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Universal agrees to distribute Steven Spielberg's movies from new studio

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As has been widely expected, Steven Spielberg and Universal Pictures announced early today that Universal will become the distributor for movies produced by a new studio formed by Spielberg and partner Stacey Snider.

Under the deal, which will take effect in late 2009, Universal will distribute about six films a year produced by the new studio backed by India's Reliance ADA Group.Ctlogo

The expected move comes shortly after DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures announced a separation agreement following their failed three-year corporate union. Under that arrangement, Paramount will continue to distribute some DreamWorks productions and has an option to co-finance and co-distribute dozens of other movies at Spielberg’s new company.

The distribution pact with Universal marks a homecoming for Spielberg, who began his career at the studio decades ago with such early hits as “Jaws” and “E.T. the Extraterrestrial” and never gave up his offices on the lot, even after selling DreamWorks to Paramount parent Viacom Inc. in 2006. When Spielberg founded DreamWorks with David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg in 1994, they retained Universal as the international distributor of DreamWorks' movies and worldwide distributor of its home videos. Snider is also a former chairman of Universal Pictures.

This time around, Universal will distribute DreamWorks movies and DVDs in the U.S. and Canada as well as the rest of the world.

--Claudia Eller

 
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