As expected, DreamWorks Animation SKG will not go it alone. But rather than signing with Sony, which has a full plate with its animation slate, DreamWorks has signed a five-year distribution deal with Twentieth Century Fox, beginning in 2013 with The Croods (March 22), Turbo (July 9), and Mr. Peabody & Sherman (Dec. 25). We’ll see if the schedule changes.
Meanwhile, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and the Me and My Shadow hybrid are slated for 2014. Truckers and an untitled Ghost Project are on deck. According to the LA Times, DreamWorks will pay Fox the same 8% of revenue from box-office and DVD sales that Paramount received; however, DreamWorks will pay Fox a lower fee for digital distribution (including VOD and download-to-own). Plus DreamWorks will retain domestic TV distribution while starting its own family channel brand, and will continue to release its movies on TV in China. DreamWorks has expanded in China with the formation of Oriental DreamWorks (a joint venture with a state-backed Chinese consortium) for the creation of animation and live-action to be distributed in China and globally.
Overall, it looks like a great arrangement for DreamWorks, which gets Fox’s distribution and marketing expertise, while Fox gets a more significant animation player that doesn’t conflict with its own Blue Sky slate (Epic gets released May 24, 2013).
“Fox has long been an industry leader in both theatrical and home video thanks in large part to its well-integrated approach to distribution across a wide range of platforms around the globe,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation. “Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman have built a world-class distribution team and we are excited to apply their expertise, robust infrastructure and global resources so that DreamWorks Animation’s films can reach their fullest possible potential over the next five years.”
“DreamWorks Animation is a great company that makes terrific films and everyone here feels privileged and honored to have been chosen to distribute their marvelous work throughout the world,” stated Fox Filmed Entertainment CEOs and Chairmen, Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman. “We are particularly excited to add DreamWorks Animation’s films to the strong and growing slate of movies from our outstanding Blue Sky Studios division, which is coming off another global blockbuster with Ice Age: Continental Drift, and has Epic and Rio 2 in advanced production. Together we will be a dominant force in animated entertainment for years to come.”