Friday, June 13, 2014

Budding Conglomerate

The new DWA release looks to be a hit, howsoever ...

... "I don't think you can be an animation company and just be an animation company anymore," said Sandra Rabins, an executive producer on the original "Shrek" ... "It's just not sustainable for anybody, even Jeffrey Katzenberg," she said, adding that publicly traded entertainment companies must build out libraries and develop revenue streams beyond the box office to make franchises worthwhile. ...

But this is kind of obvious, no?

Entertainment companies that remain in one creative box run the risk of hitting a wall and shattering to pieces. It's happened lots of times before. The Fleischer Studios. UPA. Even M-G-M. All stayed inside their original business models and ultimately disappeared.

Every movie studio alive today has expanded far beyond the sound stages, back lots and long-form features that comprised their initial corporate missions. All of the survivors either expanded from the inside out or got absorbed by another (and often larger) corporate entity.

For Disney, the strategy was to build on its early successes, becoming a producer of live-action movies and television shows becoming the owner/operator of amusement parks at a time when no other movie company did these things.

Seventy years on, Jeffrey Katzenberg strives to recreate Walt Disney's mid-twentieths century hat trick, except this time it's Mew Media, foreign markets, and high tech games and amusement centers. Whether Mr. Katzenberg is successful or not should become clear in the next half-dozen years. But even if the newer endeavors pay off, creating successful theatrical features will remain a crucial part of the DWA empire.


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