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DreamWorks Hops to Disney, Universal Abandons Deal

Multiple outlets are reporting that DreamWorks and Disney are in the final stages of a deal for Disney to distribute DreamWorks' films, and that Universal is out of the picture.

Universal released a statement Friday, saying "Universal Pictures has ended discussions with DreamWorks for a distribution agreement. Over the past several weeks DreamWorks has demanded material changes to previously agreed upon terms. It is clear that DreamWorks' needs and Universal's business interests are no longer in alignment. We wish them luck in their pursuit of funding and distribution of their future endeavors."

Nikki Finke's DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD DAILY reports that the DreamWorks/Disney deal is done and will be officially announced on Monday. DreamWorks' $500 million deal with Indian financiers Reliant was about to fall through if DreamWorks didn't come up with $100 million immediately and $150 million later. Co-heads Stacey Snider and Steven Spielberg wanted to change the Universal deal to include straight distribution and a $250 million investment, while the studio was reluctant to put up even $100 million.

DreamWorks has not put out official comment, but will do so on Monday in a press release with Disney. Finke also reports that Disney is now seriously considering unloading Miramax, the specialty unit once owned by Harvey and Bob Weinstein.

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