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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: dreamworks, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 77
1. Jeffrey Katzenberg Will Receive National Medal of Arts

President Obama will honor DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg with the 2013 National Medal of Arts.

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2. Pixar’s Ed Catmull Emerges As Central Figure In The Wage-Fixing Scandal

Pixar and Disney Animation president Ed Catmull has always had a reputation as a decent person, but newly revealed court documents show that he's been working against the interests of Pixar's employees for years, as well as trying to hurt other studios who didn't play by his rules.

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3. DreamWorks Buys 95-Year-Old Felix the Cat To Make Him A ‘Fashion Brand’

DreamWorks Animation has bought the rights to the 95-year-old feline cartoon icon Felix the Cat. The studio acquired the character by paying an undisclosed sum to Don Oriolo, whose father Joe helped revive Felix in the 1950s and later assumed ownership of the character.

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4. This Four-Feet-Tall, Seventy-Pound Toothless Sculpture is Actually a Cake

To toast the release of "How to Train Your Dragon 2" at a private studio party, DreamWorks commissioned boutique cake maker Fernanda Abarca, who is also an artist at the company, to create this four-foot tall, seventy-pound statute of Toothless the Dragon.

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5. DreamWorks Lays Off Dozens of Employees As ‘Dragons 2′ Continues to Underperform

We heard rumors of layoffs at DreamWorks last week, but they weren't confirmed by a reputable source until yesterday evening when the animator's union, The Animation Guild, posted an item about it on their blog.

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6. Disney and DreamWorks May Have Been Part of Illegal Pixar/Lucasfilm Wage-Fixing Cartel

Tech site Pando Daily has been providing amazing coverage of the Department of Justice antitrust invesigation and subsequent class action lawsuits over wage-fixing amongst Silicon Valley tech companies and animation studios.

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7. 11 New ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2′ Images

DreamWorks has released a stockpile of "How to Train Your Dragon 2" film stills and publicity shots on the film's official website. There's new renders of Hiccup, Astrid, and Stoick, along with the dragons, including a new one, Cloudjumper. The quality of lighting and atmosphere has progressed notably since the first film in 2010. The Dean DeBlois-directed sequel will arrive into U.S. theaters on June 13.

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8. DreamWorks Is Developing ‘Hot Stuff’

DreamWorks is developing "Hot Stuff," a feature film starring the diaper-wearing demon-baby Hot Stuff the Little Devil, who originally appeared in Harvey Comics.

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9. A

“DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition” opened last month at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). Clearly inspired by “Pixar: 20 Years of Animation,” which was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York back in 2005, the DreamWorks show includes over 400 items, and covers the studio's twenty-year history right up to the present—there are displays about "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" and "How to Train Your Dragon 2," which will be released next month. It is the largest exhibition in the twelve-year history of the ACMI.

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10. DreamWorks Animation 20th Anniversary Exhibit Debuts in Melbourne

“DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition” opened last month at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). Clearly inspired by “Pixar: 20 Years of Animation,” which was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York back in 2005, the DreamWorks show includes over 400 items, and covers the studio's twenty-year history right up to the present—there are displays about "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" and "How to Train Your Dragon 2," which will be released next month. It is the largest exhibition in the twelve-year history of the ACMI.

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11. This Week in Animation History: Disney’s Day of the Dead Problem, Wayne Allwine and ‘Shrek 2′

A look at animation history via Cartoon Brew's archives.

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12. The One Thing That Could Save DreamWorks Animation: China

At least one DreamWorks animated film has lost money for the past three years in a row: "Rise of the Guardians" in 2012 had an $87 million writedown; "Turbo" in 2013 resulted in a $13.5 million writedown; and this year's "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" caused a $57 million writedown. This is rather obviously not a sustainable trend from a business standpoint, and investors are beginning to worry about the studio's long-term prospects.

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13. DreamWorks Releases ‘Home’ Trailer

DreamWorks Animation released a trailer today for "Home." The Tim Johnson-directed film will be released on March 27, 2015.

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14. ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2′ Launches with $50 Million

DreamWorks Animation's "How to Train Your Dragon 2" opened in second place this weekend with an estimated $50 million. The film trailed the $60 million debut of another sequel, the R-rated "22 Jump Street," directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who also directed "The LEGO Movie," which opened to $69 million earlier this year.

