DreamWorks SKG Studios

By Jacob Warren

 

DreamWorks Studios Official Logo

DreamWorks SKG Studios Logo [1]

Dreamworks location

DreamWorks Studios Entrance [2]

  • 100 Universal City Plaza Dr.
  • Universal City, CA 91608
  • Website: www.dreamworksstudios.com
  • Phone: 818-733-9300
  • Twitter: @DW_Studios

Key Executives

Founder & CEO

Steven Spielberg [3]                     Founder & Principal Partner

Co-Chairman & CEO

Stacey Snider [4]                                                            Co-Chairman & CEO

President & COO

Jeff Small [5]                                              President & COO

Brief History

DreamWorks Studios was founded in 1994 by filmmaker Steven Spielberg, animation specialist Jeffrey Katzenberg and recording industry expert David Geffen. The three

DreamWorks Logo [6]

DreamWorks Logo [6]

founders initially planned to create DreamWorks as a diversified media firm, however they quickly realized that this was the wrong approach and transformed DreamWorks into a television and film developing, producing and distributing powerhouse. The partners sold DreamWorks to Viacom in 2005 and the majority of DreamWorks Studios’ films are now marketed and distributed by Walt Disney Studios. [6] [7]

Company Overview

Company Sign [21]

Company Sign [7.5]

DreamWorks Studios is a mini-major motion picture company led by Steven Spielberg in partnership with the Reliance ADA group. DreamWorks develops and produces films and television programming with a goal of releasing or producing a minimum of five to six films each year. Since its inception, DreamWorks Studios has produced and developed over 75 motion pictures including three consecutive Academy Award Best Pictures in 1999, 2000 and 2001.  With distribution outlets in North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and Russia, DreamWorks’ success in the film industry prompted the company to split into two separate entities in 2004, DreamWorks Studios and DreamWorks Animation. [8]

Financials

Unlike DreamWorks Animation, DreamWorks Studios has remained a privately held company and is not required to release financial statements to the public. However, significant financial information about the company is available through research. Initially funded by the three founders who each contributed $33 million, DreamWorks was also initially capitalized by an investment of $500 million from Microsoft co-Founder, Paul Allen. Despite earning Academy Awards for Best Picture in 1999, 2000 and 2001, nu-

Reliance ADA Media Logo [22]

Reliance ADA Media Logo [8.5]

merous box office flops resulted in a $400+ million debt for the film company, which nearly declared bankruptcy twice. In February 2006 DreamWorks and Viacom agreed to terms that awarded Viacom control of DreamWorks Studios for an approximate $1.5 billion. Viacom assumed DreamWorks’ debt, however Viacom’s film distribution company, Paramount Pictures, also acquired DreamWorks’ film library that was valued at $900 million. [9] In 2008, DreamWorks ended its distribution deal with Paramount Pictures and inked another $1.5 billion deal with one of India’s largest media companies, Reliance ADA Group, which now owns 50% of the DreamWorks Studios. JP Morgan executives Clark Hallren and Alan Levine guided Reliance Media’s formulation of a business plan for DreamWorks Studios.  [10]

Early Filmography

Although considered a mini-major film company, DreamWorks competes with major film studios. In 1997, DreamWorks released its first film, The Peacemaker.  After several smaller films, DreamWorks made a significant impact in 1998 with the release of Saving

Battlefield scene from 'The Pacific' [23]

Battlefield scene from ‘The Pacific’ [10.5]

Private Ryan, featuring Tom Hanks. Grossing just under $500 million, the film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards. DreamWorks Studios’ success was just beginning. During the next three years DreamWorks Studios films won Best Picture for American Beauty (1999), Gladiator (2000) and A Beautiful Mind (2001), bringing in over $1 billion and 14 Academy Awards. DreamWorks Studios also enjoyed success in television with the HBO 10-part mini series, ‘The Pacific’ (2010). The series was nominated for 23 Emmy Awards, winning eight. [6]

Right Here. Right Now.

