DreamWorks Animation Sees Distribution Decision Within Weeks

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (DWA) expects to announce a new agreement for distribution of its films in theaters within weeks, replacing an expiring deal with Viacom Inc. (VIAB)’s Paramount Pictures.

“We’ll have something in the next couple of weeks,” Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Katzenberg said today in a telephone interview. A DreamWorks Animation spokeswoman said later that a decision is expected no later than Labor Day.

Katzenberg wouldn’t discuss specifics or say whether the Glendale, California-based studio had ruled out distributing its own movies when the Paramount deal ends this year. Other options include re-upping with Paramount or working with a new studio such as Sony Corp. (6758)

“Each and every one of them have pluses and minuses,” Katzenberg said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

DreamWorks Animation, which today announced the acquisition of Classic Media, fell 0.4 percent to $19.08 at the close in New York.

The studio, spun off from DreamWorks SKG and taken public by Katzenberg in 2004, has fallen 57 percent from an all-time closing high of $44 a share on March 24, 2010, as the company, like others in Hollywood, has sold fewer DVDs.

DreamWorks Animation’s most recent theatrical release, “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,” has generated $476.4 million in worldwide ticket sales since June 8, according to researcher Box Office Mojo. The website estimates the production budget at $145 million.

The next movie, “Rise of the Guardians,” is a computer- generated picture featuring the fictional character Jack Frost battling evil in the world. It is scheduled for a Nov. 21 release and features the voices of Hugh Jackman, Chris Pine and Alec Baldwin, according to the Internet Movie Database.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at cpalmeri1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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