[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/DreamWorks_Animation_SKG_logo.jpg]]

The studio that managed to finally destroy the long-held perception that [[AllAnimationIsDisney all feature film animation is Disney]].

[=DreamWorks=] Animation's story begins with Jeffrey Katzenberg -- one of the architects of the [[TheRenaissanceAgeOfAnimation Disney Renaissance]] -- getting fired from Creator/{{Disney}}[[note]]As to exactly ''why'' he was fired... it was well known that he and Disney's then-CEO Michael Eisner did ''NOT'' get along; the final straw was when Eisner refused to promote him to the position of President of Disney that was vacated by the death of Frank Wells in a helicopter crash in 1994. Also, it's generally accepted that Katzenberg was the one who authorized the marketing team for ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' to violate Creator/RobinWilliams's contract, a move which hurt Disney in industry circles[[/note]], and co-founding Creator/DreamWorks with Creator/StevenSpielberg and David Geffen. Katzenberg used his portion of the studio to create a new animation subsidiary, merging with animation studio and partner Pacific Data Images (PDI)[[note]]a company that got their start doing AdBumpers for stations like {{ABC}}, {{CBS}}, {{HBO}}, {{NBC}} and others and did the sequences for the Halloween episode of ''TheSimpsons'' where Homer hides behind a bookcase that takes him into a computer-generated 3D world[[/note]]. After Spielberg's [[Creator/{{Amblimation}} Amblin Animation]] shut down, most of its animators moved to [=DreamWorks=].

Katzenberg's ultimate goal was to compete directly with his old bosses on their home turf: feature animation. To that end, DWA came roaring out of the gate in 1998 with ''WesternAnimation/ThePrinceOfEgypt'', an animated epic telling the story of Moses and the Exodus -- similar to but distinct from Cecil B [=DeMille=]'s ''Film/TheTenCommandments''. A fine article about the environment in which ''Prince'' was made can be read [[http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,290103,00.html here]]. ''Prince'' performed extremely well at the box office, though still below Disney's films from that decade. The same year, DWA released the AllCGICartoon ''WesternAnimation/{{Antz}}'', a blatant FollowTheLeader of Creator/{{Pixar}}'s ''WesternAnimation/ABugsLife'' although ''Antz'' actually premiered first. More on that film and its repercussions further down this page.

In addition to its in-house films, DWA also benefited from a partnership with Creator/AardmanAnimations, with Nick Park creating well-received stop-motion films like ''WesternAnimation/ChickenRun'' and ''WesternAnimation/TheCurseOfTheWereRabbit''.

Although ''Prince of Egypt'' had been a success, DWA's follow-up traditionally-animated films met with diminishing returns. ''WesternAnimation/TheRoadToElDorado'' failed to recoup its budget (to date the ''only'' DWA film not to do so), and although ''WesternAnimation/SpiritStallionOfTheCimarron'' & ''WesternAnimation/SinbadLegendOfTheSevenSeas'' both turned profits, they suffered from poor critical reviews in part because of typical North American AllAnimationIsDisney prejudice -- as well as their returns looking absolutely pathetic on the heels of ''Shrek''. 2003's ''Sinbad'' in particular only made back its budget upon international release and performed poorly enough with critics to cause DWA to stop traditional animation completely.[[note]] Incidentally, ''Sinbad'' isn't completely to blame here. 2D animation in general was going the way of the dodo at this point. Disney themselves had had a string of mediocre to bad 2D films and -- combined with America's increasing acceptance of and preference for CGI due to Pixar's efforts -- shuttered their 2D feature animation operations less than a year after DWA did (Disney would restart traditional animation in 2009). [[Creator/TwentiethCenturyFox Fox]] -- which also tried to compete with Disney in the 90's, took a financial bath with Creator/DonBluth's ''WesternAnimation/TitanAE'' in 2000 and shut down their animation studio as a result. Creator/WarnerBros, meanwhile, faced TroubledProduction after TroubledProduction and flop after flop; they stopped their forays into feature animation at the same time DWA and Disney went all-CGI and now only produce work for television (of their films, only ''WesternAnimation/TheIronGiant'' was VindicatedByCable).[[/note]]

