×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

DreamWorks considers indie future

Two scenarios emerging for company's rebirth

As DreamWorks continues to seek financing for its planned reincarnation as an independent company after its ties to Paramount end later this year, two scenarios for the company’s future are emerging.

One possibility is that DreamWorks will raise $500 million-$600 million in equity, as it has been negotiating with Indian conglom Reliance, plus another $500 million in debt from banks to finance an annual slate of four to six pics.

The other option, biz insiders say, is that it will try to raise $1 billion in equity and another $1 billion in debt to bankroll a slate of eight pics per year.

As of Wednesday, DreamWorks’ much buzzed-about negotiations with Reliance were not completed and, indeed, may have encountered a few sticking points. Some industry observers are wondering if wily negotiator David Geffen isn’t using Reliance as a bargaining chip in yet another high-stakes studio play.

The Associated Press reported this week out of India that DreamWorks is looking to raise as much as $2 billion in equity and debt from Reliance and other sources to fund its return to indie production. The AP said Universal, which has deep ties to DreamWorks principal Steven Spielberg, was among the four or five entities in talks with DreamWorks.

If it realizes the eight-picture scenario, DreamWorks may not contract with just one studio distributor. DreamWorks could allocate its pictures on a case-by-case basis via rent-a-system deals with a low distribution fee, in the manner of Marvel Entertainment or Lucasfilm, which produced Spielberg’s summer blockbuster “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”

DreamWorks could arrange distribution on individual pics with both U and Paramount Pictures, its current home. DreamWorks has also talked with 20th Century Fox about distribution. Par insiders say there have been no discussions yet about a future distrib relationship with DreamWorks, which has had a famously rocky relationship with Par execs since Viacom acquired DreamWorks for $1.6 billion in early 2006.

Having its own financing in place would mean that its studio distrib partners would not need to advance coin to DreamWorks — such a need was a source of rancor during Joe Roth’s Revolution deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment.

DreamWorks co-chair and CEO Stacey Snider is understood to be pushing for the larger-slate scenario to ensure the imprint’s status as a major player with a range of projects. A bigger bankroll would also allow Snider and DreamWorks prexy Adam Goodman to continue shepherding the pics they have developed at Paramount for the past 2½ years, including the follow up to last year’s hit “Transformers.” Such an arrangement would avoid a nasty custody battle with Par over the projects.

DreamWorks had no comment on its future plans.

More Film

  • Charles D. King, Producer'Sorry to Bother

    Charles King's Macro Signs First-Look Deal at Warner Bros. Pictures

    Charles D. King’s media company Macro has entered a first-look deal with Warner Bros. Pictures Group to develop and package feature films. Warners Bros. will have the option to co-finance the projects from the producer of “Mudbound,” who will retain international rights to all films under the deal. “This expertise, combined with WarnerMedia and AT&T’s [...]

  • Kristine Belson Sony Animation

    How Kristine Belson Turned Up the Heat at Sony’s Sleepy Animation Shop

    “There are mimosas upstairs,” a staffer reminds Sony Pictures Animation president Kristine Belson on a recent Friday in her sunny and serene office, just a brisk walk from the studio lot in Culver City, Calif. Belson waves off the offer. “Not today,” she responds politely. She cites a packed schedule of home entertainment meetings, as [...]

  • Dean DeBlois'How to Train Your Dragon:

    How Dean DeBlois Broke New Ground in Sequel Strategy for 'Dragon' Trilogy

    As with practically every North American kid of his generation, Dean DeBlois had his mind blown by the original “Star Wars” trilogy. DeBlois — who was born in the tiny town of Aylmer, Quebec, where “Hollywood seemed so, so far away” — had just turned 7 when the first “Star Wars” movie opened in summer [...]

  • Dean DeBlois Chris Sanders Mulan Disney

    For 'How to Train Your Dragon's' Dean DeBlois, Animated Features Were His Destiny

    “How to Train Your Dragon” director Dean DeBlois grew up wanting to be a comic-book artist. After meandering his way through fine-arts classes at Sheridan College for a year, however, he managed to get into the school’s summer animation program, where he found his calling. “Animation had everything I love about comic books — you [...]

  • er prize during the cesar producers

    'Sink or Swim' Producer Alain Attal Wins Toscan du Plantier Prize

    Alain Attal, whose Paris-based company is behind Gilles Lellouche’s “Sink or Swim” and Jeanne Herry’s “In Safe Hands,” won the Toscan du Plantier Award, Gaul’s equivalent to the PGA’s Darryl F. Zanuck award, at a Paris ceremony on Feb. 18. Attal, the founder of Tresor Films, was named France’s best producer of 2018 at the [...]

  • FilmNation logo

    FilmNation Promotes Ashley Fox, Brad Zimmerman to SVP of Production (EXCLUSIVE)

    FilmNation Entertainment, the independent studio behind “Arrival” and “Room,” has promoted Ashley Fox and Brad Zimmerman to senior VPs of production. The pair will source and develop material that can be transformed into movies and will oversee film productions on behalf of the company. They will continue to report to Ben Browning, FilmNation’s president of [...]

  • Chinese artist Ai Weiwei poses after

    Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei Accuses 'I Love You, Berlin' Producers of Censorship

    The executive producer of anthology film “Berlin, I Love You” is engaged in a war of words with Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, whose contribution to the movie was left on the cutting-room floor. Ai contends that the segment he shot for “Berlin, I Love You” was axed by the producers for political reasons, out [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content