Amblin Partners

courtesy of AmblinPartners.com

image sourced from AmblinPartners.com

by Paul Honnick


Amblin Partners

100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

amblinpartners.com


Key Executives at Amblin Partners

 

Images sourced from AmblinPartners.com


Amblin Partners: A New Company Led by a Hollywood Legend

Amblin Partners, is a new film, television, and digital content creation company that develops and produces films using the Amblin Entertainment, DreamWorks Pictures, and Participant brands to leverage their power and board awareness to tell stories that appeal to a wide range of audiences. The partnership was officially formed on December, 15, 2015, by Steven Spielberg of DreamWorks Studios, Jeff Skoll of Participant Media, Anil Ambani of Reliance Group, and Darren Throop of Entertainment One (eOne). [1]

Legendary director Steven Spielberg is the chairman of Amblin Partners, having invested $50 million of his own money into the venture. This is the first time Spielberg has invested his own funds into his brands since founding DreamWorks more than two decades ago, in 1994. [2]

Tech billionaire Jeff Skoll, former eBay executive and founder of Participant Media, made the single largest reported contribution, investing $200 million in the partnership. [2]

Reliance Group of India was a previous equity partner of DreamWorks Pictures and is continuing its seven-year relationship with Spielberg. [2] [5]

The fourth partner, Entertainment One (eOne) of Canada, initially discussed a $50 million investment, however, the final contribution was not disclosed. [2] eOne handles the direct distribution of Amblin Partners films in multiple territories outside of the U.S., including Australia, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the Benelux. [1]

The partnership also secured a $500 million line of credit through half a dozen lenders arranged by J.P. Morgan Chase and Comerica Bank. J.P. Morgan Chase has financed DreamWorks Studios since its inception in 1994. [1] [2]

Amblin Partners is led by CEO Michael Wright, and President and Co-CEO Jeff Small, who previously served as CEO and COO of DreamWorks respectively. Wright joined DreamWorks Pictures in 2014 and signed a four-year contract extension in February. [8] Small, who has been with DreamWorks for the past nine years, was originally named COO when the partnership was formed in December, but was quickly promoted to President and Co-CEO in February. Small also signed a contract extension. [9]

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Spielberg and Skoll said that the partnership will produce films appealing to adults through the DreamWorks label, while focusing more on family entertainment through the Amblin label, and Participant will focus on projects with socially relevant themes and messages. While the partnership will release some Participant branded films, Participant Media will remain a separate company and continue making documentaries and some scripted films on its own. [1] [4]

Amblin Partners also struck a multi-year deal with Universal Pictures to market and distribute their films produced domestically and in select international territories. Under this agreement, Universal Pictures and Focus Features will handle four to seven films per year, the first film being “The Girl on the Train,” scheduled to be released in October 2016. [3] The Universal deal also represents a chance for director Steven Spielberg to continue doing business with the company where he launched his Hollywood career and defined the modern blockbuster with such films as “E.T.” and “Jurassic Park.” [3] [7] Spielberg has also maintained offices on the Universal Studios lot throughout his career. However, the deal with Universal is strictly for marketing and distribution. Universal did not invest in Amblin Partners, and reportedly charges a commission of more than 7% per film under the terms of the deal. [3] [4]

Amblin Partners’ distribution deal with Universal effectively ends Spielberg’s and DreamWorks Pictures’ previous partnership with Disney, which is set to expire in August. However, under the legacy deal, Disney will distribute two Amblin Partners productions, “The BFG,” and “The Light Between Oceans.” [1] [6] At the conclusion of the partnership, Disney will retain the library of films produced by Spielberg during his tenure with Disney, including the upcoming “The BFG.” [2]


Upcoming Films

Films in various stages of production include “The BFG,” “The Light Between Oceans,” “The Girl on the Train,” “A Dog’s Purpose,” which is scheduled to be released in the first quarter of 2017, and “Ready Player One,” a co-production between Amblin Partners and Warner Bros. Pictures that is scheduled to be released in December 2017. [1]

 “The Girl on the Train,” scheduled to be released on October 7, is to be the first film distributed under Amblin Partner’s new deal with Universal. The film is based on the New York Times best seller novel by Paula Hawkins and stars Emily Blunt (Sicario), Rebecca Ferguson (Mission:Impossible – Rogue Nation), Haley Bennett (The Equalizer), Justin Theroux (The Leftovers), Luke Evens (Furious 7), Allison Janney (Mom), Edgar Ramirez (Zero Dark Thirty), Lisa Kudrow (The Comeback) and Merritt Wever (Nurse Jackie). The film is about a recently divorced woman who spends her daily commute fantasizing about the seemingly perfect couple who live in a house that her train passes every day, until one morning she witnesses something shocking and becomes entangled in a mystery. [10]

Principal photography began on “Thank You For Your Service” in February. It is based on a novel by David Finkel and stars Miles Teller (Whiplash), Haley Bennett (The Girl on the Train), Joe Cole (Peaky Blinders), Amy Schumer (Trainwreck), Beulah Koale (The Last Saint), Scott Haze (Child of God), Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider), Brad Beyer (42), Omar Dorsey (Selma) and Jayson Warner Smith (The Birth of a Nation). The film revolves around a group of soldiers returning from Iraq who struggle to integrate back into family and civilian life while dealing with the traumas of war. The film also marks the directorial debut of Jason Hall. [11]