Computer animation was another story entirely. ''WesternAnimation/{{Antz}}'' proved a surprisingly big hit with comparable critical acclaim to Pixar's ''WesternAnimation/ABugsLife'', and it eventually showed DWA the path they would take to success. The premiere of ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}}'' in 2001 changed the animation game completely. Using Katzenberg's penchant for [[StuntCasting rampant celebrity casting]] and modelling the characters from their movies [[InkSuitActor after the actors voicing them]] to the max, this film finally put DWA on the map as a legitimate competitor in the feature film market, permanently opening the door Creator/{{Disney}} largely held shut for decades. It's a fact made undeniable with this film winning the first AcademyAward for Best Feature Animated Film.

Post-''Shrek 2'', however, DWA hit something of a DorkAge -- an impressive feat for a studio less than a decade old. In addition to the increasingly blatant StuntCasting, their films became notorious for being simply conduits for pop-culture references and toilet humor (and predictable plots). With the notable exception of 2006's ''WesternAnimation/OverTheHedge'', nearly every film DWA put out in the middle of the 2000's was savaged by critics -- though they still performed well at the box office (usually beating contemporary Disney CGI films). ''WesternAnimation/SharkTale'' holds the distinction of being the worst-reviewed [=DreamWorks=] animated film. ''WesternAnimation/{{Madagascar}}'' generally got mediocre reviews and, though it made a healthy enough profit to spawn two sequels, did not have as much financial success as the first two ''Shrek'' films. The studio arguably hit its [[DarkestHour nadir]] in 2007 with ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}} the Third'' and ''WesternAnimation/BeeMovie'' disappointing at least critically, and [[Creator/AardmanAnimations Aardman]] breaking away from [=DreamWorks=] after the release of ''WesternAnimation/FlushedAway''.

Beginning in 2008 however, the studio [[GrowingTheBeard grew its beard]] with a new crop of films arising with an greater focus on story, characters, and quality. So far, this new direction has been paying off handsomely in the box office worldwide. For instance, not only was the classic ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda'' released, but ''WesternAnimation/{{Madagascar}} Escape 2 Africa'' marked the transition as that franchise moved from a hastily pre-emptive strike against Creator/{{Disney}}'s ''WesternAnimation/TheWild'' to become a gradually improving series with its own voice.

Originally arch-rivals with [[Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon Disney]] in [[TheNineties the 1990s]], they became arch-rivals with Creator/{{Pixar}} in [[TurnOfTheMillennium the 2000s]], and now they're kind-of sort-of arch-rivals with both studios in [[TheNewTens the 2010s]]. Disney alum Jeffrey Katzenberg has, of 2009, produced more animated films in his studio alone than Creator/WaltDisney did when he was alive! While the quality of the films have been more inconsistent than Disney, the best of the bunch manage to reach for Disney and Pixar quality (with ''WesternAnimation/HowToTrainYourDragon'' sharing a director team with ''LiloAndStitch''). In fact, in 2011, DWA ''exceeded'' them in critical reception with ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda2'' ([[RottenTomatoes RT]] 81%) and ''WesternAnimation/PussInBoots'' (RT 84%) considered far and away superior films to Pixar's ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}} 2'' (RT 39%) and both were nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar while the Pixar film was shut out. Furthermore, ''KFP 2'' outgrossed ''Cars 2'' in the box office worldwide. In short, Katzenberg's dream has come true.

To bolster the company's revenues with meat and potatoes stuff, DWA has acquired Classic Media, whose library contains rights to many classic cartoons, including most of the Creator/{{Filmation}} library (e.g. ''WesternAnimation/FatAlbertAndTheCosbyKids'' and ''[[WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe]]''), the Gold Key properties that aren't owned by Random House, most of the old FamousStudios/Paramount characters, including the properties acquired by Creator/HarveyComics like ''WesternAnimation/CasperTheFriendlyGhost'' with their original ones like ''ComicBook/RichieRich'', the Creator/RankinBass christmas specials, and JayWard's library, including ''WesternAnimation/RockyAndBullwinkle'', among others.

