Hope you aren’t currently sitting on the phone with DreamWorks Animation customer service—filing another complaint about the lack of response to your Bee Movie 2 spec script, perhaps—because your hold time just went way up. According to The New York Times, the animation studio has been bought by Comcast for an impressive $3.8 billion dollars, presumably so Shrek can come on the line and cheer callers up after they’ve been trying to cancel their service for the past 90 minutes.
Up to this point, DreamWorks—founded by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen in 2004—had been the smallest publicly-traded entertainment company in Hollywood. (Yes, DreamWorks’ $916 million in revenue in 2015 is small for Hollywood.) Now it’s part of the Comcast “family,”which also includes NBCUniversal, whose Illumination Studios division is responsible for unleashing the Despicable Me movies and their unholy offspring, Minions, onto the world. (Maybe a Minions Go To Madagascar spec script would be the way to go?)
The New York Times notes that Comcast plans to take advantage of its new purchase by “[bolstering] its fast-growing theme parks and [moving] deeper into toys and children’s television,” presumably making new movies whose characters can then be sold as toys every once in a while as well. Katzenberg has reportedly been trying to sell DreamWorks for years—past suitors include Hasbro and the Japanese cell phone company SoftBank, neither of which were ultimately willing to close the deal. In the end, though, waiting paid off: $3.8 billion is “greater than many people in Hollywood thought DreamWorks Animation was worth,” according to NYT, and is almost as much as Disney paid for Marvel ($4 billion) and Lucasfilm ($4.05 billion).
Release dates for upcoming DreamWorks projects have been scheduled for sometime between November 2016 and never.