Radical Changes

Despite its film and television success, by 2012 DreamWorks Studios was losing tens of millions of dollars a year. In 2013, the founders began streamlining operations to focus on improving profits. Although DreamWorks has its history as a Hollywood film

'Lincoln' DreamWorks film co-financed by 20th Century Fox [24]

‘Lincoln’ DreamWorks film co-financed with 20th Century Fox [10.6]

company, the studio began slashing budgets and transitioning to more of an independent film company. Beginning by reducing annual films in production from six to two, they tightened film schedules from 60-days to 40-days as well as keeping film budgets under $30 million. DreamWorks now utilizes co-financing on almost all of its films to reduce its financial risk and has slashed its work force from 120 employees to a lean 80. [11]

2013 Film Releases 

'The Fifth Estate' film released in 2013. [25]

‘The Fifth Estate’ film released in 2013. [11.5]

With DreamWorks’ new business plan they now have the flexibility to release three or four films a year. This year, DreamWorks produced and released three new films. The first, ‘The Fifth Estate’, released on October 18, 2013, chronicles the demise of the company WikiLeaks.  The film “reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st century’s most fiercely debated organization.” Although a popular and compelling story, the film has yet to earn a fraction of its $28 million budget, only earning $3 million domestically to date. [12] [13]

The second film being released this Friday, November 22, 2013 is the comedy ‘Delivery Man’ featuring Vince Vaughn. This heavily marketed film presents the story of underachiever David Wozniak, whose uneventful life gets turned upside down when he finds out that he unintentionally fathered 533 children via sperm donations that he made in his youth. [14] [15]

The final film that DreamWorks has finished production on this year is the action-packed ‘Need For Speed’. A spinoff of the popular video game series set to release March 14,

'Need For Speed' action scene (2014). [26]

‘Need For Speed’ action scene (2014). [15.5]

2014, this film is DreamWorks’ attempt to grab a piece of the racing genre popularized by Universal Studios’ ‘The Fast and The Furious’ which has released six movies and is the most successful racing movie series ever. [16] [17]

2013 Acquisitions 

Along with slashing budgets and modifying business plans, DreamWorks Studios has focused on purchasing rights to popular literary works. Early in 2013, they obtained the rights to Richard C. Morais’s best-selling novel, ‘The One-Hundred Foot Journey’.  The film went into production on October 9, 2013 and is scheduled for release on August 8, 2014.  Also in October 2013, DreamWorks Studios acquired an untitled pitch from screenwriting

Goodwin's best seller 'The Bully Pulpit' [27]

Goodwin’s best seller ‘The Bully Pulpit’ [18.5]

brothers Phil and Scott Rosenberg. “Plot details are being kept under wraps, but sources describe the film as a ‘modern-day-mission movie’ with a supernatural twist. [18]”  Industry experts are waiting to see if DreamWorks will put the pitch into production. The most recent purchase occurred on October 30, 2013 when DreamWorks acquired the film rights to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin’s recently released book, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. Goodwin and DreamWorks successfully collaborated on the 2012 film ‘Lincoln’ which grossed over $275 million. [19] [20]

 

 

Sources:

[1] Broadwayworld.com: DreamWorks logo image

[2] Communitybranding.com: DreamWorks entrance image

[3] DreamWorks: Steven Spielberg image/bio

[4] DreamWorks: Stacey Snider image/bio

[5] DreamWorks: Jeff Small image/bio

[6] DreamWorks: Film history/image

[7] LA Times: DreamWorks & Walt Disney Studios deal

[7.5] ABClocal.go.com: Company sign image

[8] Google Articles: DreamWorks & Reliance Media deal

[8.5] Variety: Reliance ADA Group image

[9] Hollywood.com: Paramount buys DreamWorks

[10] Reuters: Reliance ADA Group deal

[10.5] Skymovies.com: ‘The Pacific’ scene image

[10.6] Gcmag.org: ‘Lincoln’ film image

[11] Hollywood Reporter: DreamWorks new business plan 

[11.5] Benedictcumberpatch.co: ‘The Fifth Estate’ image

[12] DreamWorks: ‘Fifth Estate’ snapshot

[13] Contactmusic.com: WikiLeaks reaction to film

[14] DreamWorks: ‘Delivery Man’ snapshot

[15] Rotten Tomatoes: ‘Delivery Man’ Analysis

[15.5] Collider.com: ‘Need For Speed’ image

[16] DreamWorks: ‘Need For Speed’ snapshot

[17] IMDb: ‘Need For Speed’ Info

[18] Variety: Rosenberg script acquired 

[18.5] Hollywood Reporter: Doris Goodwin’s best-seller image

[19] Movie Insider: Recent DreamWorks Acquisitions

[20] DreamWorks: Acquisition of best-seller

(Total Sources: 27)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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