On the business side, the company's distribution contract with Paramount was not renewed at the end of 2012 as that company's getting back into animation itself after the success of ''WesternAnimation/{{Rango}}'' while DWA will be going to Creator/TwentiethCenturyFox as its distributor from 2013 on, which will mean a balancing act with Creator/BlueSkyStudios' own animated films. Considering that DA has planned 12 films in four years, that will be a quite a scheduling challenge. Even moreso due to how they laid off 25% of their worldwide staff at the end of 2012 after ''Rise Of The Guardians'' failed to do well.

However, in 2013 ''WesternAnimation/TheCroods'' proved a big sustained worldwide hit (with some decent critical reception), and the studio scored a great exclusive big time content deal with {{Netflix}} to help earn a steadier income so they don't have risk their solvency on primarily feature films. Unfortunately the studios next two films, ''WesternAnimation/{{Turbo}}'' and ''WesternAnimation/MrPeabodyAndSherman'', were box office disappointments despite having good critical reception (and generating an Internet-exclusive animated series for the former). Currently, the highly promising ''HowToTrainYourDragon2'' has already surpassed the total grosses of both ''Turbo'' and ''Mr. Peabody & Sherman'', however its performance has not been up to the studio's expectations and has resulted in [[http://www.cartoonbrew.com/business/dreamworks-lays-off-dozens-of-employees-as-dragons-2-continues-to-underperform-100957.html between 40-50 employee lay-offs]].

