Monday, July 23, 2012

DreamWorks Animation Just Bought Like 30% Of Your Childhood - And Your Parents' And Grandparents' Childhoods, Too

As licensed-properties have taken over Hollywood, consolidating big collections of said properties (the better to avail yourself as partner to production companies) under one umbrella has become a canny investment for companies that once upon a time might've only ever existed to license nostalgiac DVD sets.

For one such umbrella, "Classic Media," the ship has come in: DreamWorks Animation SKG just paid $155 Million for the company (which will now be called "DreamWorks Classics") - or, rather, for the impressive roster of characters, series, franchises and other intellectual-properties that DWA will now be able to leverage into movies, TV shows, video-games, etc.

So, what did they buy? Well, about 450 properties - not necessarily the gargantuan thousands-strong collection of individual characters Disney got when they aquired Marvel, but probably a more diverse and (in some cases) eyebrow-raising set all the same...


Most of the "bigger" stuff Classic Media owned tended toward really oldschool (Lone Ranger, Dick Tracy, Lassie) or near-immortal kiddie fare (Casper, Richie Rich, Baby Huey, Rocky & Bullwinkle, Felix the Cat, Gumby); but they'd also more-recently gotten into the business of Gen-X nostalgia marketing - most notably, they own Filmmation's entire library (though only partial rights to certain productions that had been based on licensed properties) and World Events Productions, which means that DreamWorks now has some kind of claim on "Masters of The Universe" and total rights to "Voltron;" both of which have been eyed for big-screen revival.

This also gives DreamWorks Animation control of Noddy (ask somebody from the UK), the U.S. distribution rights to certain "Godzilla" movies, the VeggieTales franchise and Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. Oh, and if your looking for a reason for your inner-child to cringe; this also nets them the "Little Golden Books" library - so, yes, "The Poky Little Puppy" is now in the hands of the studio behind "Shrek."

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

To be fair, Casper, Richie Rich, and Rocky and Bullwinkle all got their terrible movies already years ago.

MrLSArcher said...

Hey, I LIKED Casper. It's family-friendly schlock movie that works as an enjoyable flick to watch while it is on TV, and nothing much to do. The rest, I agree, were 90's rubbish...

The Offender said...

This could lead to some good. Having a new generation exposed to some of these older franchise could lead to some interesting results. While not all of these results will be good, all of them will be interesting.

Eze said...

So, as Disney acquired various projects and title, Dreamworks does the same. The battle between Spielberg and Disney continues.

That said, I can't wait to see what comes through.


Hopefully, not a Voltron film directed by ......Michael Bay.


BAY!!!!!

And before anyone says otherwise, remember, Spielberg produced those Transformers movies. Food for thought...

Joe said...

These acquisitions are only good news if DreamWorks plans to actually make them available and not just sit on them. Disney owns the rights to, but has yet to release the third season of the animated Tick series (in North America), the second half of Gargoyle's second season, and the entirety of Eek! The Cat, among others.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan said...

Joe said, "...Disney owns the rights to, but has yet to release ... the second half of Gargoyle's second season..."

Gargoyles being my favorite TV show ever, I occasionally send Disney's DVD department messages asking about this, and the last time I sent one (a couple months ago, I think it was), they said they had tentative plans to release it on DVD by the end of the year.

That could all be PR rubbish, but they didn't outright say "No" like they usually do.

Just thought I'd pass that along!

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to that Captain Underpants movie they were making? Did that go anywhere?

Blue Highwind said...

DreamWorks at least makes movies that are somewhat watchable (though not always - Shark Tale), and they've gotten a lot better lately. So hopefully their CG version of these old shows will be better than the outright godawful versions of The Smurfs and all THREE Alvin and the Chipmunnks and about a million other movies.

Or they could, you know, make original movies...

John said...

James, this your daily reminder: you're a fucking prick.

Nixou said...

Hopefully, not a Voltron film directed by ......Michael Bay.

In 3D, with Shia la Beouf (why is it pronounced "Lebœuf" by the way? is feels like someone among his ancestor mispelled his french family name) as the villain.

Chris Cesarano said...

Dreamworks Animation has managed to release some pretty good films that I happen to enjoy. So the same studio that made Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon and the original Shrek (fuck the sequels) is in no way a bad thing to me.

As long as they make it a good movie (and let's be honest, how many of those properties are people truly die-hard about anyway?)

Adam Lipkin said...

There's no way Dreamworks could do any worse by Jay Ward than the previous license holders did.

Graham said...

Here's an update. DreamWorks is going to create a cable or Internet (maybe both?) channel for these properties.

So it's going to be like Cartoon Network or Boomerang? That might be interesting.

http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/07/23/idINL4E8IN69Y20120723

Eze said...

@Nixou

Shia as Lotor, with Jon Voight/John Malkovich/any other reputable actor of note as Zarkon.

Is this before or after Keith is Channing Tatum and Justin Bieber is Pidge?