Disney and DreamWorks are reported to be splitting up

Spielberg can take his talents anywhere.
Spielberg can take his talents anywhere.
Image: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta (file photo)
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DreamWorks Studios, the production company co-founded by Steven Spielberg, has distributed its films through the Walt Disney Company since 2009. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the partnership is coming to a close next year, and Spielberg is in talks to take DreamWorks to Universal Studios.

This has not been confirmed by any of the parties involved. But unnamed sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the last DreamWorks movie of Disney’s will be The BFG, which is based on a Roald Dahl book, co-financed by Disney, and directed by Spielberg. It’s set to premiere on July 1, 2016.

The DreamWorks-Disney distribution deal came to fruition in early 2009, only after a DreamWorks-Universal distribution deal, which had been announced four months earlier, fell apart. At the time, DreamWorks films were distributed by Paramount Pictures.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Spielberg has maintained offices at Universal Studios throughout recent years. The legendary director was an executive producer on Universal’s Jurassic World, and is “essential” to the future of the Jurassic franchise—as well possible reboots of his classic hits Jaws and Back to the Future. (Both are Universal franchises.)

DreamWorks Studios, which operates apart from DreamWorks Animation, has needed financing help from outside companies throughout its partnership with Disney. And as The Hollywood Reporter notes, the relationship hasn’t been an entirely smooth one:

Sources say the DreamWorks team felt something of a strain from the start because its deal was negotiated with Dick Cook, then chairman of the studio, with the understanding that Disney would invest in DreamWorks’ films and invite DreamWorks to participate in some of its projects. But soon after the deal was made, Cook was ousted and Disney CEO Bob Iger set a strategy of fully financing Disney movies.

Representatives of Universal Studios, Walt Disney, and DreamWorks were not immediately available to comment on the report, but Quartz will update this post as warranted.