Saturday, April 20, 2013

Branching Out

Jeffrey Katzenberg, in addition to making a bit more money, is branching out.

DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg was on hand in Beijing Friday for a press event to announce the Oriental DreamWorks project Tibet Code.

Based on a wildly popular series of books in China, Tibet chronicles the adventures of two men on the hunt for Buddhist treasures. There are currently eight books in the series, which has been compared to the Harry Potter franchise. ...

This live-action movie brings Jeffrey full circle.

Twenty-eight years ago he came to Disney from Paramount and was a full-steam-ahead live-action guy, who knew very little about animation.

I remember a Disney old-timer at the time (one who didn't like him) saying: "Katzenberg asked about outtakes for the movie*." Outtakes!? We don't have outtakes in animation!"

But that was then. Three decades on, Jeffrey has long-since learned how animated features are made, and runs an animation studio that's been turning out cartoon hits (along with some non-hits) for seventeen years. And before that, there was a decade of revitalizing hand-drawn animated features at Disney.

But what I find interesting here is that Mr. Katzenberg is returning to his live-action roots, to when he was a brash up-and-comer helping to create box office magic at Paramount. So the question arises: is Jeffrey K. broadening the reach of DreamWorks Animation? Doing what Disney did in the forties and fifties, broadening its slate of animated movies so it includes live-action?

It won't be long before we find out what the answer is.

* This was in the days of "The Black Cauldron."


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