In the battle to become DreamWorks new distributor, it seemed as if Universal had already won. After all, Spielberg still has close ties to the studio (and an office on the lot). But somehow, rumours surfaced this summer that Fox was also interested in DreamWorks despite the pairing being both unnecessary and potentially irksome (since DreamWorks Animation head and Spielberg cohort Jeffrey Katzenberg reportedly has “issues” with Peter Chernin). But last week, out of nowhere, it was reported that Disney was also interested in the studio. And now, The Hollywood Reporter is saying the Mouse House and the house that Ron Meyer built are duking it out for distribution rights.
As one of our sources in the film-financing community astutely predicted this summer, it looks like DreamWorks will be able to score a low distribution fee, which means we feel compelled to tell you what our source also told us: that DreamWorks would probably sign with the studio that offered the lowest fee.
THR: It’s suddenly looking like a two-horse race for DreamWorks distribution rights, but those laurels may come with a more limited payoff than some expect.
Universal holds a big lead entering the derby’s homestretch, with Disney still in the running and Fox now considered further back in the pack. As for terms of any deal to distribute DW films once Team Spielberg has split with Paramount, sources with knowledge of preliminary talks said Monday that the distribution fee could be as low as 8%.
That’s a relatively tiny purse after such a high-profile race. But the winner will be in the Steven Spielberg business, with all the cachet such an association can offer.
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