DreamWorks Animation Expands Netflix Pact, Sets Guillermo del Toro ‘Trollhunters’ Series

Crimson Peak Guillermo Del Toro
Courtesy of Universal

Netflix and DreamWorks Animation have expanded their film and TV rights agreement, adding a number of original series and the studio’s feature film library in a pact that will bring DWA content to all markets outside of China.

Beginning this year, Netflix will launch several new DWA-produced series, including a reimagining of the Voltron franchise, and “Trollhunters,” shepherded by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. The studio said the latter series “will unleash a new, fantastical world wrapped around two best friends who make a startling discovery beneath their hometown.”

The Netflix-DWA pact deal extends the rights of current original series airing on the streaming giant. It also expands the deal to include  second-window rights for the series around the world, outside China. Among the series included in the deal are “The Adventures of Puss in Boots,” “Dinotrux,” and “Dragons: Race to the Edge.”

Other new series will be developed and produced by DreamWorks based on recent and upcoming feature films from the studio, along with others from its past library.

“DreamWorks Animation is synonymous with great storytelling that families around the world enjoy,” said Cindy Holland, Netflix’s VP of origin series. “It’s with great pleasure that we expand on an already successful relationship with DreamWorks Animation to bring more premium kids and family television to Netflix members globally.”

Ann Daly, president of DreamWorks, said: “This agreement adds to the incredible foundation we’ve built together with Netflix over a number of years across both film and television.”

A DreamWorks spokesperson said that the company’s television production commitments now total more than 1600 episodes across both linear and SVOD platforms.

The company’s television operation has been a strong suit, after a difficult 2015 that followed a series of lackluster film releases, layoffs and the shutdown of operations in Northern California. Katzenberg made a change at the top of his film unit in 2015, replacing Chief Creative Officer Bill Damaschke with the team of Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria. As part of its retrenchment, DreamWorks also announced a year ago that it was reducing its feature film slate from three to two pictures a year.

The company has high hopes that “Kung Fu Panda 3,” due in theaters on Jan. 29, will continue to correct its financial fortunes. The sequel to two earlier hits features Jack Black, Angelina Jolie and Dustin Hoffman.

DreamWorks Animation shares opened up more than 4% in the first 45 minutes of trading Tuesday.  Shares had dipped as low as $17.14 in the fall, before beginning a recovery.

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