Entertainment One to Partner on Steven Spielberg's New DreamWorks (Exclusive)

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Steven Spielberg

The media giant will join Participant Media as investors in Spielberg's company, timed to a new distribution deal between DreamWorks and Universal that could be announced by Thanksgiving.

The stable of partners looking to help revitalize Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks has grown to include Canadian-based media giant Entertainment One, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

EOne will join Participant Media and DreamWorks' stakeholder Reliance Entertainment in providing DreamWorks with an equity infusion. The arrangement is expected to be revealed around the same time that a new distribution deal between DreamWorks and Universal is officially announced, possibly by Thanksgiving.

THR first reported in May that Jeff Skoll's Participant Media could invest as much as $200 million in DreamWorks. It wasn't clear at that time whether India's Reliance would continue to invest in Spielberg's venture, but insiders now say that is indeed the case.

EOne, which produces and acquires television and film content, has major distribution operations in Canada, the U.K., Spain, Benelux and Australia/New Zealand. It's unclear as to whether the company would get distribution rights to DreamWorks' titles in any of those territories.

Last year, former top DreamWorks executive Steve Bertram joined eOne as president of its global film group. He's based in Los Angeles.

The new distribution deal between DreamWorks and Universal could take effect as early as Jan. 1, even though DreamWorks' existing deal with Disney doesn't expire until August 2016, say sources.

That means Universal, and not Disney, will likely release DreamWorks' high-profile film adaptation of bestselling novel The Girl on the Train. Other DreamWorks titles that will move from Disney to Universal include Ghost in the Shell, starring Scarlett Johansson and set to hit theaters March 31, 2017. The BFG, directed by Spielberg, remains a Disney title since the studio is co-financing the family film (it is being produced via Spielberg's Amblin label and not DreamWorks).

The deal with Universal is a symbolic homecoming of sorts for Spielberg, who has long maintained his offices on the studio's lot even as DreamWorks distributed its films through Paramount and then Disney. It also comes on the heels of the blockbuster success of Universal's Jurassic World. Spielberg, 68, was a hands-on producer on the tentpole and his involvement is key to future installments. Spielberg and director Colin Trevorrow are set to work on the sequel, which will hit theaters June 22, 2018. He also is key on potential reboots of other Universal franchises such as Jaws and Back to the Future

DreamWorks declined comment, while eOne could not be immediately reached.

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