Producers Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall Near Deal to Move From Sony to DreamWorks (Exclusive)

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Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall

The duo behind "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Schindler's List" are reuniting with Steven Spielberg after failing to get a movie greenlit at Sony.

In a move that is both logical and somewhat surprising, the Kennedy/Marshall production company has left Sony Pictures and is negotiating a first-look deal with DreamWorks.

The company headed by prolific producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall departs Sony after two years without a greenlight from the studio. The move to DreamWorks reunites the husband-and-wife team with their longtime associates, Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks CEO Stacey Snider.

“It’s nice to be home again,” Marshall tells The Hollywood Reporter.

What’s unexpected is that DreamWorks, which has been operating under tight financial constraints, is making a production deal. In a recent interview, Snider told THR that the company’s chief financial backer, India’s Reliance, is giving DreamWorks “real” and “absolute” support. But she acknowledged that the company has cut back on buying scripts, describing that as “prudent management.”

Given Kennedy/Marshall’s track record, the move also is a sign of the difficult times facing film producers. Though many projects were offered, Marshall acknowledges, “We didn’t bring them a movie they wanted to make.”

Kennedy is the producer on Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse, which will be released on Dec. 25. She is also producing his next film, Lincoln, set for a December 2012 release, and she is likely to take on the director's Robopocalypse. Marshall is working on The Bourne Legacy for Universal, which is set to hit theaters in August 2012.

Kennedy and Marshall have worked with Spielberg for decades on such signature films as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List.

Twitter: @KimMasters