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!!List of subsidiaries and acquired franchises owned by [=DreamWorks=] Animation:
* PDI
* Oriental [=DreamWorks=] (45%)
* [=DreamWorks=] Classics
* Portley Ltd
* Troll Dolls (Except in Scandanavia)
* AwesomenessTV
* Chapman Entertainment
* Felix The Cat
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!![=DreamWorks=]' filmography:
[[index]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Antz}}'' (1998)
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePrinceOfEgypt'' (1998)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheRoadToElDorado'' (2000)
* ''WesternAnimation/ChickenRun'' (with Creator/AardmanAnimations; 2000)
* ''WesternAnimation/JosephKingOfDreams'' (2000)
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}}'' (2001)
* ''WesternAnimation/SpiritStallionOfTheCimarron'' (2002)
* ''WesternAnimation/SinbadLegendOfTheSevenSeas'' (2003)
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek 2}}'' (2004)
* ''WesternAnimation/SharkTale'' (2004)
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Madagascar}}'' (2005)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheCurseOfTheWereRabbit'' (with Aardman Animations; 2005)
* ''WesternAnimation/OverTheHedge'' (2006)
* ''WesternAnimation/FlushedAway'' (with Aardman Animations; 2006)
* ''WesternAnimation/ShrekTheThird'' (2007)
* ''WesternAnimation/BeeMovie'' (2007)
* ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda'' (2008)
* ''Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa'' (2008)
* ''WesternAnimation/MonstersVsAliens'' (2009)
* ''WesternAnimation/HowToTrainYourDragon'' (2010)
* ''WesternAnimation/ShrekForeverAfter'' (2010)
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Megamind}}'' (2010)
* ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda2'' (2011)
* ''WesternAnimation/PussInBoots'' (2011)[[note]] The first project by [=DreamWorks=]' [[Creator/MovingPictureCompany Indian studio]], also known for ''WesternAnimation/LEGOTheAdventuresOfClutchPowers''[[/note]]
* ''Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted'' (2012)
* ''[[WesternAnimation/RiseOfTheGuardians Rise of the Guardians]]'' (2012)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheCroods'' (2013)
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Turbo}}'' (2013)
* ''WesternAnimation/MrPeabodyAndSherman'' (2014)
* ''WesternAnimation/HowToTrainYourDragon2'' (2014)
[[/index]]
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!!Films in development:
[[index]]
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePenguinsOfMadagascar'' (2014)
* ''Film/{{Home}}'' (2015)
* ''B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations'' (2015)
* ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda 3'' (2015)
* ''Boss Baby'' (working title) (2016)
* ''WesternAnimation/HowToTrainYourDragon 3'' (2016)
* ''Trolls'' (working title) (2016)
* ''Captain Underpants'' (2017)
* ''Mumbai Musical'' (working title) (2017)
* ''The Croods 2'' (2017)
* ''Larrikins'' (2018)
* ''Madagascar 4'' (working title) (2018)
* ''Puss in Boots 2: Nine Lives & 40 Thieves'' (2018)
[[/index]]
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!!Television work:
[[index]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' "Treehouse of Horror VI" segment "Homer[--[[superscript:3]]--]" (1995; PDI, with Creator/RoughDraftStudios)
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Toonsylvania}}'' (1998)
* ''WesternAnimation/InvasionAmerica'' (1998; with Creator/{{AKOM}})
* ''WesternAnimation/AlienatorsEvolutionContinues'' (with Creator/ColumbiaPictures)
* ''WesternAnimation/FatherOfThePride'' (2004)
* ''WesternAnimation/PenguinsOfMadagascar'' (2009)
* ''WesternAnimation/NeighborsFromHell'' (2010)
* ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPandaLegendsOfAwesomeness'' (2011)
* ''WesternAnimation/DragonsRidersOfBerk'' (2012)
* ''Series/MonstersVsAliens'' (2013)
[[/index]]
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!!Live Action work (Through PDI; either prior or after the merger):
[[index]]
* ''Film/AIArtificialIntelligence''
* ''Film/AngelsInTheOutfield''
* ''The Arrival''
* ''Film/BatmanReturns''
** ''Film/BatmanForever''
** ''Film/BatmanAndRobin''
* ''Film/{{Broken Arrow|1996}}''
* ''Film/CarlitosWay''
* ''Film/{{Cliffhanger}}''
* ''Film/DoubleDragon''
* ''Film/{{Eraser}}''
* ''Film/{{Evolution}}''
* ''Film/ExecutiveDecision''
* ''Film/FreddysDeadTheFinalNightmare'' (Dream Demon Animation)
* ''Film/HeartAndSouls''
* ''Series/TheJimHensonHour''
* ''Film/TheMexican''
* The videos for Music/MichaelJackson's ''Black or White'' & ''Ghosts''
* ''Film/MinorityReport''
* ''Film/NaturalBornKillers''
* ''Film/TheRiverWild''
* ''Film/RoboCop3''
* ''Film/RookieOfTheYear''
* ''Film/StarTrekVITheUndiscoveredCountry''
* ''Film/{{Supernova}}''
* ''Film/Terminator2JudgementDay''
* ''Film/TrueLies''
* ''Film/{{Toys}}''
[[/index]]
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!![=DreamWorks=] Classics properties:
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Bravestarr}}''
* ''WesternAnimation/FatAlbertAndTheCosbyKids'' (under license from Creator/BillCosby)
* ''WesternAnimation/FelixTheCat''
* ''WesternAnimation/FilmationsGhostbusters''
* ''WesternAnimation/GeraldMcBoingBoing''
* ''Franchise/{{Godzilla}}'' (select films are under license from Creator/{{Toho}})
* ''WesternAnimation/GuessWithJess''
* ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983'' (series rights under license from Creator/{{Mattel}})
* ''WesternAnimation/MrMagoo''
* ''Series/LambChopsPlayAlong''
* ''Franchise/{{Lassie}}''
* ''ComicStrip/LittleLulu''
* ''Franchise/TheLoneRanger''[[note]][[Film/TheLoneRanger You read that right: Disney had to pay their rival a licensing fee here. The film was so long in development that the first payment happened before Dreamworks purchased Classic Media.]][[/note]]
* ''Noddy''
* ''WesternAnimation/PostmanPat''
* ''WesternAnimation/RogerRamjet''
* ''ComicStrip/RupertBear'' (with Express Newspapers)
* ''Series/TheSecretsOfIsis''
* ''WesternAnimation/SheRaPrincessOfPower'' (series rights under license from Mattel)
* ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'' (TV distribution)
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Underdog}}''
* ''Anime/{{Voltron}}'' (under license from Creator/WorldEventsProductions)
* Bullwinkle Studios properties (with Jay Ward Productions):
** ''WesternAnimation/RockyAndBullwinkle''
*** ''WesternAnimation/DudleyDoRight''
** ''WesternAnimation/GeorgeOfTheJungle''
* Creator/HarveyComics properties:
** ''WesternAnimation/BabyHuey''
** ''WesternAnimation/CasperTheFriendlyGhost''
** ''WesternAnimation/LittleAudrey''
** ''ComicBook/RichieRich''
* Creator/GoldKeyComics properties:
** ''DoctorSolar'' (under license from RandomHouse)
** ''ComicBook/MagnusRobotFighter'' (under license from RandomHouse)
** ''ComicBook/{{Turok}}''
* Big Idea properties:
** ''WesternAnimation/ThreeTwoOnePenguins''
** ''WesternAnimation/{{Veggietales}}''
* RankinBass animated specials (program rights only):
** ''WesternAnimation/FrostyTheSnowman''
** ''WesternAnimation/HereComesPeterCottontail''
** ''WesternAnimation/TheLittleDrummerBoy''
** ''WesternAnimation/RudolphTheRedNosedReindeer''
** ''WesternAnimation/SantaClausIsCominToTown''
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!!Tropes for [=DreamWorks=] Animation:

