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Disney Continues Layoffs With Key Production, VFX Executives Let Go

This is the fourth round of layoffs following Disney’s $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox assets in March

Disney continued layoffs this week, cutting another several dozen employees at the studio and 20th Century Fox, which Disney acquired in March for $71.3 billion, an individual familiar with the layoffs told TheWrap.

The layoffs, which happened on Wednesday affected several key executives in the production and visual effects departments. At Fox, head of visual effects John Kilkenny, EVP of feature production Dana Belcastro, vice president of feature production Fred Baron, and EVP of postproduction Fred Chandler were all among those let go.

This is the fourth round of layoffs since Disney completed its acquisition of the bulk of Fox’s film and TV assets. In June, a few dozen employees were affected, although details of which departments within the studio’s film arm were hit were unclear.

Along with this week’s layoffs, Disney told employees it will shut down the Fox Research Library on or before Jan 6, 2020, and plans to fold the library’s contents — which include a valuable collection of 19th-century books, newspapers, 1920s fashion magazines, as well as a World War II materials — into its own archives.

Disney leadership has said it plans to achieve roughly $2 billion in cost-saving as job cuts continue to eliminate overlapping business functions.

In May, Fox’s corporate communications team was among the departments hit in the second round of layoffs on the film side.

The Mouse House began layoffs in March by letting go of senior-level staff and executives at Fox in what is expected to amount to more than 4,000 jobs being eliminated as part of its Fox integration.

Disney has already set its leadership team in place, tapping Emma Watts as vice chairman for 20th Century Fox Film and president of production at Fox, reporting directly to co-studio heads Alan Horn and Alan Bergman. Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula were also brought over as co-chairs for Fox Searchlight reporting to Horn and Bergman.

Variety first reported the layoffs.

Correction: A previous version of this story had an incorrect title for Dana Belcastro.