July 14, 2024

Paramount Starts Cartoon Unit, Feeding DreamWorks Rivalry

Paramount Pictures, a division of Viacom, said it planned to release one animated feature a year starting in 2014. The films will cost up to $100 million each, it said.

Paramount’s move, which follows the release of “Rango,” its first fully owned animated film, puts it on a collision course with DreamWorks. A seven-year deal for Paramount to distribute DreamWorks’s films, including “Kung Fu Panda 2,” will expire at the end of 2012.

Spokesmen for each company declined to comment on whether DreamWorks needed to find a new partner. But the relationship between the two is clearly fraying. Paramount offered to extend the DreamWorks pact for only one year, said a person with knowledge of the negotiations who requested anonymity because of the delicacy of the talks.

Moreover, Paramount is said to have told DreamWorks that it was not interested in working together beyond then unless DreamWorks agreed to pay a higher distribution fee. DreamWorks pays Paramount about 8 percent of box-office revenue.

Paramount’s animation endeavor is aimed at taking advantage of Viacom’s Nickelodeon brand and merchandising machine. An improved record in filmmaking has emboldened the studio. Over the last few years Paramount has delivered such hits as “Star Trek,” “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and “True Grit.”

“We are now eager to expand in animation with appropriate and prudent overhead,” said Brad Grey, Paramount’s chairman and chief executive. “Paramount has the distinct advantage of being part of the Viacom family, giving us the ability to leverage its portfolio of powerful and youthful brands.”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=ab470ea0435b95b24f586abe5e633b75

Speak Your Mind