Dreamworks Animation Acquires Classic Media
DreamWorks Animation announced today that it's acquired Classic Media for $155 million. "Classic Media brings a large and diverse collection of characters and branded assets that is extremely complementary to DreamWorks Animation's franchise business, and we plan to leverage it across our motion picture, television, home entertainment, consumer products, digital, theme park and live entertainment channels," said Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chief Executive Officer of DreamWorks Animation, in a statement. The original July 18 report follows:
DreamWorks Animation, the studio behind Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon, has made a $150+ million bid to acquire Classic Media, the rights owner of such properties as He-Man, She-Ra, Godzilla, Voltron, Turok, Archie, Dick Tracy, Gumby, Casper the Friendly Ghost, The Lone Ranger, Rocky & Bullwinkle, Richie Rich, George of the Jungle, Dudley Do-Right, Mr. Magoo, Where's Waldo?, Lassie, Underdog, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Little Lulu, and Felix the Cat. They also own the 1980s TV cartoon Shazam!, based on DC's Captain Marvel.
These are all established brands that a media company such as DWA could mine for future feature film franchises. Some of these properties may be quite old, but it still saves the studio the hassle and cost of creating brand awareness.
Bleeding Cool's speculation on this New York Times report on the bid also got us thinking: If DWA does indeed acquire Classic Media then wouldn't that open the door to possible CG-animated (and presumably 3D) feature films of He-Man & She-Ra, Shazam, Dick Tracy, or Gumby? Well, that depends.
As the Times points out, "while Classic Media has a number of prominent characters in its portfolio, the company does not control all of the rights associated with those properties. That limits the value of the company, since it may not receive lucrative licensing fees for some of its more coveted holdings. For instance, Walt Disney Studios is producing a $225 million big-screen remake of The Lone Ranger, set for release next year and starring Johnny Depp as Tonto. But it is unclear how licensing and merchandise rights are arranged between Disney and Classic."
It should be noted that DWA already has a Peabody & Mr. Sherman CG-animated feature in production, while Legendary Pictures just made a splash at San Diego Comic-Con with a concept trailer for their planned live-action Godzilla film to be directed by Gareth Edwards. Voltron is reportedly set up at Relativity Media. And last we heard in 2010, Columbia was developing a new live-action He-Man and the Masters of the Universe movie. Classic Media previously granted the video game publishing rights for Turok to Buena Vista Games.
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