* AmplifiedAnimalAptitude
* [[ArchEnemy Arch-Competitor]]: Creator/{{Pixar}}.
* {{Balloonacy}}: How that kid in the logo gets to the moon.
* BeYourself: Often very important in pushing the main characters before the climax.
* CashCowFranchise: [=DreamWorks=] Animation was unique among animation studios at the time of its creation for being a studio dedicated entirely to turning every single one of their successful films into franchises, rather than (like Creator/{{Disney}} and Creator/{{Pixar}}) creating a series of one-off films. [[FollowTheLeader Every American animation studio]] created since [=DreamWorks=] - Creator/BlueSkyStudios, Sony Pictures Animation, Creator/IlluminationEntertainment, etc. - have picked up this approach, and even Disney and Pixar have loosened their "no theatrical sequels, ever" policy because of it.
** StillbornFranchise: The unfortunate flip side of this approach of course means that every [=DreamWorks=] film that bombs or disappoints at the box office will automatically become this.
* DancePartyEnding: Popularized it in animated films.
* {{Disneyesque}}: All their hand-drawn animated films.
* DreamworksFace: TropeNamer and [[TropeCodifier Codifier]].
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: ''The Prince of Egypt'', ''The Road to El Dorado'', or ''Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron'' -- if nothing else, for being cel animated instead of CGI.
* FollowTheLeader: Earlier on in their history, before they decided to go in a "light fantasy" direction to counter Pixar's more "epic" films, they were notorious for copying the template of whatever Pixar film was being developed at the same time.
* StrictlyFormula: They have also been accused of enforcing this trope in most of their CGI-animated movies during the 2000s: in the beginning, the main character is an outcast (or at the very least is "different"). Throughout the film he becomes a better person. In the end, he saves the day and everyone accepts him for who he is. Add bonus points for pop culture references, fart jokes and the occasional DreamWorksFace, and you're good to go.
* ThrowItIn: a few of the background jokes (like the "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_teapot Utah Teapot]]") in "Homer[--[[superscript:3]]--]" were added in by the company[[note]]the left-handed "X, Y, Z" signpost actually corresponded with PDI's software at the time[[/note]].
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: PDI (pre-Dreamworks) had plans for a feature-length CGI movie as early as ''1985''. It never happened due to money issues.
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