Thursday, September 07, 2006

Disney and DreamWorks

Forgot to mention that I tramped around Disney Feature Animation on Tuesday (which is getting to be my day for hiking through the building. I'm a creature of habit.)... There's nothing of significance to report except that an animator on "Meet the Robinsons" (just now there are a lot of animators on "Robinsons") thinks the picture is progressing nicely, and estimates, based on a recent screening of new footage, that staff is cranking out fifteen minutes of animation per month. As regards DreamWorks, the Wall Street Journal in this morning's edition quoted "inside sources" who postulate that Paramount (part of Viacom) may soon buy DreamWorks Animation and place Jeffrey Katzenberg at the head of the whole shebang. Then the Journal quotes others who claim that, hey, no purchase of DWA is likely to happen anytime soon because Paramount has a distribution deal with the 'toon studio for the next seven years, and it makes far more sense to buy DWA seven years hence. All this speculation comes about because Sumner Redstone, Mr. Big of Viacom, just fired Viacom Chief Tom Freston. And therefore Brad Grey (head of Paramount), a good friend of former biggie Freston, is now in some jeopardy of losing his job. I'm sure I don't know what the real story is. Two months back, Redstone was saying how secure Tom Freston was in the Viacom firmament, and we now know how much THAT proclamation turned out to be worth. About equal to Tom Cruise's 2008 production contract with Paramount.


Anonymous said...

Would this affect Nickelodeon, do you think?

Steve Hulett said...

I tend to think not, since Nick focusses on the television franchise, and the features they produce are less expensive and aimed at a different market.

Disney has Features/Pixar/TVA/Toons, after all. While there is SOME overlap, mostly one part of the Mouse House's business supplements and reinforces other parts.

The same would hold true (I think) at Viacom.

Anonymous said...

Steve, about Meet the Robinsons, are the songs by Rob Thomas and Rufus Wainwright still part of the film, or have they been cut?

Anonymous said...

Weird that "insiders" have no idea what they are talking about. They expect us to believe that Paramount would hold off on a buyout of Dreamworks Animation just because they have a 7 year distribution deal? Why? Because that's what happened with Disney/Pixar? Disney bought Pixar after their distribution ran out so logic dictates that Paramount will wait till their distribution deal runs out in seven years?

It's all about the bottom line. The distribution deal w/ DWA is only at 8%. Paramount is making tens of millions for each successful movie they distribute. Shrek 3 alone will bring in profits of over 100 million for DWA. Then there's Madagascar 2, etc. etc.

So you think Paramount holds off buying DWA because they value tens of millions over owning franchises that can reward them in the hundreds of millions from dvd sales, licensing, video games, etc etc?

That insider has no idea what they are talking about.

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