The brainchild of media moguls Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen (hence the SKG at the end of the studio's name), founded in 1994.Located on the Universal Studios lots that had previously housed the offices of Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, DreamWorks came into being as a result of Katzenberg's firing from Disney after a ten-year run as the president of their studio. He approached Spielberg and Geffen about the possibility of setting up a studio in Hollywood where the three of them could create entertainment independently from the larger studios. At its founding, DreamWorks became the first major independent Hollywood studio since the creation of United Artists in 1919.At its peak in the late 1990s/early 2000s, it arguably qualified as a seventh major film studio (having out-grossed Paramount). In 1999, 2000 and 2001, DreamWorks won three consecutive Academy Awards for Best Picture for American Beauty, Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind (the latter two with Universal). DreamWorks has produced or distributed more than ten films with box-office grosses totaling more than $100 million each.However by 2005 the studio was about $400 million in debt, so the founders agreed to a deal to sell DreamWorks to Viacom for $1.6 billion (sans Katzenberg's DreamWorks Animation, which had been spun off into its own company in 2004). The sale was completed in February 2006, and in March of that same year Viacom sold the rights to DreamWorks' pre-2006 film library to Soros Strategic Partners for $900 million (only to purchase it back in 2010 for $400 million).The Paramount-DreamWorks merger wasn't a successful one and after only two years DreamWorks announced its intention to end its partnership with Viacom, and was sold to newly-formed holding company DW II Management in September 2008. That same month India's Reliance ADA Group signed a $1.5 billion deal to purchase a 50% stake in the studio, and Spielberg entered into negotiations with Universal (who had distributed DreamWorks' films prior to the Viacom deal) to produce their films. These negotiations fell through and in February 2009 the studio signed a deal with Disney (through Touchstone Pictures) to handle distribution, in a roundabout way bringing DreamWorks full-circle.DreamWorks operates a television distribution and production division called DreamWorks Television. Originally known for sitcoms like Spin City and Arsenio, it shifted its focus to drama at the Turn of the Millennium with series like Freaks and Geeks and Rescue Me, along with miniseries such as Band of Brothers. In The New Tens the division has almost exclusively focused its attention on cable programming, with series like United States Of Tara, Falling Skies and The Americans. DreamWorks Television also collaborated with DreamWorks Animation prior to the division's 2004 spin-off, with series such as Toonsylvania and Father of the Pride.Between 1996 and 2005, DreamWorks owned a record label called, naturally, DreamWorks Records. The roster included George Michael, Papa Roach, Jimmy Eat World, Eels, Henry Rollins, Elliott Smith, Powerman 5000, Rufus Wainwright, Randy Newman, and Jimmy Fallon, plus a Country Music arm whose main hitmakers were Toby Keith, Randy Travis, and Darryl Worley. Except for their country artists, they were all later acquired by Geffen's old label that he stepped down from. The label's logo was designed by Roy Lichtenstein (it was his last commission).The company also had a video game division in its early years, DreamWorks Interactive, which was sold to Electronic Arts in 1999 not long before the release of its most successful game, Medal of Honor, where it is currently named DICE Los Angeles.Its Vanity Plate (with accompanying music by John Williams) features a young boy sitting on a crescent moon while fishing. Word of God states it was made by some employees of Industrial Light and Magic. Also popularized the marketing term known as "DreamWorks Face".
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