DreamWorks Animation has found the person to spearhead its march into TV programming. The studio announced today as part of its second-quarter earnings call that former top Nickelodeon programming executive Marjorie Cohn has been named DWA’s first Head of Television. Cohn departed Nick in April ending a 26-year tenure during which she shepherded some of Nick’s biggest hits including Rugrats, iCarly and SpongeBob SquarePants, making the network the No. 1 kids broadcaster in the world. At DWA, she will oversee production and development of the studio’s growing TV business that includes last year’s acquisition of Classic Media’s extensive property portfolio, followed this year by production and distribution agreements with Netflix and Germany’s Super RTL. In all she will be responsible for 1200 new original episodes over the next five years. “Having Margie join us to oversee our television efforts is an incredible coup for DreamWorks Animation. She is uniquely suited with the experience, skill and creativity to immediately dive in and oversee our aggressive expansion into this space,” DreamWorks Animation COO Ann Daly said. “Margie has tremendous instincts when it comes to kids’ programming, and we can’t wait to unleash her creative force on DreamWorks’ vast IP to bring exciting new content to families across the world.”
Related: DWA Q2 Surges Behind Success Of ‘The Croods’
Joining Cohn as Head of Television Production is TV veteran Mark Taylor, who most recently led Nickelodeon Animation Studio as SVP and General Manager; Cohn and Taylor worked together for 15 years at Nickelodeon. Peter Gal, the DWA executive who oversees creative on DreamWorks Dragons: Riders Of Berk and Turbo F.A.S.T., rounds out the new leadership group as Head of Television Development.
Related: DWA Launches Effort To Re-Position Itself As TV Power
Shares are up about 4.7% in post market trading after DreamWorks Animation released its Q2 report. It shows net income of $22.2M, +74.2% vs the period last year, on revenues of $213.4M, +31.1%. Revenues were well ahead of the … Read More »
The stock is down 7% midday as investors try to determine how much, or little, DreamWorks Animation can expect from Turbo following its weaker-than-expected $31.1M domestic opening weekend box office results. “Investors will probably shoot first and ask questions later given the domestic performance,” says Stifel analyst Benjamin Mogil … Read More »
Ross Lincoln contributes to Deadline’s Comic-Con coverage
Cate Blanchett, Kit Harington and Djimon Hounsou have joined the voice cast of How To Train Your Dragon 2, it was announced minutes ago during the DreamWorks Animation panel on the first official day of Comic-Con. Blanchett will play a character named Valka, a vigilante warrior devoted to rescuing dragons from enslavement. Hounsou will play Drago Bludvfist, a “maniacal” villain bent on capturing and enslaving the world’s dragons. Harington, who plays Jon Snow on the now-Emmy-nominated HBO series Game Of Thrones, will make his voice-acting debut as Bludvfist’s lieutenant Dragon Prince, the self-described “greatest dragon trapper in the world”; this will be Harington’s first time voice-acting. The announcements were made near the end of the panel, which was largely devoted to clips from and discussion of DreamWorks Animation’s just-released Turbo, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, and the second installment of the Dragon franchise; a third installment already has staked on a June 26 release date. Turbo director David Soren, Mr. Peabody director Rob Minkoff, and Dragon 2 helmer Dean DeBlois attended the panel, joined by DWA co-president of production Bill Damaschke.
Although Turbo was released yesterday to lukewarm response, audience reaction during the panel was positive. This continued with the response to a clip from Mr. Peabody & Sherman, which despite being based on characters nearly 50 years old saw every joke land strongly — and huge applause at the end. Two clips from How To Train Your Dragon 2 were shown, both of which received enormous response, including a few who stood and applauded when the second clip ended. Read More »
The new clip doesn’t divulge plot details, but there’s some fancy flying going on, along with serious free-falling. How To Train Your Dragon 2 takes place five years after the 2010 original — a half-billion-dollar global sleeper for DreamWorks Animation — and Toothless the dragon’s human Hiccup is … Read More »
DreamWorks Animation is putting a lot of muscle behind Turbo, about a snail that feels the need for speed: The studio is doing an animated series for Netflix based on the property, and in May hooked up with the Indianapolis 500. That’s to help keep the momentum going … Read More »
Investors who bet on media should have warm memories from Q2. The Dow Jones U.S. Media Index rose 6.0% in the quarter vs. the Standard and Poor’s 500 which was +2.4%. Sony led the Big Media pack … Read More »
Listen to (and share) Episode 40 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media, With David Lieberman. Deadline’s executive editor talks with host David Bloom about Daniel Loeb‘s latest efforts to persuade Sony to partly spin off its entertainment units; whether it’s time to dump the FCC decency rules; DreamWorks Animation’s global TV play; and whither Liberty Media and Charter now that talks have cooled on a possible purchase of Time Warner Cable.