Shooting is expected to commence this Spring for the upcoming holiday comedy “Office Christmas Party,” starring Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, TJ Miller, and Kate McKinnon. Will Speck and Josh Gordon are set to direct the film about a group of people who have to deal with a holiday office party gone awry. The film is expected to be released in December through Paramount. [12]

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/notes/paramount-pictures/paramount-pictures-and-dreamworks-pictures-ghost-in-the-shell-is-in-production-i/10154147848862072/

Scarlett Johansson in “Ghost in the Shell.” Image sourced from Paramount Pictures official Facebook page

Production began in April on a live-action adaptation of the famous Japanese manga series “Ghost in the Shell” in Wellington, New Zealand. The film stars Scarlett Johansson (Avengers: Age of Ultron), and is directed by Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman). The film will also star Japanese actor Takeshi “Beat” Kitano in his first U.S. role since 1995’s “Johnny Mnemonic.” Johansson plays a special-ops, human-cyborg hybrid, who leads the elite task force Section 9 devoted to stopping dangerous criminals and extremists in the sci-fi adventure. The film, scheduled to be released March 31, 2017, is a co-production between Amblin Partners’ DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures, with Paramount distributing the film. [13] [14]


Sources

  1. Amblin Partners. Dreamworks Studios, Participant Media, Reliance Entertainment and Entertainment One Form Amblin Partners, A New Film, Television and Digital Content Creation Company. Retrieved April 23, 2016. http://www.amblinpartners.com/dreamworks-studios-participant-media-reliance-entertainemt-one-amblin-partners/
  2. Rainey, James. Variety. December 30, 2015. Steven Spielberg Puts His Own Big Bucks Into the New Amblin Partners (Exclusive). Retrieved April 23, 2016. http://variety.com/2015/film/news/steven-spielberg-amblin-investment-1201669720/
  3. Lang, Brent and Rainey, James. Variety. December 16, 2015. Steven Spielberg, Jeff Skoll Bring Amblin Partners to Universal. Retrieved April 23, 2016. http://variety.com/2015/film/news/steven-spiellberg-universal-1201662956/
  4. Masters, Kim. Hollywood Reporter. Steven Speilberg, Jeff Skoll Talk Amblin Partners Deal: “We Are Hitting the Ground Running” (Exclusive). Retrieved April 24, 2016. https://edit.hollywoodreporter.com/news/steven-spielberg-jeff-skoll-talk-849554
  5. Lang, Brent and Rainey, James. Variety. December 10, 2015. Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks to Reboot with $200 Million From Participant and Universal Deal. Retrieved April 23, 2016. http://variety.com/2015/film/news/participant-dreamworks-universal-200-million-deal-1201658060/
  6. Masters, Kim. Hollywood Reporter. September 2, 2015. Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks to Split From Disney, In Talks With Universal (Exclusive). Retrieved April 23, 2016. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/steven-spielbergs-dreamworks-split-disney-819594
  7. McClintock, Pamela. Hollywood Reporter. Steven Spielberg, Jeff Skoll Team to Form Amblin Partners, Strike Distribution Deal With Universal. Retrieved April 23, 2016. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/steven-spielberg-jeff-skoll-team-849249
  8. Rainy, James. Variety. February 2, 2016. Michael Wright Re-Ups as CEO of Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners. Retrieved April 24, 2016. http://variety.com/2016/film/news/michael-wright-amblin-partners-deal-1201694796/
  9. Busch, Anita. Deadline. February 3, 2016. Amblin Promotes Jeff Small To President & Co-CEO. Retrieved April 24, 2016. http://deadline.com/2016/02/amblin-jeff-small-president-co-ceo-promotion-steven-spielberg-1201695827/
  10. DreamWorks Pictures. November 11, 2015. Principal Photography Begins for New York Times Best Seller ‘The Girl on the Train’. Retrieved April 24, 2016. https://dreamworkspictures.com/news/principal-photography-begins-for-new-york-times-best-seller-the-girl-on-the-train
  11. DreamWorks Pictures. February 9, 2016. Principal Photography Begins on ‘Thank You For Your Service’. Retrieved April 24, 2016. https://dreamworkspictures.com/news/principal-photography-begins-on-thank-you-for-your-service
  12. Kit, Borys. Hollywood Reporter. February 19, 2016. Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman to Star in ‘Office Christmas Party’ (Exclusive). Retrieved April 24, 2016. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/jennifer-aniston-jason-bateman-star-867614
  13. Paramount Pictures. April 14, 2016. Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures’ “Ghost in the Shell” is in Production in New Zealand. Retrieved April 24, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/notes/paramount-pictures/paramount-pictures-and-dreamworks-pictures-ghost-in-the-shell-is-in-production-i/10154147848862072
  14. DreamWorks Pictures. March 3, 2016. Japanese Icon Takeshi ‘Beat’ Kitano Boards ‘Ghost in the Shell’. Retrieved April 24, 2016. https://dreamworkspictures.com/news/japanese-icon-takeshi-beat-kitano-boards-ghost-in-the-shell

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