Inside Move: Competish laffs along

Pixar enjoys DreamWorks' clips

NEW YORK — A posh luncheon Wednesday at the New York Palace Hotel turned out to be quite advantageous for Pixar folks — they were among the first to see an extended, second trailer for DreamWorks Animation’s “Madagascar.”

Competitors or not, the Pixar table rolled with genuine laughter throughout the two “Madagascar” clips presented by DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg at the Banc of America Securities investors confab. The first clip had been shown publicly before.

Katzenberg himself praised Pixar when giving the lunchtime keynoter, saying Steve Jobs’ Pixar was the “gold standard” of the CG-animated world. He said DreamWorks Animation was Avis — the country’s No. 2 car rental company — while Pixar was Hertz — the No. 1 chain.

Katzenberg’s presentation was relatively slim on financial factoids relating to DreamWorks Animation, which recently launched an IPO and became a publicly traded company. He did dismiss concerns that the CG-animated market could get overpopulated in 2006, when numerous releases are skedded by different studios.

While Katzenberg bared his stuff for all to critique, Pixar opted to bar the press from its presentation to investors later in the afternoon. Speaking for Pixar was exec VP and chief financial officer Simon Bax.

After the luncheon, Bax told Daily Variety he had no comment regarding Pixar’s view of incoming Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger and whether the animation studio would consider reupping with the Mouse House with Michael Eisner gone and Iger in charge.

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