Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Steven Spielberg‘s DreamWorks production company is in talks with Universal to distribute their motion pictures when the current deal with Disney expires next summer.
The director began his career at Universal, directing episodes of Universal TV shows like Night Gallery and Columbo before making the TV movie Duel and The Sugarland Express, his first feature in 1974. Jaws was released the following year and ignited the blockbuster era.
His Amblin production company operated out of Universal lot even as he was lured away by former Disney exec Jeffrey Katzenberg and record producer David Geffen to form DreamWorks SKG in 1994. Their plans included building a new studio lot in Playa Vista area of Los Angeles, which was met with strong local opposition and cancelled as money dried up. The company’s production offices remained at Universal. While Spielberg spearheaded the live action arm, Kaztenberg focused on DreamWorks Animation, which became a separate operation in 2004.
According to the report, Spielberg was a “hands on” producer in Universal’s recent Jurassic World and “he also is key on potential reboots of other Universal franchises such as Jaws and Back to the Future.” The mention of the former surprises me as Spielberg has said as recently as his 2011 Comic-Con appearance that he didn’t “want to give them any more ideas” for Jaws sequels. Granted, a new financial arrangement could change that sentiment.
Both studios declined to comment on the report, but a Universal source tells THR, “the studio would welcome the chance to be DreamWorks’ distribution partner.”