The following release just came over the PRNewswire:
“DreamWorks Animation SKG (NYSE: DWA) and Aardman Animations, Ltd. today announced that they will no longer continue their exclusive partnership in creating animated films. Together the two companies have collaborated on three feature films: Chicken Run (2000), Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005), and Flushed Away (2006).
“I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with Peter Lord, David Sproxton, Nick Park and the Aardman team for almost ten years and highly respect their storytelling and filmmaking talents,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive officer of DreamWorks Animation. “I am proud of the work we have created together and also greatly admire Aardman’s passion and expertise for stop motion filmmaking and brilliant storytelling.”
Mr. Katzenberg continued: “Today, DreamWorks Animation is focused on producing two computer animated movies per year, with a full film slate laid out into 2010. While I will always be a fan and an admirer of Aardman’s work, our different business goals no longer support each other.”
The multi-picture deal between the two companies began in 1999 as an exclusive arrangement under which Aardman would produce and deliver up to five pictures to DreamWorks Animation. The companies’ three collaborations were met with critical acclaim and received numerous awards, including a 2005 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature for Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. With no new co-productions in development and DreamWorks Animation’s slate announced for the next several years, DreamWorks Animation and Aardman decided to end the multi-picture deal.
“We’ve enjoyed a hugely successful and creative relationship with Jeffrey and DreamWorks Animation,” stated Peter Lord and David Sproxton, co-owners of Aardman Animations, “but both companies are aware that our ambitions have moved apart, and it feels like the right time to move on. Aardman has an ambitious slate of feature film projects in development and we will announce our future production and distribution plans shortly.””