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).
Zigzagged with Toonsylvania. The cast of that show is a mix of professional voice actors (the ones like Billy Westnote Who, ironically, would be this trope and DreamWorks' biggest critic for animated films, even coining the phrase "Stunt Casting", Tom Kenny, Kath Soucie, Cam Clarke, and Jim Cummings) and the celebrities who don't normally do voice-acting (Wayne Knight, Brad Garrett, David Warner, and Matt Frewer).
The Korean dub of the first Madagascar movie got local celebrity Song Kang-ho to voice Alex. However, Jeffrey Katzenberg admitted that he had never seen Song's movies but approved the casting when he got sent a voice real of the actor's previous work.
Channel Hop: As explained on the main page, after splitting with DreamWorks, DWA's films were still distributed by their former parent, until 2006, when Viacom bought DreamWorks and Paramount took over distribution until the end of 2012. After that, DWA moved to 20th Century Fox, who has distributed all films released from 2013 onwards, as well as gaining the rights to the library beforehand when DWA bought out those rights from Paramount. After Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is released, DreamWorks Animation's future releases (as well as the pre-2013 catalog) will exclusively be distributed by new parent Universal.
CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg had been trying to sell the studio off since Rise of the Guardians failed to turn a profit for the studio and ended its nearly decade-long financial winning streak. Around that time, Katzenberg sought to expand the studio's success by making risky acquisitions, most notably the purchase of Classic Media, the Trolls toys and the YouTube service AwesomenessTV. Meanwhile, their next films, such as Turbo, Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Penguins of Madagascar ended up being financial failures despite recouping their budgets, leading to major write-downs. Coupled with failed takeover attempts by Hasbro and Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, a massive reorganization at DreamWorks saw the closure of Pacific Data Images (who comprised of half the studio) and 500 jobs lost, ensuring that its glory days of being head-on competitors to Disney and Pixar had long passed. Nevertheless, Katzenberg continued his ventures in an attempt to have the company stay in the black, to mixed results, and oversaw two more films, Home and Kung Fu Panda 3, that somehow did turn a profit yet not enough to please shareholders. At that point he was about to say "screw it" and take the company private with the help of Chinese investment firm PAG Asia Capital, then Comcast's NBCUniversal unit came knocking on their door with $3.8 billion in their hands. Given the timing of the acquisition talks (a deal was reached after just thirteen days of negotiations), one has to wonder whether or not Katzenberg simply wanted to run the studio to the ground just so he could sell it to someone and silence the shareholders.
If analysts of the sale are to be believed, it seemed NBCUniversal's parent Comcast wasn't even interested at all in DreamWorks' film library. The main motive for buying the studio? To gain access to DreamWorks' intellectual property to add to NBCUniversal's content portfolio, meaning that all Comcast cared about was to milk their propertyin order to expand their revenue. In a way the priorities behind the deal are reminiscent of Comcast's failed $54 billion bid for Disney in 2004; after the buyout was rejected it was revealed that Comcast wasn't interested in Disney for its studio or theme parks or even its intellectual property - rather Comcast was only interested in Disney for ESPN, the company's biggest cash cow at the time.
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.
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.
Employees of Sony Pictures reportedly pressured studio executives to try to acquire DWA in hopes of bolstering its animation unit and increase profits. Like the Warner Bros. example above, the talks ended up going nowhere. Before that, Sony was in talks to distribute DWA's films when the Paramount deal was coming to an end.
Katzenberg considered returning to Paramount after hearing that Viacom considered selling the studio, but the deal never happened.
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 before it could be finalized.