Spielberg to raise $1 billion for DreamWorks

MUMBAI: Steven Spielberg aims to raise over $1billion in third-party financing to recreate DreamWorks as a separate company that reacquires ownership of films.

Spielberg wants to reestablish DreamWorks as a studio that owns the movies it makes. Currently, DreamWorks is a unit of Paramount Pictures, a subsidiary of media conglomerate Viacom. DreamWorks was acquired by Paramount in 2005.

Earlier, Spielberg was supposed to grant the distribution rights to Universal who lost the acquisition in 2005. But on the recommendation of his advisers, Spielberg will allow a bidding effort among studios for the acquisition of distribution rights of future DreamWorks movies.

From 1 May Spielberg‘s personal contract with Paramount allowed him to discuss potential offers for his services from rival studios. And since then Spielberg and DreamWorks chairman David Geffen and attorney Skip Brittenham have held several meetings with studio suitors and financiers.

Major studios include Universal, Disney and Fox. Spielberg‘s contract is valid until 2010 but he can terminate it early at year‘s end. Snider and Geffen have similar clauses in their deals with Paramount. However, Paramount owns "Transformers" and other films produced by DreamWorks while it was housed at the studio which could lead to conflicts regarding rights between Spielberg and Paramount.

DreamWorks-produced movies have helped fill distribution pipelines at Paramount. The loss of such content would put severe demands on remaining production executives.

But this summer, Paramount has been a distributor in high-profile releases, such as the Lucasfilm-produced Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the Marvel-produced Iron Man and the DreamWorks Animation-produced Kung Fu Panda.

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