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The Twilight Of The Katzenberg

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, Herb Allen's Sun Valley Conference 2013, Sun Valley Lodge, Bin Tran, Vin Tran, Lee S Ainslie III, Yousef Al Otaiba, Hans-Holger Albrecht, Paul G Allen, James Anderson, Marc Andreessen, Michael Angelakis, Tim Armstrong, Nikesh Arora, Neil M Ashe, Emilio Azcarraga, Manvinder S Banga, Lionel Barber, Craig R Barrett, Willow Bay, Andreas Bechtolsheim, Marc Benioff, Jeffrey Berg, James Berkus, Michael S Berman, Mark Bertolini, Gary Bettman, Jeff Bewkes, Jeffrey P Bezos, Aneel Bhusri, The Right Honorable Tony Blair, Gregory R Blatt, Anthony H Bloom, Michael R Bloomberg, Steven R Boal, Scott A Bommer, Cory A Booker, Jeffrey H Boyd, Sergey Brin, Glenn Britt, Tom Brokaw, Michael J Brown, Howard G Buffett, Susie Buffett, Warren Buffett, John Burbank, Stephen Burke, Erin Burnett, Ursula Burns, John E Bush, Jeanie Buss, John A Canning Jr., Chase Carey, Wences Casares, Mark Casey, Kenneth Chenault, Peter Chernin, Brian Chesky, Richard Chilton, Chris Christie, Lewis Cime, Adriana Cisneros, Gustavo Cisneros, Vittorio Colao, Timothy Collins, Patrick Collison, Timothy Cook, Anderson Cooper, David Corkins, Delos Cosgrove, Dick Costolo, Cristian Croitoru, Henry Crumpton, Jose Luis Cutrale, Will Danoff, Philippe Dauman, Christopher Davis, Alfonso de Angoitia, John DeGioia, Diego Della Valle, Brian Demain, Andre Desmarais, David DeVoe, Feroz Dewan, William DeWitt, Barry Diller, Daniel Doctoroff, Jonathan Dolgen, John Donahoe, Jack Dorsey, Michael Duke, Mathias Dopfner, David Ebersman, Wesley Edens, Marvin Edwards, Eric Eisner, Michael Eisner, John Elkann, Thomas Evans, Randel Falco, Jose Antonio Fernandez, Michael Ferror, Niall W. A. FitzGerald, Thomas Friedman, Michael Fries, Tommy Frist, Daniel Fulton, Michael Fux, Mala Gaonkar, Whitfield Gardner, William Gates, Melinda Gates, Julius Genachowski, Daniel Gilbert, Thomas Giovine, David Goldberg, Roger Goodell, Bing Gordon, Donald Graham, Brian Grazer, Brad Grey, John Griffin, Andreas Halvorsen, Reed Hastings, General Michael Hayden USAF, James Heavener, John Hendricks, John Henry, John Heyman, Kazuo Hirai, John Hock, Reid Hoffman, Won Pyo Hong, Lisa Hook, Ben Horowitz, Drew Houston, Robert Iger, David Ignatius, Martin Indyk, Phillip Jackson, Eli Jacobs, Paul Jacobs, Robert Johnson, Salar Kamanger, Peter Karmanos, Alexander Karp, Michael Karsch, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Michael Keating, Brian Kelly, Muhtar Kent, Joseph Robert Kerrey, Dara Khosrowshahi, Seth Klaman, Joel Klein, Peter Klein, Philip H Knight, Victor Koo, Robert Kotick, Robert Kraft, Henry Kravis, Ynon Kreiz, Blake Krikorian, Ananda Krishnan, Stan Kroenke, Daniel Lamarre, Michael Larson, Martin Lau, Michael Leavitt, Jay Lee, Eric Lefkofsky, Theordore Leonsis, Max Levchin, David Levin, Phil Libin, Martin Lipton, Bryan Lourd, Kenneth W Lowe, Michael Lowenstein, Dan Lufkin, Dennis P LYnch, Michael Lynton, Maurice Levy, John Malone, Robert Marcus, Morris Mark, Donald Mattrick, Kathleen A McCarragher, General Stanley A McChrystal, Andrew McKenna, General Montgomery C Meigs, Lorenzo Mendoza, Ron Meyer, Roberto Mignone, Hiroshi Mikitani, Bill Miller, Kenneth Miranda, Thomas Monahan, Leslie Moonves, Luis Alberto Moreno, Dan Moskovitz, Craig Mundle, James Murdoch, Rupert Mudoch, Lachlan Murdoch, Nathan Myhrvold, Michael Neidorff, Jonathan M Nelson, Vivi Nevo, Sam Nunn, Michael E O'Hanlon, Daniel J O'Keefe, Don O'Neal, Ronald L Olson, Evan Osnos, CL Butch Otter, Michael Ovitz, Larry Page, Stephen G Pagliuca, Saul Pannell, Mark Papa, William Pappendick, MIchael Pausic, Minxin Pei, Francois-Henry Pinault, Mark Pincus, Laurene Powell, Lawrence F Probst, Rebecca Quick, Thomas Rabe, Jay Rasulo, Jerry Reinsdorf, Danny Rimer, Richard Riordan, Ambassador Charles H Rivkin, Brian Roberts, James Robinson IIi, James Robinson IV, Fernando Rodes Vila, Brian Rogers, Congressman Mike Rogers, Charlie Rose, Daniel Rose, Wilbur L Ross, Haim Saban, Karim Sadjadpour, Sheryl Sandberg, Ricky Sandler, Ted Sarandos, Fayez Sarofim, Nassef Sawiris, Eric Schmidt, John Schneider, Christopher Schroeder, John Scully, Allan Selig, Nicole Seligman, Eric Semler, William Siegel, Herbert Siegel, Ben Silbermann, Christopher Silbermann, Louis Simpson, Eduardo Sirotsky Melzer, Andrew Sorkin, Sir Martin Sorrell, Thomas Staggs, Cristina Stenbeck, David Stern, Michael Stone, Sir Howard Stringer, Robert Swan, Peter Thiel, Mark Thompson, Sebastian Thrun, Thomas Tull, Peter Ueberroth, Joseph Vacanti, Jeffrey Van Harte, Owen Van Natta, Martin Varsavsky, Leftie Vaughn, Michelangelo Volpi, Alexandre Von Furstenberg, Dian von Furstenberg, Casey Wasserman, David Weinberg, Judd Weinberg, Jeff Weiner, Harvey Weinstein, Wallace R Weitz, Robert Werbel, Michael White, Meg Whitman, Jim Wiatt, James Williams, Fred Wilpon, Jeffrey Wilpon, Fred Wilson, David J Winters, Nicholas Woodman, Major General Amos Yadlin, Jerry Yang, Jed York, David Zaslav, Dirk E Ziff, Gianfranco Zoppas, Mark ZuckerbergIt’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.

