NBCUniversal to Acquire DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion

Comcast-owned NBCUniversal buys DreamWorks Animation.

The $3.8 billion deal is expected to close by the end of the year. It is subject to regulatory approval. The DreamWorks Animation brand will remain intact as an imprint.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation CEO, will become chairman of DreamWorks Animation New Media. Chris Meledandri, head of Universal’s Illumination Entertainment animation wing, will oversee operations.

DreamWorks Animation was formed by the merger of the feature animation division of DreamWorks SKG and Pacific Data Images (PDI). It was spun off into a separate public company in 2004, with Jeffrey Katzenberg heading the new division – Steven Spielberg and David Geffen remained on board as investors and consultants. 

The studio has released more than 30 feature films, including the franchises of Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and How to Train Your Dragon.

NBCUniversal to Acquire DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion


After his TV directorial debut Eyes Spielberg has a hard time getting his next assignment at Universal. Producers hesitate to hire such a young director who is known to be the protegé of Universal Vice president Sid Sheinberg and – even worse – has acquired the dubious reputation of being “avant-garde”. Spielberg pitches several film concepts but is always turned down, so he asks Sheinberg to suspend his 7 years contract for one year with no salary.

Spielberg sells a script to 20th Century Fox for $ 50,000. He wants to make it his debut as feature film director – but he is turned down as too inexperienced. It will eventually be turned into a terrible movie called Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies, directed by John Erman. 

Richard D. Zanuck is head of the studio at that time. A few years later, he will form an independent production company together with David Brown and  produce two films directed by Steven Spielberg: The Sugarland Express (1973) and Jaws (1975).