Thursday, December 12, 2013

Owning the Franchise

DreamWorks works to control its destiny.

... “Turbo FAST” and the DWA shows that follow have been designed to serve as a marketing template on how to build a franchise. A hit show will help sell more mobile games, toys and other merchandise — all of which can lead to the greenlight of a film sequel. While the $135 million-budgeted “Turbo” earned only $82 million Stateside and $282 million worldwide, DWA CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg says the film is profitable for the company when toy sales and homevideo results are factored in.

Netflix could provide DWA with an outlet to engage its family fanbase between theatrical releases, which would help eliminate a dropoff in consumer product sales after a film has played out at the megaplex. ...

DWA is able to bypass the burden of having to answer to notes from a network. “Networks have more processes in place, and standards and practices, things we don’t have for this show,” said “Turbo FAST” executive producer Chris Prynoski, who also runs Titmouse, the animation studio that’s producing the show. “We’ve had to police ourselves on what we felt was good for kids. ...

DreamWorks Animation is actually doing a 21st century variation of what Disney successfully attempted in the 1950s:

THEN, Disney jumped into the new technology of television, becoming the first Hollywood studio to partner with a broadcast network. Walt Disney Productions supplied ABC with "The Mickey Mouse Club" and "Disneyland" at a time when other Hollywood companies were fighting ferociously against the home screen. In turn, ABC underwrote part of the Disneyland amusement park, helping the Disney brothers leverage their empire to greater prosperity and glory.

NOW, DWA has jumped into the new internet delivery system built by Netflix, and will soon create a whole lot of product that A) DreamWorks will own, and B) use as a foundation for merchandise, games and rides in amusement parks.

Seems clear that both companies were (are) working to accomplish similar goals: Use product and leverage to take the organization to the next level.

In the mid fifties, Disney accomplished the tasks that it set for itself. Whether or not Jeffrey Katzenberg and DreamWorks Animation succeed in the same way with a new distribution model, remains to be seen.

4 comments:

Michiel Wouda said...

But why he's doing it with a "franchise" that no one really seemed to care about is beyond me... but hey, I'm not leading an animation studio.

Alex Dudley said...

I still believe this is a perfect opportunity to develop original IP. But Dreamworks seems dead set on turning all their existing IP into franchises. But who knows, maybe TURBO FAST won't be so bad, and might work for them.
Heck, I'm surprised Pixar didn't turn Cars into a TV series. Wouldn't that be cheaper than making another movie?

Steve Hulett said...

Didn't they make a video knockoff entitled Planes?

(Sure, it was released in theaters, but it started life as a direct-to-video feature.)

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