Sorry.

It is very possible that Khan Manka, Jr. – as he wrote himself – is the Last Hollywood Mogul.

Good luck to you.

Allen & Company retreat, Anne Mulcahy, Ari Emanuel, Barry Diller, Ben Silverman, Bob Iger, Bobby Kotick, Carol Bartz, Charlie Rose, Cory Booker, DumbDumb, Electus, Eric Schmidt, Erin Burnett, Gina Bianchini, Harvey Weinstein, Herb Allen, Herb Allen Sun Valley Conference, Herbert Allen, Jean-Bernard Levy, Jeff Bewkes, Jeff Weiner, Jeff Zucker, Jeffrey Immelt, Jerry Yang, John Donahue, Ken Auletta, Khan Manka, Lachlan Murdoch, Lady Gaga, Leslie Moonves, Lionel Barber, Lloyd Grohl, Manka Bros., Marc Andreessen, Marissa Mayer, Mark Pincus, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Sorrell, Mathias Dopfner, Mike Bloomberg, Niall FitzGerald, Peter Chernin, Phillippe Dauman, Reid Hoffman, Richard Parsons, Ricky Van Veen, Rob Wiesenthal, Robert L. Johnson, Ron Meyer, Rupert Murdoch, Sergey Brin, Sheryl Sandberg, Steve Jobs, Sun Valley Retreat, Sun Valley Retreat 2010, Terry Semel, Tom Freston, Tom Friedman, Ursula Burns, Vivi Nevo, Warren Buffett, World's Largest Media Company, Rupert Murdoch, Jose Maria Aznar, natalie Bancroft, Peter Barnes, Chase Carey, Kenneth Cowley, David DeVoe, Viet Dinh, Rod Eddington, Joel Klein, Andrew S.B. Knight, James Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch, Thomas Perkins, Arthur Siskind, John Thornton, Stanley Shuman, Rebekah Brooks, Les Hinton, Teri Everett, jack Horner, Julie Henderson, Reed Nolte, Roger Ailes, Janet Nova, John Nallen, Beryl Cook, Michael Regan, Genie Gavenchak, Brian Lewis, Irena Briganti, Dan Berger, Rosabel Tao, Steven Rubenstein, Suzanne Halpin, Elisabeth Murdoch, Carol Bartz, Roy Bostock, Patti Hart, Sue James, Vyomesh Joshi, David Kenny, Arthur Kern, Brad Smith, Gary Wilson, Jerry Yang, Blake Irving, Ross Levinsohn, Rose Tsou, Rich Riley, Tim Morse, Michael J. Callahan, David Dibble, David Filo, Dr. Prabhakar Roghavan, Jeff Russakow, Elisa Steele, David Windley, Scott ThompsonJill Kennedy – OnMedea

 

Permanent link to this article: http://mankabros.com/blogs/onmedea/2014/05/06/the-twilight-of-the-katzenberg/

7 comments

1 ping

  1. Jo Yar says:

    Have you seen Yuriy Norshtein’s work? This genius lives in poverty and creates great art.
    You’re talking about money. With that kind of money it’s about a time to relax and sponsor the talented people.
    Is in our time Medici no longer exist ?

  2. Jagan R says:

    Hi Jill,

    Right on. You got it right there. Most of the DW movies bombed recently, Adventures of Tin Tin being the only face savior and to some extent The Help could have been called a good movie, even that didn’t do well at the box office despite Oscar Nominations. But then, “Oscars are more like ASK HER’ these days!

    Good article. Thanks.

    Best.
    J.R.

  3. Luis Archundia says:

    Well. Hollywood its the grandest gamble of all.Everybody knows that and nobody is invulnerable or has a foolproof business model in the entertainment industry. Frankly the article is too visceral and feels more like a death wish than a death sentence.

  4. Carl Darchuk says:

    Don’t ever underestimate Katzenberg!

  5. Euro2cent says:

    Are his pool parties any good?

  6. Zack says:

    It is not much of a stretch to say DW can’t do anything right and Pixar can’t do anything wrong. These kinds of performance differences come from the top and are reflected in the corporate processes. If DW copied the Pixar method, they too could be successful.

  7. Jill Kennedy says:

    Not a stretch at all. I totally agree.

  1. Herb Allen’s Sun Valley Conference – 2014 – Day 1 – The End of Cynicism » Chairman's Blog says:

    […] won’t happen, Manka Bros. will not buy DreamWorks Animation so stop with the texts, Katzenberg – though I will keep the champagne you sent to my […]

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