DreamWorks, boosted by success of Jurassic World, 'to split from Disney'

Jurassic World, starring Chris Pratt (centre).
Jurassic World, starring Chris Pratt (centre).PHOTO: UIP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Steven Spielberg's film studio DreamWorks plans to part ways with Disney when their distribution tie-up ends in a year's time, an industry source told AFP on Wednesday.

Trade reports suggest Spielberg is looking to negotiate a new partnership with more favourable terms, boosted by the runaway success of Jurassic World, on which he was executive producer.

Universal - the Hollywood studio behind the blockbuster dinosaur series - is being tipped as Spielberg's likely new home by both The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

According to an industry insider who did not wish to be named, it is too soon to say who will be distributing DreamWorks' production after the Disney deal ends on Aug 16, 2016.

But the source said DreamWorks, which Spielberg helped found in 1994, feels out of step with the Disney model and its focus on big, tentpole films such as new Star Wars installments or Pixar's animated mega hit Inside Out.

Disney's focus - exemplified by the acquisition in recent years of Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar - is firmly on movies that can be spun off into lucrative video games, amusement parks, branded toys and knick-knacks.

DreamWorks meanwhile has been focusing on smaller, adult-oriented movies such as The Help (2009) and The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014), with Helen Mirren.

DreamWorks signed a multiple-year distribution contract with Disney in 2009, after splitting from Paramount.

The last movie to be distributed under the deal is expected to be the Spielberg-directed The BFG, adapted from the Roald Dahl novel and slated for release on July 1 next year.

Spielberg's hand was strengthened in Hollywood by Jurassic World - the third-highest grossing film in history, generating more than US$1.6 billion in box office takings.

A sequel is already slated for release in 2018, also starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, and with Spielberg as executive producer.