Disney and DreamWorks Distribution Partnership is Official
by Alex Billington
February 9, 2009
To quote Bob Dylan, "the times, they are a changin'." The Walt Disney Studios has agreed to enter into an exclusive long-term distribution arrangement with filmmaker Steven Spielberg and partner Stacey Snider, CEO of DreamWorks, to distribute all upcoming live-action motion pictures produced by DreamWorks under their partnership with Reliance Big Entertainment. Under the terms of this arrangement, Disney will handle distribution and marketing for approximately six DreamWorks films each year. The first DreamWorks film to be released under the Touchstone Pictures banner is scheduled for in 2010.
Out of all the big studios that I thought DreamWorks would end up at once it split from Paramount, I didn't expect it to be Disney. Now don't forget, this partnership has nothing to do with Jeffrey Katzenberg's DreamWorks Animation or any of the animated films they're developing. Additionally, Disney may distribute these new DreamWorks films under different "banners", including Touchstone and Miramax. Although we're not sure if Disney is selling off Miramax in order to make sure this deal goes through. Either way, the times definitely are a changin' and it'll be very interesting to see how this partnership pans out.
Bob Iger, president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, said this of the deal: "We are tremendously pleased to join forces with Steven Spielberg, whose artistic vision and commitment to quality filmmaking are legendary. DreamWorks has had a great creative and commercial track record under the leadership of Steven and Stacey Snider and I am delighted they're now associated with Disney." And Steven Spielberg said this as well: "Disney is the birthplace of imagination and has always been as close to the worldwide audience as any company ever has. I am so pleased that industry leaders like Bob Iger and Dick Cook reached out to become our distribution partner. This is a major step forward for us and Reliance."
Can you imagine what it would have been like to see films like Saving Private Ryan, American Beauty, Galaxy Quest, Gladiator, Cast Away, A Beautiful Mind, or Minority Report distributed by Disney? That's just a small sample of the films that DreamWorks has produced over its 15 year history, but representative of their overall quality. Disney has become an extremely powerful studio in the last few years, primarily due to its relationship with Jerry Bruckheimer and the success of franchises like Pirates of the Caribbean. This partnership will only continue to help both Disney and DreamWorks grow in tremendous ways.