Dreamworks Animation has announced today its new theatrical distribution arrangement with 20th Century-Fox. It’s a 5-year deal for Dreamworks animated features to be released from 2013 through 2017. Paramount will release the forthcoming Rise of The Guardians, the last film in its previous arrangement with the studio, and Paramount will continue to distribute all the previous Dreamworks films it handled to TV, DVD and ancillary markets.

Unlike the deal with Blue Sky Studios (which Fox owns completely), Dreamworks remains an independent producer who will pay Fox a fee for its distribution services. It’s an interesting move for both Dreamworks and 20th Century-Fox. For Fox, it gives them two major animation studios to compete against the Disney/Pixar powerhouse. For Dreamworks, it assures first class worldwide distribution for its hefty line-up of films in production. In theory, it sounds like a win-win for everyone – everyone but Paramount.

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