It’s going to be a long summer for Jeffrey Katzenberg and DreamWorks Animation. It may just be the last summer those two names are associated with each other.
Sure, they’ve got “How To Train Your Dragon 2″ coming out. And, sure, it’ll do $500 million worldwide and make a decent profit.
But not enough to convince anyone that DWA isn’t a dead-company-walking.
By early next year, something will have to happen – maybe a sale, maybe a shutdown – but business as usual is not an option.
This failure seemed to happen in slow motion – nearly 10 years with a terrible, unsustainable business model.
I seriously doubt the Company Mission was this: “We’re going to produce two animated movies a year – and one of them will fail. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.”
In baseball, getting a hit fifty percent of the time would be superhuman.
In Hollywood, fifty percent sucks.
When your job is to produce animated feature films, and over half of your movies bomb, there is something wrong with you. It means, you are incompetent and, deep down, you really don’t know what you’re doing.
Big Hollywood animated feature films is the ultimate fish-in-a-barrel/low-hanging-fruit type entertainment. Kids of a certain age will see almost anything. And parents need these diversions to pass the time on a hot summer afternoon or a miserable cold winter day.
But I suppose over the half time, parents would rather be miserable than go see a DreamWorks Animation film.
I’m not saying everything has to be “Frozen” - but nothing should ever be “Turbo” or “Mr. Peabody & Sherman.”
From the beginning, I never understood the Animation unit IPO.
If the reason was just to get enough cash to pay-off Paul Allen at the expense of giving up your dream of building a giant entertainment conglomerate on par with the other majors, then that was truly short-sighted and weak.
Taking the whole company public was really the only option – a piece of it was just too small. I’m sure there was a reason – but it was mistake nonetheless.
Seriously, you went from producing content like this:
To content like this:
AwesomenessTV and OTT, in general, is not going to be enough to save the company – though it will be a nice asset for someone to pick up on the cheap – after the whole OTT bubble bursts (any moment now).
So, I’m sorry, Jeffrey, it’s time for you to just enjoy your money and your philanthropic work (cocktail parties, clambakes at Geffen’s house, etc.). You do many great things for the world – producing movies isn’t one of those things.
Good luck to you.
Jill Kennedy – OnMedea