Deadline Big Media, Episode 40 (MP3 format)
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The company told analysts this afternoon that it will produce 1,200 TV episodes over the next five years, which CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg says “will give us a significant footprint across the global TV landscape.” DreamWorks Animation is “now … Read More »
DreamWorks Animation shares are up more than 9% pre-market while Netflix is up more than 5% after striking what it calls its largest-ever original content deal. The studio will produce at least 300 hours of programming exclusively for Netflix that will run across its global markets over several years. DWA says that makes this “a cornerstone of a major initiative” to “greatly expand its television production and distribution worldwide.” The shows will be “inspired by” DWA characters as well as ones from the Classic Media library it bought last year. The first series in this deal will air in 2014. (The companies had previously announced that DWA will produce an animated series for Netflix, Turbo F.A.S.T, that will be available in December.) Although the companies are short on details, the news reassures investors that Netflix and DWA can carry on nicely after each allowed carriage deals with Viacom to lapse. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Melissa McCarthy has signed on to voice the role of Watts in B.O.O (Bureau Of Otherworldly Operations), the DreamWorks Animation film that has been scheduled for June 5, 2015 release. B.O.O. is a super secret … Read More »
DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg spoke at the Fortune Global Forum in Chengdu, China on Friday. He did not refer to last week’s move by the Chinese authorities to pull The Croods from release ahead of schedule, but he did address the differences between handling “rules, regulations, and traditions” in China versus in Hollywood. Here are his remarks on DreamWorks Animation’s history, and future, in the booming market:
Timing, we all know the importance of this. In fact, when the timing is right, anything and everything is possible. Today in China the timing is right. We’ve arrived at a unique moment in this country, and you might say it’s actually been 5,000 years in the making. For ages, China has been known for its Great Wall. Now it might be better symbolized by a portal of opportunity that has begun to swing open.
But as with everything else here, this portal is distinctly Chinese in its appearance, its intricacy and its functionality. At DreamWorks Animation, we are becoming something of a case study for how things and timing is so important when it comes to China. It all started a few years (ago) when two seemingly completely unrelated events were taking place at opposite ends of the planet.
In Beijing, the country’s leadership was recognizing the importance of soft power. Meanwhile in Hollywood, DreamWorks was given the green light to a movie called Kung Fu Panda. I would love to tell you that we did this as part of a very shrewd strategy to gain entrée into China. It wasn’t. We just liked the idea of a film about a panda who wants to do kung fu.
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DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg was in Chengdu, China this week for the Fortune Global Forum talking about how much Chinese audiences love animation. The Croods‘ box office is now the country’s … Read More »
The channel’s called AwesomenessX and it will offer “original sports, gaming, comedy, pranks and lifestyle content” for males in their teens and 20s, says the company that’s owned by DreamWorks Animation. As the Web destination grows it can … Read More »
Listen to (and share) Episode 33 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media, as Deadline’s Executive Editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom look at earnings-season results for most of the Big Media companies; a worrisome prediction for summer box office bombs just as the summer movie season kicks off; the FCC’s new chairman; and DreamWorks Animation’s new tech acquisition.
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This is the deal that DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg appears to have been alluding to last night when he said he had video-related “news to share pretty quickly.” He says this AM that the YouTube destination is “one of the fastest-growing content channels on the Internet today and our acquisition of this groundbreaking venture will bring incredible momentum to our digital strategy.” AwesomenessTV has TV and film aspirations which indicates it has “continued cross-platform expansion plans,” the companies say. The deal, which includes contingencies, should provide a nice payoff for founder and CEO Brian Robbins as well as UTA and Ziffren Brittenham — all of whom supported (the trendy term is “incubate”) the young service. Stifel analyst Benjamin Mogil says DWA’s acquisition is “strategically prudent” given the growth in Internet video viewing even though it will “likely be dilutive [to earnings] in the near term.” DreamWorks shares are up 6.6% in mid-morning trading. Here’s the release: Read More »
Tribeca And Doha Film Fest End Partnership
After four years of collaboration, the Doha Film Institute and Tribeca Enterprises have announced the dissolution of their partnership on the Doha Tribeca Film Festival. Doha Film Institute CEO Abdulaziz Al-Khater says the Qatar-based festival will continue in a “new niche” with future plans to be laid out during Cannes next month. I’m told the separation was amicable after Tribeca helped launch the festival. Last year, DTFF showcased Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist which was made with the backing of the DFI. In Berlin earlier this year, Participant Media partnered with the DFI to form a $100M revolving fund to finance a slate of feature films.
Fraser Robinson Joins ITV Studios Global Entertainment
Former NBC Universal International Channels exec Fraser Robinson has joined ITV Studios Global Entertainment as VP scripted acquisitions & co-productions. He will be charged with growing the drama slate and co-production portfolio of the commercial arm of UK broadcaster ITV. He was previously director of scripted development for NBCU’s international channels group in London with responsibility for developing and managing co-produced content across over 50 platforms worldwide and oversaw series including Haven, Fairly Legal, Rookie Blue and Shattered. Read More »
The studio’s being “pretty aggressive” about at least one potential venture and hopes to have “news to share pretty quickly,” CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg told analysts this evening following his company’s Q1 earnings release. He didn’t provide details, … Read More »
Shares are up 4.3% in post-market trading after the studio reported that The Croods and library titles helped it to generate Q1 numbers far ahead of Wall Street’s expectations. DreamWorks Animation had net income of $6.1M, -32.6% vs the … Read More »