Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks Departs from Disney; May Partner with Universal

     September 2, 2015


Steven Spielberg remains one of the most influential directors in Hollywood, both behind the camera and at the big bargaining table. With Spielberg’s latest effort as Executive Producer coming on the box office-dominating Jurassic World, he’s in an even better position to negotiate a new distribution deal for his DreamWorks production company. The current deal has Disney distributing DreamWorks’ pictures through August of 2016, but all signs point to Universal Pictures partnering up with Spielberg’s banner in the future.

THR reports that Spielberg is likely to pair DreamWorks with Universal following the release of The BFG, which is currently the last film that Disney will distribute under the deal. Spielberg was instrumental behind the scenes of Jurassic World, even reportedly using his director’s fee for the massively successful film in order to bankroll director Colin Trevorrow. With a sequel planned for 2018 and more dino-driven adventures likely in the future, you can fully expect Spielberg to find a very comfortable home with Universal; the studio would also be behind potential reboots of Spielberg-franchises Jaws and Back to the Future.


Image via Universal Pictures

While neither Universal nor DreamWorks offered a comment on the potential deal, THR’s sources have the production studio bringing a sizable amount of cash to the deal. Upwards of $400 million could be sourced, allowing DreamWorks to set budgets and finance its own films. This comes at a time when most studios are reluctant to finance the type of fare Spielberg has become known for, opting instead for more comic book-oriented franchises. (Spielberg himself recently compared the current glut of comic book films to that of the nearly disappeared Western.)

DreamWorks movies that are currently in, or will soon be entering production include Lasse Hallstrom’s A Dog’s PurposeThe Girl on the Train, with Tate Taylor directing and Emily Blunt starring; and Ghost in the Shell, starring Scarlett Johansson, which is dated for March 2017. These three films will likely be distributed by the new partner in the deal. (Note: Paramount will distribute Ghost in the Shell overseas.) As for Spielberg himself, his next film to open is the Tom Hanks-starring Cold War-era thriller Bridge of Spies, and has committed to direct his next movie, Ready Player One, for Warner Bros.

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