DreamWorks SKG

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The studio's logo

DreamWorks SKG - also known as DreamWorks LLC or DreamWorks Pictures - is an American studio that primarily produces and sells films . The company was founded by Steven Spielberg ( film director ), Jeffrey Katzenberg (former head of the Disney Animation Department) and David Geffen (founder of Geffen Records ) in October 1994 , using the abbreviation SKGcomposed of the first letters of the three company founders. The music sequence of the company logo opening credits in films comes from the well-known film composer John Williams , who wrote the music for almost all Steven Spielberg films.


Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen each contributed $ 33 million to the start-up capital , while Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen contributed $ 500 million. The South Korean company Cheil Jedang invested 300 million dollars in founding DreamWorks, thereby also directly acquiring the exclusive distribution rights for DreamWorks films in numerous Asian countries. The game development company DreamWorks Interactive was founded in 1995 together with Microsoft .

The first film released by DreamWorks was Project: Peacemaker in 1997. The company set up its own sales force in the USA, while a distribution agreement was concluded with Universal Studios for sales outside the USA , whereby all major titles are via United International Pictures ( UIP) (a joint venture between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (until 2000), Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures ). In the home video segment, the company first went its own way, founded DreamWorks Home Video and, thanks to Spielberg's good relationships with Universal, also relied on their international sales offices.

The establishment of his own large film studio in the California wasteland failed due to resistance from environmental groups who opposed the reclamation of a wetland. DreamWorks remained without a permanent studio and had to rent a studio from its competitors. Spielberg's production company Amblin Entertainment , which has always been rented on Universal's studio site (Universal City) , has effectively become the operative headquarters of DreamWorks.

For the production of computer-animated films, DreamWorks concluded a coproduction agreement in 1997 with the computer animation company Pacific Data Images (PDI) and in 1998 Antz was the first film from this collaboration to be released . The animated film The Prince of Egypt , published in the same year by DreamWorks, relied on classic animation technology.

To coordinate the production of both classic and computer-generated animation films, DreamWorks created the DreamWorks Animation business unit in 2000 . The southern Californian branch was dedicated to the classic animation film, the northern Californian branch was created through the 90% takeover of PDI, from which PDI / DreamWorks was formed, which was exclusively dedicated to computer-animated film.

DreamWorks separated from other branches of business: In 2000 DreamWorks Interactive was sold to Electronic Arts . The music division DreamWorks Records , in which stars like George Michael were under contract, was sold to the Universal Music Group (UMG) in October 2003 , where it was included in the UMG label as DreamWorks Nashville .

The television division DreamWorks Television also proved to be short-lived , which after a few independent in-house productions went over to co-producing television series with a major who usually also takes on the distribution.

The film branch developed difficultly, because although it had critical successes to show, the commercial success was usually very modest. The lack of an own studio and the increasing financial pressure led to increased cooperation with other major studios for larger film projects and each included co-financing and co-distribution. This is how films were made with General Electrics Universal Pictures, Viacoms Paramount Pictures, News Corporations 20th Century Fox , Time Warners Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures Entertainments Columbia Pictures . Because of Katzenberg's break with the Disney group, only this collaboration was categorically excluded. As a rule, two films were produced with each partner, with DreamWorks taking over the distribution once in the USA and the other time outside the USA.

DreamWorks was much more successful with animation films, whereupon the DreamWorks Animation business unit was spun off from the company in 2004 and converted into the publicly listed company DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. in October . Since then, the company has been operating independently of the former parent company.

Various rumors about the sale of the company came true during 2005 when it became known that both NBC Universal and Viacom were interested in a takeover and were negotiating with DreamWorks. Viacom had to get out of the active negotiations at short notice, which led various analysts to the hypothesis that NBC Universal would take over the film business from DreamWorks. In December 2005 it was announced that the Viacom subsidiary Paramount Pictures would take over DreamWorks. About half of the acquisition costs of 1.6 billion US dollars were borne by Viacom, the other half came from other investors - the debts of DreamWorks, which amounted to about 400 million US dollars, were also taken over. With the deal, Paramount also took over the 60 or so titles from DreamWorks' film library , but sold it on for $ 900 million just three months later. As a further consequence of the takeover, from 2006 all films produced by DreamWorks were distributed by Paramount.

In June 2008 it was announced that DreamWorks wanted to break away from the contract with Paramount. In July 2008, negotiations were in progress with the Indian conglomerate Reliance ADA Group , which wanted to pay $ 550 million for DreamWorks. On October 5, 2008, Viacom officially announced that Reliance would purchase the shares previously held by Paramount. However, the DreamWorks films would continue to be distributed by Paramount.

In August 2009, DreamWorks announced that it wanted to build a new film studio in Los Angeles and had already completed the necessary credit negotiations. These were managed by JP Morgan Securities . The Walt Disney Studios , who are responsible for the distribution of all films from 2011, participate in the financing. After the films Fright Night , I'm Number Four and Cowboys & Aliens did not have the hoped-for box office success, DreamWorks was financially stricken in late 2011. Reliance gave the studio a cash injection of $ 200 million in April 2012. As a result, DreamWorks cut back its output and looked for financially strong partners for big budget productions - for example, Lincoln was co-financed by 20th Century Fox.

Films (selection)


Web links


  1. DreamWorks East Miky Lee Hitches Her Star to Hollywood's Red-Hot Trio. In: Fortune. October 28, 1996, accessed May 10, 2020 .
  2. Rebecca Sun: From 'Parasite' to BTS: Meet the Most Important Mogul in South Korean Entertainment. In: The Hollywood Reporter . February 7, 2020, accessed on May 10, 2020 .
  3. ^ Paramount's DreamWorks come true. Reuters, December 12, 2005, archived from the original on December 15, 2005 ; Accessed December 20, 2011 .
  4. Viacom to Sell Paramount Pictures' DreamWorks Film Library For $ 900 Million. (No longer available online.) March 17, 2006, archived from the original on October 25, 2012 ; Accessed December 20, 2011 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.prnewswire.com
  5. ^ Paramount and DreamWorks Principals Finalize Separation. Reuters, accessed January 22, 2013 .
  6. DreamWorks Studios closes first phase of funding for new studio with partner, the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group ( Memento of the original from October 27, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (DreamWorks press release) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.dreamworksstudios.com
  7. DreamWorks Studios stays alive with new $ 200-million infusion. Los Angeles Times, April 12, 2012, accessed September 1, 2014 .