The New York Times has recently reported that DreamWorks Animation is currently the lead bidder for iconic cartoon studio Classic Media, which is home to popular franchises such as Casper the Friendly Ghost, He-Man, Where’s Waldo, and others. According to the report, DreamWorks has offered $150+ million for Classic Media, which already puts other smaller bidders out of the picture.
The bid is actually interesting for a number of reasons. First is that DreamWorks’ contract with Paramount is already ending next year, but should Paramount find a way to extend their distribution deal (which they should, as DreamWorks is currently on a roll, with feature films lined up all through 2015), they will be able to get their hands again on Harvey-era Paramount cartoons.
Next is that DreamWorks could have access to a rich treasure trove of properties, such as the UPA and the aforementioned Harvey library, Total Television properties, and even many Rankin-Bass specials including Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Classic Media also has the VeggieTales rights. Getting the VeggieTales franchise is a boon since the vegetable-themed license is very popular these days.
It’s not a foregone conclusion, though – since Classic Media is an appealing acquisition, it would not be a surprise if another company snags it with a larger offer. Certainly, Sony – which is currently interested in reviving old properties – has a deep enough pocket to outbid DreamWorks. Worth noting is the fact that Sony is one of the studios trying to strike a new partnership with DreamWorks once the Paramount deal ends, so they’re probably bound to get a hand on a Classic Media property, one way or the other.