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15. DreamWorks to Produce 300 Hours of Programming for Netflix

In the continuing evolution of the on-demand streaming deal between Netflix and DreamWorks Animation, it was reported earlier this week that DreamWorks will produce more than 300 hours of original programming for the popular streaming media outlet.

The new content, which will be inspired by characters from existing DreamWorks franchises like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar, as well as properties from the recently acquired Classic Media library (Casper the Friendly Ghost, Lassie, Rocky and Bullwinkle, among others) will begin to air in 2014.

The agreement is part of DreamWorks’ initiative to expand their entertainment brand by courting television production away from mainstream TV outlets like Cartoon Network and Nick, where its TV shows currently air. This will begin with the December Netflix debut of a new original series, Turbo F.A.S.T., based on the upcoming feature film Turbo, which will hit theaters on July 17. It will also offer Netflix exclusive streaming rights to a selection of DreamWorks animated films, including The Croods and their movie version of Mr. Peabody and Sherman, coming to theaters in March 2014.

For Netflix, the contract, which is the most significant first-run content deal in its history, is part of their ongoing efforts to beef up their selection of children’s programming, which is very popular among parents as it offers a commercial-free alternative for younger, more impressionable viewers. The streaming site did not renew a deal with Viacom for reruns of Nickelodeon cartoons, and will rely heavily on DreamWorks for kids’ content.

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16. “How To Train Your Dragon 2″ Teaser Trailer

Watch the new teaser trailer for DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon 2 which follows the continuing adventures of Hiccup and Toothless. The film is set to be released in June 2014. The director is Dean DeBlois, who is helming an animated pic solo for the first time.


Dragons 2 – Bande-annonce teaser [VO HD 1080P] by Mister3ZE

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17. Brenda Chapman Acccuses John Lasseter of Micromanagement

Yesterday’s New York Times delivered a glowing profile of DreamWorks chief creative officer Bill Damaschke. The pieces describes how CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg is relinquishing oversight of creative matters to Damaschke, who for his part is trying to make the studio more creator-friendly.

It reads like your typical puff piece until it gets to the part about Brenda Chapman. The article reveals that Chapman, who co-directed the first DreamWorks film The Prince of Egypt before jumping to Pixar where she made Brave, has recently returned to DreamWorks. First, Chapman explains why she left DreamWorks:

“I left in part because I felt like I was being asked to do the same story over and over. I look at the movies DreamWorks is doing now, and I see the exact opposite happening.”

Then, it gets juicy when she places the blame for her removal as director of Brave squarely on the shoulders of John Lasseter:

She was pushed out of Pixar after clashing with that studio’s chief creative officer, John Lasseter. Although she could have joined another studio, she said she chose to return to Glendale in part because of Mr. Damaschke, who started at DreamWorks Animation in 1995 as a production assistant on The Prince of Egypt.

“As Jeffrey has gained experience and age, and DreamWorks has grown, he has stepped back and allowed other people to run creative,” Ms. Chapman said. “At Pixar, it’s all John’s show.” She added of DreamWorks Animation, “you can butt heads here and not be punished for it, unlike at another place I could name.”

It’s not exactly news that there was some kind of a conflict between Lasseter and Chapman, but it begins a new chapter in the story when Chapman publicly claims that Lasseter’s micromanagement was the cause of her rift with Pixar. And on another note, who would have ever thought that directors like Chapman and Chris Sanders would begin migrating to DreamWorks for its liberal creative environment. In the animation world, the times they are a-changin.

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18. “Turbo” Reader Reviews

Few industry observers are banking on Turbo, the David Soren-directed DreamWorks pic about a garden snail who races in the Indianapolis 500, to be a blockbuster. But the film is being well received by its kindertot target demo, having received an A+ CinemaScore rating from filmgoers under age 18. The general audience has deemed it sufficiently likable too, giving it an A rating. The critical consensus has delivered a milder yet still respectable 67%.

In Variety critic Peter Debruge’s review, he forgoes the most obvious comparison to Pixar’s Cars and instead says it’s “closer in spirit to Pixar’s Ratatouille.” He continues, “Turbo adheres to an otherwise safe formula, combining cute cartoon characters with the standard all-American ‘dream big’ message: If a rat can thrive in a French restaurant, then why can’t a snail become an Indy speedster.” The NY Times sees the glass as half-full: “Even in the absence of originality, there is fun to be had,” while the Hollywood Reporter is less than impressed: “…[I]t’s as if the makers of Turbo had been pressed to come up with the most extreme underdog tale they could think of. Or else animators really are running out of ideas for original new characters.”

