Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks Officially Split From Paramount
by Alex Billington
October 5, 2008
This may be the first year of the next generation of Hollywood. New Line Cinema collapsed early in the year, almost all of the small independent studios (Warner Independent, Picturehouse) were dissolved mid-year, United Artists came back from the dead, and now DreamWorks has officially split from Paramount. The announcement arrived today stating that Steven Spielberg will take his DreamWorks company with him in a separation from Paramount. DreamWorks will continue to operate in a new partnership with Reliance BIG Entertainment. David Geffen, who was one of the three founders of DreamWorks, will not join the new company. So what will this mean for upcoming projects?
Well, as with the New Line collapse, it's all a bit complicated. DreamWorks will take control over a few in development projects that Paramount will have the option to co-finance and co-distribute. All other projects currently in development will remain at Paramount with the opportunity for the "new" DreamWorks to co-finance those that Spielberg is attached. Additionally, Spielberg will produce the Transformers franchise for Paramount and will collaborate on three other upcoming Paramount films, including a remake of the 1951 sci-fi classic When Worlds Collide. Beyond that, we'll wait for specifics on a case-by-case basis.
With the announcement, Spielberg and Paramount CEO Brad Grey, who are not particular on friendly terms, publicly commented on working with each other and the split. Spielberg said, "Brad is a friend and I am pleased to be able to continue to work with him and his team with whom we have shared many successes. We have enjoyed a productive creative and business collaboration with Brad, Paramount and Viacom over the past few years and are enthusiastic about extending the relationship for many years to come." Grey said, "We have had a great run with the DreamWorks team both creatively and financially. In particular, it has been a true honor working closely with a storyteller of Steven's talent and stature."
I'm very curious to see how Hollywood changes with this announcement (if at all). What will the state of the film industry be at the end of the year? Will this provide better opportunities individually for both studios? All that I can say is that I'm a fan of Paramount; they've been great the past few years and have continued to show they're one of the best studios in Hollywood with strong releases like Iron Man and Cloverfield. However, if Spielberg begins to distribute his DreamWorks films through Universal, I'm concerned that they will get the worst treatment. That studio, on the other hand, seems to be one of the few currently stuck in a rut. I just hope that the effect of this split is indeed positive for everyone involved.