Posted on Tuesday, February 10th, 2009 by Peter Sciretta
Just because DreamWorks has inked a distribution deal with Disney, doesn’t mean that Steven Spielberg will have any input or contribution to the Disney theme parks. Steven Spielberg has had a longstanding consulting deal with Universal theme parks, which pays the famous filmmaker 2% of all park receipts. Spielberg signed the deal 20 years ago when the parks opened. Universal got the director’s input and brand name endorsement, and Spielberg walked away with 2% (which back then couldn’t have been a lot).
But today that 2% equals anywhere from $30 – $50 million a year depending on what source you read (Waxman or Finke). And that kind of payout doesn’t even include the licensing fees for films like Jurassic Park or E.T. — which is completely separate. The exclusive deal means that while Spielberg can license Dreamwork properties to any theme park he wants, he can’t contribute creatively what-so-ever. And if Universal was paying you $50 million a year, you certainly wouldn’t want to mess with that arrangement.