Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks will break away from Disney following the release of The BFG, according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter. Spielberg’s deal with Disney, first struck in 2009, is set to expire in August 2016.
Reports suggest that Spielberg will return to Universal, where he’s kept his offices even as Disney has distributed DreamWorks films. Spielberg is said to have been very hands-on with Universal’s blockbuster Jurassic World, and considered to be integral to the future of the franchise. Source’s cited in the report say that Universal “would welcome the chance to be DreamWorks’ distribution partner,” but that no deal is in place at this time.
DreamWorks currently has several films in or near production, including the Ghost in the Shell movie starring Scarlett Johansson.
Sources say DreamWorks’ relationship with Disney has been tense from the start. The deal was negotiating with then Disney chairman Dick Cook, who promised that Disney would invest in DreamWorks’ films, and that DreamWorks would be invited to participate in other Disney projects. Cook was ousted soon after the deal was made, and CEO Bob Iger went forward with fully financing Disney movies.