NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast, today announced the acquisition of DreamWorks Animation. One of the world's most popular family brands, DreamWorks Animation creates animated feature films, television series and specials, live entertainment and related consumer products. The animation studio will become part of the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, which includes Universal Pictures, Fandango, and NBCUniversal. “DreamWorks Animation is a great addition to NBCUniversal,” said Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal. “Jeffrey Katzenberg and the DreamWorks organization have created a dynamic film brand and a deep library of intellectual property. DreamWorks will help us grow our film, television, theme parks and consumer products businesses for years to come.”
The Universal theme parks have had deals to include characters from the Shrek franchise in attractions and in the park, but with Comcast owning the entire back catalog of DreamWorks Animation films a lot more could be added to the parks without negotiations with a third party. Animated film franchises that could be turned into rides or meet and greets include Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon, and others, in addition to the already present Shrek. (There already is a Madagascar ride in Universal Studios Singapore, but due to a licensing agreement with other parks stateside Universal has not been allowed to open attractions here, yet.)
Besides the recent animated film library, DreamWorks Animation is also the rights holders for classic character including Where’s Waldo, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I for one assume this deal means we should see a good portion of the rumored third Orlando park being devoted to a How to Train Your Dragon themed area, and probably a Kung Fu Panda one as well. With Disney gobbling up all the popular franchises in the world, it's good to see Universal broadening their portfolio, especially in a time when the theme park wars rely so heavily on popular IPs. Read more about this deal from the press release below.