Uni in Dream Deal to 201013 Nov, 2003 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Vivendi Universal Entertainment's (VUE) announcement that it had extended through October 2010 an exclusive worldwide distribution deal for all DreamWorks SKG theatrical and home video product meant more than window dressing to distribution arm Universal Studios Home Video (USHV).
Originally formed in 1995, and extended in 2001 through 2006, failure by VUE to secure the distribution deal until the end of the decade with DreamWorks could have been costly to USHV.
DreamWorks product accounted for more than 26 percent ($366 million) of consumer rental spending on Universal-distibuted titles and slightly less than 26 percent ($336 million) of Universal's $1.3 billion home video sales, according to Video Store Magazine market research.
Recent DreamWorks home video releases include Minority Report, Road to Perdition, The Ring, Shrek, Almost Famous, The Contender and American Beauty. The partnership is releasing Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas Nov. 18.
Ron Meyer, president and CFO of VUE, characterized the partnership with DreamWorks — which included theatrical co-productions of Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, Seabiscuit and next month's Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat — as a “tremendous mutual success.”
A VUE spokesperson, who would not disclose financial terms of the agreement, denied that DreamWorks was shopping future distribution pacts elsewhere and said the extension created a sense of “continuity” between the two companies.
“I don't think that was ever in question,” said the spokesperson. “It was a matter of making sure that all the people [and] deals we really value remain in place.”
A DreamWorks representative declined comment.