Ever since 2009, when Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks parted ways with Paramount, Disney has distributed the studio's films, but that may all come to an end when their deal expires next year. The Hollywood Reporter reveals that the director's upcoming adaptation of Roald Dahl's The BFG, which hits theaters July 1, 2016, will be the last film Disney releases through its contract with DreamWorks, which expires in August 2016. The report reveals that Steven Spielberg may bring DreamWorks over to Universal Pictures, after the Disney pact runs out.
Steven Spielberg has always had his offices on the Universal Pictures lot, even while his DreamWorks company had distribution deals with Paramount and Disney. The report also claims that Steven Spielberg was a "hands-on" executive producer on the studio's massive box office hit Jurassic World, and he is also a vital part of the studio's plans for the sequel, Jurassic World 2, and their future theme park plans for the franchise. Sources claim that he negotiated his massive director's fee for Jurassic World, from which he paid the film's actual director, Colin Trevorrow. Steven Spielberg's fee includes percentage points that is reportedly worth tens of millions of dollars.
The report claims that Steven Spielberg is also a vital part of potential reboots of other Universal franchises, such as Jaws and Back to The Future. It's worth noting that the Back to the Future rights are held by director Robert Zemeckis and writer Bob Gale, with the director revealing this summer that he would never approve of a Back to The Future remake, which would only happen after both he and Bob Gale have passed away. Still, if Universal did bring Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks into their fold, it's possible that a Jaws remake could be put into development.
A representative for Universal Pictures said the studio would "welcome the chance to be DreamWorks' distribution partner," but nothing is in the works as of now. Wherever DreamWorks lands, they will have funding for their own projects that will come with it. Participant Media's Jeff Skoll is reportedly making a $200 million investment in DreamWorks, with the studio reportedly raising between $150 million and $200 million from other sources. These funds could enable the studio to greenlight their own projects without additional funding. The director is not known for "over-spending" on his projects, but in today's youth-oriented market, there aren't many studios who are interested in making the adult-driven movies the filmmaker is known for.
When DreamWorks first made their deal with Disney, the studio was lead by Dick Cook, with the understanding that Disney would invest in DreamWorks projects and they would also invite DreamWorks to collaborate on their own movies. Shortly after the deal was made, though, Dick Cook was removed and replaced by Bob Iger, who would only commit to financing Disney projects. DreamWorks went on to find financing through the Indian company Reliance, but the funding started to dry up after a string of DreamWorks failures like Cowboys & Aliens, Delivery Man and Need for Speed. The studio also lost top executive Stacey Snider last year, who left to join 20th Century Fox.
Steven Spielberg's next movie, Bridge of Spies, is set for release on October 16, and he has already committed to directing Ready Player One next for Warner Bros. The potential move to Universal comes in the midst of the studio's record-breaking year at the box office. Last week, it became the first studio in history to have three movies gross more than $1 billion globally, Jurassic World, Furious 7 and Minions. Do you think Universal would make the perfect distribution partner for Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks?