D’Works, Penguin pact

DreamWorks and Penguin Putnam Inc. have signed a licensing agreement that gives the New York-based publisher the book rights to the first five animated features from the production company. Penguin also has the option to propose books based on other DreamWorks properties.

Penguin is already contemplating more than two dozen titles to back up DreamWorks movies. Four books in the works are based on “Amistad,” which opens today in New York and Los Angeles: The first, under the Signet label, will be a paperback novelization for adults by Alexs Pate, author of “Losing Absolom”; for younger readers, Puffin will publish a novelization by Joyce Annette Barnes; Dutton plans a nonfictioner titled “Amistad: A Long Road to Freedom,” by Walter Dean Myers; and Plume will republish “Black Mutiny: The Revolt on the Schooner Amistad,” by William A. Owens, a major source of reference material for the film which is acknowledged as such in the credits.

Penguin, a unit of media giant Pearson, is also developing a number of titles for “Small Soldiers,” a Joe Dante film set for release next summer. Grosset & Dunlap plans six titles, including a movie storybook.

To accompany DreamWorks’ first animated picture, “The Prince of Egypt,” Penguin is developing titles in a dozen formats, for both adults and children. The movie, a retelling of the Biblical story of Moses, is set for a Nov. 18, 1998, release.

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