Dreamworks, the story of the other Pixar

The origins of DreamWorks were not just animation

As we mentioned at the beginning, animation was just one of the arms of DreamWorks, but not the only one. The idea of ​​creating a large studio that would mix live action and animation it hadn’t been done in decades due to sky-high costs. Still, the experience of Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen in the sector was enough for the project to become a success.

During the rest of the 90s, DreamWorks did not stand out especially for its animated films, but for productions such as Friendship (1997), Saving Private Ryan (1998) or American Beauty (1999). The latter took five statuettes at the Oscars, including Best Picture.

Parallel to the development of these films, DreamWorks allied with Pacific Data Images, a company that created small animated shorts for advertising using computers. In 1998, the studio released Antz, which is known as the second film in history made entirely by computer. He was a long way from toy storybut it was the basis of a rivalry that especially benefited us viewers.

antz vs bugs

And it is that Antz it was a stab in the back by Jeffrey Katzenberg towards his former Disney colleagues and especially to his friend John Lasseter, who, in confidence, had told him about the project of A Bugs Life (what in Spain we knew as Bugs, a miniature adventure). Lasseter felt highly betrayed by Katzenberg, since he had plagiarized his idea. Later, the DreamWorks would have a heated discussion with Steve Jobs, with Lasseter himself and with Michael Eisner, which was the reason why Katzenberg left Disney.

From here, there would be a great rivalry between both studios. Eisner decided that Bugs would be released the same day the prince of egypt, which was to be DreamWorks’ first animated film. Spielberg’s attacked anticipating the premiere of Antz, and finally, Pixar again moved the date of its animated film so that it was the public who decided the best. Finally, Bugs ended up raising more than double and won the first stake.

Shrek, his great success

shrek dreamworks

The great success of DreamWorks would come with Shrek in 2001. The tension with Pixar was still there, but the ogre would end up showing that DreamWorks I was talented enough to stand out without the need to plagiarize no production.

The characters of Shrek they were full of personality, they had a background and the dialogues were for reflection. He too humor it was introduced in a very clever way, turning the feature film into a work that delighted both children and adults. And not only that. It also served to attack Disneyridiculing their stories of princesses and fairies. SA monsters. It would end up that same year raising a little more money at the box office, but the real victory for DreamWorks came at the Oscars, where it would win the award for best animated film, beating Pixar and his company of scares.

Replicating success, but finding new problems

shrek 2

After the bombing of Shrek, the studio opened in 2002 Spirit and in 2003 Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas while preparing the sequel to Shrek.

Spirit had a good box office, but the film of Sinbad was a complete failure where they lost money. Behind this, DreamWorks would abandon traditional animation and would focus exclusively on computer animation.

over the pothole, Shrek 2 would gross in 2004 more than 900 million dollars, becoming the biggest success to date of the studio.

Separation from DreamWorks

dreamworks viacom

During this time, the company continued to produce films. However, they made a error that would be very expensive. They overestimated the DVD sales of Shrek 2, which caused them to lose a huge amount of money. This forced the group to establish a business restructuring when he was barely a decade old. The animation group remained under the name DreamWorks Animation, and was incorporated as an independent company led by Jeffrey Katzenberg. On the other hand, DreamWorks SKG was bought by Viacom, Paramount matrix. SKG would be led by Spielberg, who even had trouble continuing to use DreamWorks logos. Spielberg’s soap opera would not end there. In 2008, Geffen managed to become independent from the Viacom group, and Spielberg would end up financing his films with money from Walt Disney Studios. The twists and turns of life.

The DreamWorks Animation era

We do not know what would have become of this group if it had remained united. As of 2005, DreamWorks Animation would stay as an independent company and probably began to lose notoriety to Pixar from this point on.


The first great success of this era was Madagascar (2005), which had a very good collection despite not having finished liking everyone. In 2008 the second part would arrive, raising even more money and with much more positive reviews. And, against all odds, the third part was the best rated of all. Critics considered that the narrative of Madagascar 3 (2012) was superior to that of its predecessors. In addition, it had a quite remarkable technique and visual improvement.

Taking advantage of the slipstream, the studio would even make a spin off of this franchise: The Penguins of Madagascar (2014).

More Shrek

shrek 4

It would have been absurd not to continue exploiting the DreamWorks most successful formula. Shrek the Third it premiered in 2007. Following a very continuous path, it would become the second highest-grossing production of the studio.

The fourth installment arrived in 2010, shrek forever, which would gross slightly less than its predecessor. In return, it would receive very positive reviews, which encouraged the studio to release a spin-off of The cat with bootsthus closing the forecast of five films that Katzenberg established after the boom of the original film in 2001.

Kung Fu Panda

Kung Fu Panda

DreamWorks didn’t do too badly in 2008 with the panda Po, which swept theaters even in China. This was because the creators spent an enormous amount of time on study culture to not make mistakes and reflect the art of the Asian country. The method came to such an extent that producers and creatives even took Kung-Fu classes to carry out the animations to the letter.

The second installment was released in 2011, raising more and reaping best reviews. The same would not happen with the third installment, which was also a success, but fell back compared to its predecessor both at a narrative level and in sales.

How to Train Your Dragon

This new franchise adapted the Cressida Cowell novels and it was taken to theaters in 2010. It had a very good animation design and the quality of the story and the dialogues evoked the depth of that 2001 Shrek that he liked so much. It had a good collection, but Pixar would snatch the Oscar for Best Animated Feature with toy Story 3. DreamWorks kept trying, but Pixar kept overshadowing it with its gooseneck.

In 2014, the second part changed things a bit. She was considered the best sequel in DreamWorks history —yes, above Shrek 2— and would win the Golden Globe 2015 for best animated film. The Oscar, however, would take him big hero 6 How to train your Dragon 2 It had an even more mature story, an original dubbing with actors of the stature of Cate Blanchett and also very careful animation.

The third installment arrived in early 2019, also amassing some success, although not as much as the previous film.

boss baby

The latest franchise created by DreamWorks has been The Boss Babyreleased in 2017 and with a sequel in 2021: The Boss Baby 2: Family Business.

This recent addition is a creation of American artists who come from the comedy and that they have opted for a different line for DreamWorks, with much more satire, but also with moments of reflection for the whole family without ruling out the most thuggish humor. This franchise has even made its way to Netflix in the form of a TV series.

other productions

megamind dreamworks

Also during this second stage, DreamWorks has produced a good number of feature films that have not had sequels. DreamWorks would end up quickly finding the successful formula with Madagascar, but during those same years they premiered Invading neighbors (2006), which came out quite well and bee-movie (2007), which didn’t quite catch on.

Monsters vs Aliens would arrive in 2009 as a fully 3D movie in 2009 and in 2010 it would mega mind also with the same IMAX technology.

Subsequently, DreamWorks has been successful, but they have not been as famous as in other times. It is the case of The Croods or trollsinstallments that the studio is trying to work to bring them to the levels of Madagascar or Kung Fu Panda.

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