The Financial Times reports that Universal has held talks to sell their 45% stake in Oriental Dreamworks.
Oriental Dreamworks was inherited when Comcast acquired DreamWorks Animation last year. The majority 55% holding is owned by Chinese investment and media group China Media Capital.
The animation studio has produced only one feature movie, “Kung Fu Panda 3.”In March, some 40 animators were laid off. It is believed that other personnel have departed since then.
The Financial Times quoted CMC boss, Li Ruigang, who pointed out strategic differences between the two firms. “I am more focused on just China and less globally, while they want to make films in China for the world. Today the priority of Universal is a theme park in Beijing,” he said.
DreamWorks Animation currently have only one film slated for release. The Himalayan movie, “Everest,” is due out in September 2019. That film is due to be co-produced with Oriental Dreamworks, but funding for the film has not yet been finalized.
“Everest” will tell the story of a girl who tries to bring a yeti from the Himalayas back to Shanghai. The script was written by William Davies (“How to Train Your Dragon”). It will be directed by Tim Johnson (“Home,” “Over The Hedge”) and Todd Wilderman (“Open Season 2”). It will be produced by Suzanne Buirgy (“Home,” “Kung Fu Panda 2”).
Oriental DreamWorks was formed in 2012 by DreamWorks Animation and China Media Capital.