I have a lot of friends in the business... and overheard at SDCC was a comment about another company acquiring Classic Media...
Not Dreamworks... another company.
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I just realized how horrible a Live Action Movie might be. Mattel is working with Sony on it, yet Sony and Mattel do not have Filmation rights, so no "True" Horde will ever be in the movie. No Catra or Shadow Weaver. No... wait, I guess Filmation is mainly POP's problem. Mattel own's enough characters to make a decent trilogy... so never mind.
I wonder if this is why all the original cartoon is no longer offered in iTunes anymore?
Looks like the deal is done!
From Entertainment Weekly this morning:
DreamWorks buys 'He-Man,' 'Fat Albert,' 'Gumby,' 'Casper the Friendly Ghost' and other classic kids characters
by Anthony Breznican
Tags: Animation, DreamWorks Animation, Gumby, He-Man, Movie Biz, The Lone Ranger
Image Credit: Everett Collection
There are dozens of pop culture references that could be used to start this story.
We could go with a Fat Albert-esque question: “Hey, hey, hey … guess who just bought a huge portfolio of classic kids’ titles?”
And answer it He-Man and She-Ra style: “DreamWorks Animation … has … THE POWER!”
Or there’s the Lassie route: “What’s that, girl …? A company called Classic Media found a bunch of family entertainment characters down in a well? And now they’ve all been scooped up by Jeffrey Katzenberg?”
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On Wall Street, they’re just saying it straight: Classic Media, an entertainment firm that has been amassing rights to a huge library of beloved-but-languishing family-friendly characters since 2000, was acquired today by DreamWorks Animation, which paid $155 million to own the titles.
Think of DreamWorks Animation CEO Katzenberg as the ultimate collector, who just bought someone’s massive toybox on eBay.
In a peculiar quirk, the deal now puts DreamWorks Animation directly into business with Walt Disney Studios, Katzenberg’s old home and current rival. One of the characters owned by Classic Animation is The Lone Ranger, which was licensed to Disney for Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer’s upcoming western adventure, due in theaters July 3, 2013.
Classic Media co-CEOs Eric Ellenbogen (a former Marvel Entertainment chief) and John Engelman (an executive with Broadway Video) founded the company to acquire characters that previously enjoyed strong followings but had fallen out of the active pop-culture zeitgeist. They will remain in charge of the newly branded DreamWorks Classics division.
The nearly 450 titles in Classic’s portfolio include Gumby, Pat the Bunny, **** Tracy, Lamb Chop the puppet, Where’s Waldo? and the old superhero Shazam cartoon show.
Classic had a longstanding partnership with Jay Ward Productions, which made the Rocky and Bullwinkle, George of the Jungle, and Dudley Do-Right cartoons, and the DreamWorks Animation deal means Katzenberg and chief creative officer Bill Damaschke will also have access to those and several other companies’ characters, including:
– The Harvey Comics catalog, including Casper the Friendly Ghost, Richie Rich, Wendy the Good Little Witch, and Hot Stuff.
– the Rankin/Bass animated holiday specials Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman.
Since DreamWorks Animation didn’t buy these rights to let the characters languish on a shelf, fans will likely see these characters return in new movies and TV shows, as well as home entertainment and digital releases, consumer products, and theme parks.
Classic Media didn’t let the characters lie fallow either, so some of its titles, such as The Lone Ranger, have already been licensed for active projects. Last year, Relativity Media announced it was developing a movie based on the Classic Media character Voltron, about a group of giant, robotic tiger vehicles who form a massive intergalactic warrior.
DreamWorks Animation itself previously licensed content from Classic: It is producing an animated feature film based on the time-travel cartoon Mr. Peabody and Sherman, due in late 2013 with Modern Family’s Ty Burrell voicing the genius canine.
Assorted other pre-existing deals and partnerships will occasionally limit what DreamWorks can do with some of these properties, and existing agreements will remain unchanged. But as the license holder, the animation studio can now work to capitalize on them in new ways.
Have a look at Classic Media’s full catalog here. Which characters would you like to see DreamWorks Animation resurrect?
I always thought MOTU should be a CGI movie like Beowulf, Tekken Blood Vengeance, Final Fantasy or FF: Advent Children, but CGI movies never do well unless they are kiddie flicks.
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I REALLY hope we get He-Man and She-Ra movies and cartoon series out of this deal. WEEEEEEE!
With all the doom and gloom news that's been surrounding MOTUC lately, this is JUST the news we needed!
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Last edited by Darkspecter; July 23, 2012 at 02:39pm.
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Okay, He Man cartoon feature: Yes.
But more importantly, they could finally fix that terrible Underdog live action flick and make a NEW Underdog movie!
I gotta say, He-Man will always work better animated than live. It needs to be vibrant, colorful, cheesy, light and breezy. I'm definitely curious to see where they might go with this.
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Also, the way I understand it, DreamWorks may not do anything with the He-Man or She-Ra characters in new media without first consulting and getting permission from Mattel who owns the trademarks on those characters. However, DreamWorks, much like Classic Media, can continue to redistribute the Filmation series and the Filmation based characters as that is what they have bought the rights too. This agreement would not give DreamWorks carte blanche to do a whole new movie or series without a partnership from Mattel. And I'm not saying that's not possible, but some rumors said Mattel was working with Sony.
Last edited by csc0709; July 23, 2012 at 05:26pm.
Dream Works already has the successful Shrek and Puss in Boots franchises, which are fairy tale/fantasy oriented, so I could see MOTU and POP fitting in nicely. Shrek had a decent balance of serious and humorous moments and drew in both children and adults, so they have a good track record with handling this kind of property.
Let's hope it happens!
Can DreamWorks create new MOTU media without Mattel's involvement? I'm doubting it. I'm guessing right now DreamWorks basically just owns the Filmation likenesses (which are already licensed out to Mattel for MOTUC) and DVD/distribution rights to the Filmation show. The new deal might make building a relationship between Mattel and DreamWorks easier at least if things fall through with the current movie stuff.
I guess theoretically they could do something involving just the Filmation based characters such as Shadow Weaver, but really what would be the point without the major characters?
something like beowulf could work for me
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The article above seems to indicate that Dream Works doesn't want the properties they've acquired to go to waste, so it's possible they may at some point want to make a deal with Mattel to do a movie or television series.
I mean, I hope they didn't make this deal just to get the rights to Lamb Chop...!!!
I think all the 'Debby Downers' should give Dreamworks a chance. Marvel was acquired by Disney and look what they have done with it. The comics haven't changed and The Avengers made back a good chunk of the sale price. They could surprise some people!
I believe that most contracts involving acquisitions would require that the new owners honour existing contracts as it's standard practice.
Also, I think a She-Ra relaunch would be most probable as there would be a lot less dealings with Mattel except for toys allowing more freedom.
I dont understand. Looking at the list of characters they now own the rights to, He-Man and She-Ra are by far the biggest and most marketable, IMO. So why would a company pay $155MM and not be able to use the biggest properties under the umbrella. I certainly hope there is not a new Gumby show in the works. LOL