I certainly hope Jeffrey Katzenberg is actively trying to sell the company. I mean, for a guy like him, I just don’t get why he does it.
For most people, it would be a great gig: Produce two high quality (some at Pixar would say average quality) animated movies a year for ever and ever and ever. But Jeffrey Katzenberg isn’t ‘most people’. He’s a guy that wanted to build an empire and has apparently stopped trying to do that. I can’t imagine he’s suddenly content with what he has.
When DreamWorks was formed in 1994, I was all for it. To build a media empire from scratch is the kind of ambition that Hollywood hadn’t seen in decades (and probably won’t be seen again). But if anyone could do it, it would be Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen - SKG. But they couldn’t stomach the hard times.
They didn’t have the guts of a Khan Manka or a Walt Disney who were willing to mortgage everything to keep their dreams afloat. SKG used mostly other people’s money – not their houses or art collections – and the other people started getting nervous. SKG decided to remain rich and refined the art of risk management.
And I’m sure they’ve all had very happy lives even without a media empire.
But I think it’s time for DreamWorks to finally exit the stage. It’s going to happen sooner or later. Just do it now. Why go through the aggravation of further stockholder meetings and quarterly reports to Wall Street.
Just sell (probably for a few billion), if you can, at a decent return to shareholders, set up an office on one of the studio lots and reminisce about the old days and how things might have turned out different if you’d been a little crazier.
Nearly all the movies DreamWorks Animation has produced and will produce have been and will most likely be solid hits worldwide that any film studio would love to add to their library/event film slate. It’s a pretty simple formula – write average script, hire stars as voices, animate, market, distribute and make about $500 million worldwide (with only the occasional disappointment of something like “Flushed Away”). Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
A big studio purchase of DWA fits perfectly into Hollywood’s current mindset of accurately predicting financial results and avoiding any kind of risk.
Lucky are we to get to pay for and sit through the movies that reflect this strategy.
Jill Kennedy – OnMedea