In this article, we are going to talk about DreamWorks Animation studio, its history, best grossing films, and everything else you need to know about the company.
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About the Founders:
The founders’ idea, was to open a studio, that was very artist-friendly and patient with the development and production. Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg, and David Geffen all inspired the world of animation and delighted audiences all over the world. Let’s meet them:
Born on December 21, 1950, in New York, U.S., Jeffrey Katzenberg has had quite an interesting career and life. Being highly involved in making the Walt Disney Company a multibillion-dollar company, he later also founded a film studio called DreamWorks SKG along with filmmaker Steven Spielberg and David Geffen who played a musical role.
For one year, he attended New York University and later worked as a political organizer and also some other weird jobs, before he landed a job at Paramount Pictures. Surprisingly, he had to work very hard to get up through the ranks. He soon became the president of the production of motion pictures and television.
Some time after that, he joined Disney as a junior partner. Over the next years he, Michael Eisner and Frank Wells from Warner Brothers built Disney into a $20+ billion empire.
Highest grossing films he produced there inlude:
· The Little Mermaid
· Lion King
· Beauty and the Beast
In September 1994, he resigned from his position, soon after Wells’ accidental death in April 1994.
Not even months, but only days later, he, Spielberg, and Geffen founded DreamWorks. One of the first Katzenberg features films was an animated movie called “The Prince of Egypt”
Born on December 18, 1964, in Ohio, he soon move to California to study films in college. In the early years of his career, he directed a few episodes for television, including the film Duel in 1971. His first actual directorial film was The Sugarland Express in 1974 along with the evergreen movie Jaws from 1975.
other notable box office successes:
· Close Encounters of the Third Kind in 1977
· E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1982
· The Indiana Jones series
· Jurassic Park (His highest grossing movie at the time) in 1993
· Schindler’s List in 1993
· Saving Private Ryan in 1998
Despite being one of the founders of DreamWorks animation, he has had a more versatile career than just directing and producing animated feature films.
· Academy Awards – 19 Nominations, 3 Wins
· British Academy Film Rewards – 13 Nominations, 2 Wins
· Emmy’s – 27 Nominations, 12 Wins
· Golden Globe Awards – 24 Nominations, 7 Wins
Born February 21, 1943 in Brooklyn, New York, David Lawrence Geffen was the third founder of DreamWorks animation.
Geffen started his entertainment career pretty soon and it would later come to light that he had no intent leaving it behind. He was an extra in the 1961 film The Explosive Generation and in 1969, he was an Executive vice president and talent agent for Creative Management Associates.
Sadly, Geffen left DreamWorks SKG in 2008.
· Tony Award for best Musical
· Tony Award for Best Play
· Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Animated Program
DreamWorks Animation History:
First years of DreamWorks Animation, aka DreamWorks SKG (1994-2004):
On October 12, 1994, Producer Steven Spielberg, Ex Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg and Music executive David Geffen Founded their own company, called DreamWorks SKG, with the SKG standing for the surnames of the founders. They found their staff through personal connections and Katzenberg even brought some of the top animation staff from Disney. The first Feature films were quite exciting, “Balto” being one of them.
In 1997, DreamWorks started a partnership with Aardman Animations to Co-produce their stop motion film called “Chicken Run”. The entertainment company liked it so much, that they extended the Partnership with Aardman Animations for an additional 4 movies.
In 1998, DreamWorks Animation would introduce their first computer generated films called “Antz” and “The Prince of Egypt”. CGI and traditional animation techniques were used on both DreamWorks animation films.
In 2000, DreamWorks SKG created a new division of theirs, called DreamWorks Animation. It would produce 2 types of animated feature films.
Because of the success they saw in CGI-animated feature films, DreamWorks Animation soon abandoned Hand Drawn Animation. With a total of 4 hand-drawn movies, Shrek 2 and Shark Tale were their first animated films that were 100% computer generated.
DreamWorks Animation Best Animated Feature Films:
Kung Fu Panda:
The feature animation film was first released in 2008, with their sequels being released in 2011, 2016 and the “Kung Fu Panda 4” film is set to be released in 2024.
Overall, the franchise has been a big success for the box office and the world was provided with good entertainment as well as good computer generated animation.
The first two animated films were distributed by Paramount pictures and the third one by 20th Century Fox, according to their distribution agreement and deal with 20th Century Fox. The fourth one will be distributed by Universal Pictures.
· Director: John Stevenson and Mark Osborne
· Screenplay: Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger
· Notable Actors: Jack Black, Mick Wingert, Jackie Chan, James Hong
This feature animation film was much like Kung Fu Panda, a big box office success.
With its debut in 2001, Shrek was one of the last DreamWorks Animation films with Shrek 2 being the first movie of theirs to use computer generated animation.
· Director: Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson
· Screenplay: Ted Elliot, Terry Rossio, Joe Stillman and Roger S.H. Schulman
· Notable Actors: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow
DreamWorks Animation is surely great entertainment company overall. It should be not compared to its other competitors, we should just enjoy what we have. As an animation specialist, I really like their style and approach to animation. Overall, they can be considered as one of the best entertainment companies the world has ever seen.
What are your favorite films or creations from DreamWorks Animation?
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