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It's Christmas in late July as DreamWorks Animation acquires Classic Media's assortment of characters

It's Christmas in late July as DreamWorks Animation acquires Classic Media's assortment of characters

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You may have already heard that -- this November -- DreamWorks Animation is releasing "Rise of the Guardians," an action-adventure film which stars Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost, the Tooth Fairy and the Sandman. Which would be quite enough Claus for your typical entertainment company.


Copyright DreamWorks Animation LLC. All rights reserved

But those folks at DWA, they're really serious about getting into the Santa business. Which is why -- just last week -- DreamWorks Animation announced that it would be acquiring Classic Media, the company that owns the Golden Books library as well as legendary characters like Casper the Friendly Ghost, George of the Jungle, Lassie, the Lone Ranger, Rocky and Bullwinkle as well as holiday classics such as "Frosty the Snowman," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," and "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town."

If the deal is approved on all sides, Shrek, Fiona and Donkey could be sharing their DreamWorks holiday table with iconic characters such as Archie, Gumby, and Fat Albert -- to name just a few of the properties included in the purchase.


Copyright DreamWorks Animation LLC. All rights reserved

Like the candy-cane on the Christmas tree, DreamWorks Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Katzenberg is welcoming the new stable of characters to his company.  In a statement released by Katzenberg, the CEO touted Classic Media's large and diverse collection of characters as being "extremely complementary to DreamWorks Animation's franchise business," with plans to leverage it across the company's film, television, home entertainment, consumer products, digital, theme park and live entertainment channels. 

Classic Media's properties also include other well established figures like Underdog, Dick Tracy, Veggie Tales, Where's Waldo? and Godzilla.  Classic Media's library focuses on family characters and brands and features a vast collection of filmed entertainment with over 450 titles and more than 6,100 episodes of animated and live-action programming.  The company also owns one of the world's largest comic book archives and media rights to the titles in the Golden Books library.


Copyright Classic Media. All rights reserved

Under the deal, DreamWorks will be able to tap into some of the more recognizable animated characters thanks in part to Classic Media's joint venture with Jay Ward Productions.  Under a previously negotiated deal, Classic manages the rights to the entire Jay Ward catalog. Which includes Rocky and Bullwinkle, Fractured Fairy Tales and Mr. Peabody & Sherman. 

If a "Mr. Peabody and Sherman" animated film is on your holiday wish list you will have to wait a bit.  Fans of the bespectacled brainy canine and his trusty "boy" side-kick will see the duo return to the big screen in a 3D feature film on December 25, 2013 under a previous arrangement with DreamWorks Animation.


Copyright DreamWorks Animation LLC. All rights reserved

But just like the Grinch who stole Christmas, both sides can walk away from the deal if all the T's aren't crossed and the I's dotted by October 20. The deal is reportedly worth $155 million.

 

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  • not to mention the deal also includes the filmation library like he-man and the masters of the universe . so looks like unless the deal falls through at the end dreamworks has  a new set of characters that they will besides shrek be making a fortune off of and also giving families some good nice entertainment for years to come

  • Why didn't Disney go after this deal? In the era of "content is king" this would be a good idea for Disney.

  • If Dreamworks has acquired this vast amount of characters, some of them are featured quite prominently in Islands of Adventure in Orlando.  With Dreamworks being an entity separate from Universal and now in bed with Disney, what does this mean for the attractions at IOA that are in Toon Lagoon? Just a thought I had there.

  • Probably not much, Rick. Disney has a distribution deal for DreamWorks' live-action films, but DreamWorks Animation doesn't play into that deal. DreamWorks Animation and DreamWorks seem to operate separate of each other, despite the common name and lineage.

    Good question, jedited! I guess Disney figured that they had enough characters to work with between what they have in-house and what they've obtained from their latest acquisitions - which is kinda odd, because Disney's home video division has had home video distribution deals for some of them . Besides, none of the Classic Media characters sound like they're hot properties, although many have a nostalgia factor; I'm guessingDisney figured that they've got enough characters in their stable that could do with some revitalizing of their screen careers that they didn't really need to take on more.

  • Does DWA fully own these characters like Disney owns Marvel, Pixar,, Muppets etc? I understand if there's a preesisting licensing deal, they have to honor it.

  • Prediction: Mr. Peabody voiced by David Hyde Pierce.

  • Disney already owns a lot of characters. Beyond those created by the company iteslf but acquired from outside. There is another issue outside of giving those properties proper attention. I think it would do the Company harm if it owns an endless number outside characters. Than they run the risk of loosing a strong identity. If the Disney name is attached to everything it has no meaning.

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