It’s your turn now. After you see the film, report back here with your thoughts in the comments below. As always, this talkback is reserved for readers who have seen the film and wish to comment on it. Any general comments about the film will be politely discarded.

(Turbo billboard via Daily Billboard)

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19. “Turbo” Fails to Accelerate at Box Office


Turbo, the DreamWorks-produced and David Soren-directed animated feature about the snail that could, opened in a disappointing third place in the U.S. with an esimated $21.5 million. The film is the third-lowest all-time opening weekend for a DreamWorks CGI film, doing better than only Antz (1998) and the Aardman-produced Flushed Away (2006). However, adjusted for inflation and 3D prices, Turbo had the smallest opening weekend audience EVER for a DreamWorks CG pic. The film has grossed $31.2 million since opening last Wednesday.

Illumination’s Despicable Me 2 kept up its amazing run in its third weekend. The film landed in second place with an estimated $25.1 million. Its current domestic total is a smashing $276 million, and by next weekend it will pass Man of Steel to become the second-highest grossing film in America this year. Holding up the tenth place spot was Pixar’s Monsters University, which earned an estimated $5 million in its fifth weekend. The film’s total now stands at a robust $249 million.

International numbers to come in a bit.

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20. The View from Wall Street: Weak “Turbo” Opening Highlights DreamWorks Business Model Erosion

Following the lackluster opening of Turbo, DreamWorks Animation heard grumbling from Wall Street this afternoon, with shares in the company losing over 5% of their value on NASDAQ. Sterne Agee analyst Vasily Karasyo released a report this morning that offers a big-picture perspective on DreamWorks and explains why the weak Turbo debut highlights the erosion of DreamWorks’ business model, which relies largely on a few tentpole films every year.

Of course, DreamWorks management is well aware, too, that their reliance on blockbusters is not a sustainable long-term model, which is why Jeffrey Katzenberg is scrambling to diversify into other areas, such as acquiring Classic Media’s library, entering the Chinese animation and amusement park markets, and working with Netflix to create online series.

Here is Karasyo’s report:


DREAMWORKS ANIMATION SKG INC. (NASDAQ: DWA)
RATING: UNDERPERFORM
Price: $24.90
Price Target: $21.50
Weak Turbo Opening Highlights Business Model Erosion

Our Call
We believe that the weak opening of Turbo is not a one time event but another illustration of the challenges to DreamWorks Animation’s business model due to decreasing box office opportunity and high legacy production and releasing costs. Although the management’s efforts to build new revenue streams received a lot of attention recently, they are not enough to offset decreasing film profitability. We reiterate our Underperform rating.

  • We estimate at this point that Turbo will generate $70 mln at the domestic box office, less than half of our and the Street’s pre-release estimate of $160 mln. A significant number of international territories don’t open till October but assuming IBO is in line with our forecast at $280 mln, we expect a $19 mln write-down which would drive $0.28 downside to our FY13 forecast. We don’t believe the company has to make a determination on the title’s profitability and therefore the write-down won’t happen until Q4.

  • If we are right about Turbo’s ultimate profitability, the risk to FY14 estimates is now significantly higher. There are two original releases, Peabody and Sherman and Happy Smekday, next year. With two out of the last three titles underperforming, we see the likelihood of another write-down as materially higher.
  • New revenue streams from the recent Netflix (NFLX – $264.58 – Neutral, Bhatia) deal only modestly decrease dependence on film earnings: we estimate they will account for $0.07 in EPS in FY14 assuming there are no execution issues. By comparison, Rise of The Guardians write-down impact on EPS was $0.68 and The Croods contribution to FY13 will be $0.26.
  • We think the execution risk associated with the Netflix deal is overlooked. In recent history, the company pursued several initiatives to drive incremental revenue which ran into challenges and did not yield expected results, e.g. Penguins of Madagascar consumer product licensing program and a shift to three films a year. The main challenge of the Netflix deal, in our view, is to produce high volume of content within tight time frame and at the target margin.
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    21. CG Animated Films Are Dominating the 2013 Global Box Office

    The Wall Street Journal published a story last weekend about Hollywood’s struggle to recoup its costs on big-budget tentpole films, but there’s one bright spot the WSJ (along with the rest of the mainstream media) always fail to recognize and that’s that animation is more successful than ever before.

