Well, it looks like the honeymoon is over. Despite many of Hollywood’s biggest studios seemingly warming up to the idea of establishing operations in China in the recent years, it looks like Universal wants out. According to a recent report from The Financial Times, the studio is seeking to sell its 45% stake in the venture that it received upon Comcast’s acquisition of DreamWorks Animation back in 2016. The majority 55% holding is owned by Chinese investment and media group China Media Capital. This is not to say that other western studios aren’t interested, because Warner Bros. Is reportedly in talks to acquire the shares that Universal doesn’t want.
The Financial Times’ report posits that Universal and CMC had some degree of falling out as a result of a disagreement over strategy at the animation company and that it could be scaled down. Universal, for its part, wasn’t in any trouble because they have the means to produce their own animated content, thanks to a healthy relationship with Illumination Studio. CMC head Li Ruigang seems to be positive about the status of their relationship with Universal: “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.