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TK's MORNING BUZZ: Was DreamWorks' Home Video Release of 'Shrek' Timed to Rain on Disney's 'Monsters' Parade?

7 Nov, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

There's a big buzz around Hollywood, questioning whether DreamWorks scheduled the home video release of Shrek on a Friday to trample on Disney's theatrical opening of Monsters, Inc.

The studios have been at loggerheads from the time DreamWorks partner Jeffrey Katzenberg was fired from his position as Walt Disney Studios chief by Disney czar Michael Eisner. He sued and ultimately won a settlement for $250 million, but bad blood lingered; DreamWorks' first big project was a children's movie called Mouse Hunt.

DreamWorks denies the release of Shrek was timed to rain on Disney's theatrical parade -- and as it turned out, both sides came out as winners.

Disney scored the biggest opening in its history and DreamWorks sold 7 million copies of Shrek its first three days in stores. Collectively, the two studios got consumers to spend nearly $200 million on their manufactured entertainment, no small amount by any means.

But skeptics continue to question the timing, and based on history there is certainly cause for raised eyebrows.

In 1994, when New Line Entertainment sought to enter the animated children's film arena with The Swan Princess, Disney reissued The Lion King on the same day. Three years later, when 20th Century Fox made a move to enter the same lucrative market with Anastasia, Disney rereleased The Little Mermaid on the same day. In 1998, Katzenberg turned the tables on Disney when he moved up the release date of Antz so it hit theaters just before Disney's A Bug's Life.

If all's well that ends well, then the story should end here. DreamWorks' decisive victory with Shrek video sales didn't keep Disney from scoring an equally decisive victory at the box office with Monsters, Inc.

Still, the timing is interesting. A coincidence or not a coincidence? That, my friends, remains the question.

Comments? Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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