    Despite Turbo’ stumble at the box office and Henry Selick’s diss that American animated films are all the same, audiences around the world can’t get enough of big-budget CG animated features. Check this out:

    Only six films have grossed $500 million dollars or more at the worldwide box office in 2013, and three of those films are animated. Let’s put this into perspective: animation studios have released just five animated features this year with a production cost of over $75 million and three of those films became half-billion grossers; on the other hand, live-action filmmakers have released over 20 films this year that cost $75 million or more, and only three of those films have achieved a similar mark. The evidence is clear: expensive animated tentpoles have a much better chance of being profitable than their live-action counterparts.

    Leading the way amongst animated films at last week’s box office was the mega-hit Despicable Me which landed in 3rd place with $16.4 mil in its fourth U.S. weekend, boosting its domestic total to $306.8 mil. The film added $24.5 mil from foreign markets for an overseas total of $354.5 mil.

    Monsters University continued a similarly strong run, earning $2.9 mil in its sixth U.S. weekend and $15.6 mil from overseas. The film’s totals are now $255.5 mil domestically and $321.6 foreign. The film has yet to open in markets like China and Italy, and by the time it’s all over, the film should become Pixar’s fourth highest-grossing movie ever.

    The only animated clunker in theaters right now is DreamWorks’ Turbo, which had a sophomore frame gross of $13.7 mil, good enough for fourth place and a U.S. total of $56.2 mil. The film had a slim 35.5% decline, but it was slim only because the film couldn’t decline much further from its already meager opening weekend. Turbo managed to pick up $12.5 mil from 30 overseas markets pushing its foreign total to $41.9 mil. After two weekends, the film’s combined gross is $98.1 mil.

    More animation is coming soon, too. Sony’s Smurfs 2 will be released this week, and Disney’s Planes next week.

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    22. Gallery: DreamWorks Artist Devin Crane Exhibits in Paris

    We’re a little late on this one, but it’s worth mentioning that veteran DreamWorks visual development artist Devin Crane (Kung Fu Panda, Megamind, Monsters vs Aliens) is exhibiting at the Galerie Arludik in Paris through this Saturday, September 21. The show, entitled “Dreams, Fashion and Fairy Tales,” features Crane’s trademark primped and preened women, ready to conquer the world with a glass of champagne in hand and a Louis Vuitton bag over their shoulder. This is Crane’s second exhibit at Arludik, following the “Heaven Can Wait” series in 2010.

    See a preview of some of the show’s paintings and drawings below:

    Beautiful New Adventures Margaux La Belle et la Bete Midnight At The Hotel Costes Natalia Caviar Jungle Heat

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    23. Tomorrow in LA: USC Football Game Will Feature “Croods” Musical Performance

    Here’s something for the individual who’s torn between watching college football and animation. Tomorrow’s USC versus Utah game will feature a half-time “Tribute to Alan Silvestri” performed by the USC Marching Trojans. Among the selections that will be performed is “Smash & Grab” from DreamWorks’ The Croods. Footage from the film will play on the Los Angeles Coliseum Jumbotron alongside with the live performance.

    “Smash & Grab” is one of the film’s most distinctive tracks, appearing in an early scene involving a hunt for food. Directors Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco (a USC alum, by the way) and composer Silvestri (Forrest Gump, The Avengers, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Back to the Future) recruited the USC Marching Trojans to perform the track for the film’s score. By comparing the scene in the film to that of a football game, they wanted to underscore that “in the prehistoric world of the Crood family, even getting breakfast is a full contact sport.” As far as I know, this is the first live performance of the piece by the Marching Trojans.

    Kickoff time for the USC/Utah game is 3:30pm ET, and it will be broadcast on ABC/ESPN2.


    Left to right: Chris Sanders, Art Bartner (Director, Trojan Marching Band), composer Alan Silvestri and Kirk De Micco.

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    24. DreamWorks Promotes Upcoming ‘Home’ with New Short ‘Almost Home’

    DreamWorks premiered online a new short "Almost Home" on Buzzfeed this morning to promote their next original feature, "Home," which will debut on November 26, 2014.

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    25. DreamWorks Will Make ‘King Julien,’ ‘Puss in Boots,’ and ‘Veggie Tales’ Series for Netflix

    DreamWorks has announced three new series as part of its mega-content deal with Netflix.

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