The drama beween DreamWorks Animation and its distributor Paramount continues with plenty of unsubstantiated rumors, but no hard details of the negotiations. Paramount, of course, recently launched its own in-house animation studio, which strikes me as a bargaining chip more than anything else. We’ve also heard rumors that Paramount has just appointed a new studio president, and if it’s who people are claiming, it’s someone with one of the most disastrous track records of any recent executive to work in the animation industry.
The situation reminds me a lot of what Disney did when they started contract renewal talks with Pixar some years ago. Disney launched a new studio, Circle 7, and tried to make their own Toy Story sequel before coming to the conclusion that Pixar’s creative culture couldn’t be replicated with deep pockets alone. I’m not suggesting that Paramount will buy DreamWorks, but I am saying that Paramount is sorely mistaken if they think they can just launch an animation studio and start churning out consistent box office winners like DreamWorks.
This morning, an anonymous commenter on the Animation Guild blog posted a list of thirty properties currently optioned or in development at DreamWorks. The list is printed below. I can’t vouch for its accuracy, but I’ve heard of at least half of the projects on the list. Allowing for some fluctuations in the nebulous nature of options and development, it appears to be fairly accurate.