts, which come as a response to larger economic headwinds and not the current WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.
DNEG is one of the world’s leading vfx and animation outlets. The company has won seven Oscars and its vfx work can be seen in major Hollywood fare including Dune and Dune: Part Two, The Last of Us, The Little Mermaid, Fast X, Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, and more. The company is also one of Netflix’s favorite collaborators and handled animation on several of the streamer’s original films and series including Nimona, Entergalactic, and the upcoming That Christmas.
As of August 2021, DNEG employed nearly 7,000 workers across its global offices. The company’s U.K. studios, where the layoffs are taking place, employ around 900 staff, meaning that about 7-8% of the company’s London-based workforce will be let go by the time the round of redundancies has concluded.
Stories like this have become increasingly common in recent months, and many working in vfx have indicated that the industry is reaching a breaking point. Employees in the field are facing harsh working conditions, unrealistic deadlines, unfair criticism from other parts of the industry, and a lack of credit for the work they have done. It’s little wonder that unionization chatter is becoming more frequent among workers and across social media platforms.
Pictured at top: Oppenheimer
Box office figures take from Comscore.