Cash Cow Franchise: Up until its acquisition by Comcast/NBCUniveral, DWA had to develop every successful property into one of these since it was an independent company specializing in high-budget animated films and hounded by unsatisfied stockholders. For instance the Shrek series has made over $2 billion from the four movies alone (and that's not counting merchandising), while Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, and How to Train Your Dragon are becoming the company's new bedrock ones. When an animated film under-performs then it's cause for major concern and it makes front page headlines, whereas if the same thing happens to Disney Animation, Pixar, or Blue Sky (who are all owned by larger companies) then it's not treated as nearly that big of a deal (justified, given Disney makes much more revenue and income than DWA).
Old Shame: After Shrek became a hit, DreamWorks more or less apologized for their 2D films and have buried them in their history, though they've garnered a cult following for non-Disney enthusiasts since then. For the CGI, their short-lived prime-time sitcom Father of the Pride has basically vanished from the face of the earth.
Start My Own: Jeff Katzenberg started up the studio after Disney repeatedly rejected his push for more adult-friendly content, specifically the infamous "Black Friday" version of Toy Story (this version of the film, which was a bit Darker and Edgier in what some have said was an alleged attempt to spite Katzenberg, nearly derailed the projectas a whole). Katzenberg had attempted to get The Prince of Egypt going at Disney, but for obvious reasons (his falling out with Eisner, Disney never really being good with content from the Bible), it didn't go anywhere until DreamWorks was founded.
John Kricfalusi was nearly hired to work for them, but after meeting the executives, who wanted him to conform to the studio's style, he backed out. Kricfalusi highlighted this event in his blog.
There are dozens of whole films that were never made. These include Punk Farmnote based on a children's book and Truckersnote based on a children's trilogy written by Terry Pratchett.
In the mid-2000s, they came this close to creating a property based on Miss Chevious, a character from an extremely obscure 80s black-and-white comic (Tales From The Aniverse). Given DreamWorks' muscle, it could easily have lifted a 6-issue furry comic from the 80s to prominence, but apparently someone high up the ladder didn't understand the treatment written by the comic's creator.
Before DreamWorks Animation was ultimately acquired by NBCUniversal in 2016, there were multiple companies who tried to purchase the studio prior:
Japanese media giant SoftBank had plans to purchase DreamWorks Animation in 2014, but for whatever reason the deal fell through, instead investing in Legendary Pictures, which ironically had another ex-Walt Disney Studios chairman, Dick Cook, on their board.
Hasbro considered merging with DreamWorks Animation in 2014 as well, but quickly pulled out after Hasbro's stock lost $300 million in value the day after the announcement and because DWA's high asking price of $35 per share when their current value was considerably less and falling was too much for themnote Funnily enough, Comcast paid $41 per share when they successfully sealed the deal with DWA two years later. Disney also wasn't terribly wild about the idea after they had sealed their own deal with Hasbro a month priornote Ironically, rumors of Disney buying Hasbro circulated prior to these deals; Hasbro never discussed the merger with them, although to be fair, the details of the intended merger were from a letter that someone leaked to the press, meaning there may have been different plans.
An SEC filing published after the NBCUniversal agreement confirmed the talks between the two (with Hasbro being identified as "Company B") were indeed being made. It turned out that the asking price from DWA and Disney's intervention had little to do with the merger falling apart, and that the talks being reported publicly on news sites shot the merger down because it violated a confidentiality agreement the two parties signednote Ironic, since a similar agreement was signed between DWA and Comcast during their talks. Perhaps the talks were so stable compared to Hasbro's talks that there was no reason to pull back.
The last move before the sale to Comcast was Katzenberg talking with Chinese investor PAG Asia to return the company to being private with Katzenberg still at the wheel. The deal was not all that much, however, and Comcast/Universal immediately trumped the offer.