Studio shifts juggle rankings

Major players find new roles in animation game

The third quarter marked the beginning of two significant accounting changes among the major studios.

Paramount took over distribution of DreamWorks Studios and DreamWorks Animation releases following its acquisition of DreamWorks Studio earlier this year.

Universal had previously distributed the DreamWorks’ films, which included such powerhouses as “Shrek” and “Shrek 2,” each of which sold more than 20 million units upon initial release and continued on to be top catalog sellers.

Meanwhile, catalog giant MGM, which had been under Sony distribution since last year, switched to Fox in September.

DreamWorks represented 3.1% of the market during the first nine months and MGM repped 2.2%.

Both additions likely represent big enough chunks of biz to enable Fox and Paramount to jump into the second and third market-share position in coming quarters, particularly since the current No. 2-ranked studio, Disney, is slimming its new release slate going forward.

Paramount worldwide home entertainment head Kelley Avery says Par believes it can boost its market share even more through good old-fashioned synergy — re-releasing older Nickelodeon titles tied to the release of DreamWorks’ “Over the Hedge” in November, for example.

Fox Home Entertainment exec VP Simon Swart, meanwhile, says his studio similarly plans to leverage MGM’s catalog with Fox’s new releases. “We have a lot more creative options than we did before we were together,” he says.

For its part, market-share leader Warner isn’t so sure that 1+1 will add up to 3.

“It’s an interesting thing to talk about, but I’m not sure the absolute market share drives much activity day to day,” Warner Home Video head Ron Sanders says. “In reality, retailers buy based on the title.”

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