Director Dean DeBlois is making a long-term commitment to Universal Pictures for live action, hybrid, and animation projects. Both Universal Pictures and its subsidiary Dreamworks Animation announced new production agreements with DeBlois this afternoon. (Universal is a division of Comcast-NBCUniversal.)
Here’s what you need to know about the new deals:
- DeBlois made the deals through his recently formed Anvil Pictures banner. Universal will have a first-look production agreement for live-action and hybrid projects with DeBlois, while Dreamworks Animation will have an overall exclusive deal for animated projects. The announcement was made by Peter Cramer, president, Universal Pictures, and Margie Cohn, president, Dreamworks Animation.
- DeBlois is currently in development on multiple projects for Universal including Storybook Ending, a live-action/hybrid film based on an original story by DeBlois and Bill Teitler which he will write, direct, as well as produce alongside Teitler, and Treasure Island, an action-adventure inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, which he will direct as well as produce alongside Mandeville Films. Additional upcoming projects include Paramount’s Micronauts, a live-action take on the Hasbro toy line, which DeBlois will write and direct.
- DeBlois’s statement on the deal: “Working on the final installment of the Dragon trilogy these past few years with Donna [Langley, chairman, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group], Peter and their teams at Universal, I have seen first-hand the attention and passion they give to all of their films. Along with my continued collaboration with Margie and Dreamworks Animation, I’m thrilled to be embarking on this partnership with Universal to create new and exciting live action and hybrid projects.”
- Peter Cramer, Universal Pictures president, said, “Dean is an amazing storyteller, who created visually stunning worlds and heart-warming adventures with his brilliant How to Train Your Dragon series, and we are confident that our partnership will continue to yield memorable results in the live-action space as well.”
- Margie Cohn, Dreamworks Animation president, added, “For over ten years, Dean has been an integral part of the fabric of Dreamworks. His gift for emotional and timeless storytelling is unparalleled and we can’t wait to collaborate with him on future films.”
- In addition to the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy, DeBlois co-wrote and co-directed Disney’s Lilo & Stitch with Chris Sanders. He was also co-head of story on Disney’s Mulan and directed the 2007 live-action documentary Heima, which documents Icelandic band Sigur Rós’ series of free unannounced concerts performed in their home country.
- DeBlois is represented by WME and Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler Feldman & Clark.