NBCUniversal Acquires Dreamworks Animation

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Vanessa Obioha

Jeffrey Katzenberg is a happy man and he knows it. After being dismissed by Walt Disney in September 1994, Katzenberg reached an agreement on a deal last Thursday with Comcast’s NBC Universal that is worth $3.8 billion.

The contract will see NBCUniversal acquiring Katzenberg’s company Dreamworks Animation. The company will also pay DreamWorks Animation shareholders $41 in cash for each share of their DreamWorks stock.

After the deal closes, Katzenberg will hand oversight of his company to Chris Meledandri, head of Universal’s animation division Illumination Entertainment. He will become chairman of the newly-formed DreamWorks New Media, made up of the firm’s stakes in the YouTube teen network AwesomenessTV and the technology company Nova. Katzenberg also will serve as a consultant to NBCUniversal.

Katzenberg founded Dreamworks in October 1994 with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen. The initials of their name SKG is boldly displayed in the company’s official name. In 2004, Dreamworks churned out a series of animation, ‘Kung Fu Panda’, ‘Madagascar’, and ‘Shrek’ that made it a reckoning force in Hollywood.

It also launched an interactive studio that developed ‘Jurassic Park’ – themed video games, started a record label that released splashy albums like George Michael’s ‘Older’, and announced plans for a 1,000-acre studio facility in Playa Vista that would have included 18 soundstages and a lake. However, by 2014, the company’s profits plummeted and Katzenberg was forced to lay off 20 per cent of his staff members, following stiff competition from rival companies.
With this new deal, Katzenberg now has a net worth of $1 billion, putting him on a rarefied air among Hollywood’s elite. The deal is expected to close later in the year.

Drug Overdose Suspected in Prince’s Death
Investigations on the singer’s death on April 21 are suggesting a drug overdose. According to CNN, authorities investigating the death found opioid medication on his person and in his Minnesota home. The authorities are also asking for help from the DEA.

Meanwhile, the artiste’s multi-million dollar estate would be managed by a financial company, Bremer Trust since Prince didn’t leave a will. This was reached following the Minnesota law that allows surviving siblings of the deceased to inherit his wealth if a person dies without a will and with no surviving parents, children or grandchildren.

Prince wasn’t married and had no known living children at the time of his death. His sister Tyka Nelson who is the apparent heiress is washing her hands clean off. She would rather Bremer Trust handles her late brother’s assets and properties.

Beyonce Kicks off Formation Tour with Husband Jay Z
Despite rumours of break-up between the power couple following Beyonce’s newly released Lemonade album, that is laced with infidelity and break-up lyrics, Beyonce kicked off her Formation tour last Wednesday in Miami with husband in tow.

A happy Beyonce thanked her husband in front of the motley crowd at Marlins Park as she performed ‘Halo’. Two Saturdays ago, Beyonce took her fans unawares when she released her sixth album on her husband’s Tidal streaming platform.
The release was preceded by a visual album shown on HBO Networks. The album consists of collaborations with The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, James Black and Jack White of the White Stripes.

Whitney Houston is Coming Back to Life
Oscar-winning Scottish director Kevin Macdonald is set to direct the theatrical
feature documentary about the life of the legendary singer, Whitney Houston. It will be the first documentary to be officially authorised by her estate since her death in 2012.
The project will see collaborative efforts from fellow Oscar-winning producer Simon Chinn and his Emmy-winning cousin Jonathan Chinn. Their Lightbox Media banner along with Lisa Erspamer will oversee production.

According to Macdonald, the film will capture Whitney’s life in totality, from her humble days to superstardom days. It will include an interview with Clive Davis, founder and president of Arista Records, currently chief creative officer of Sony Music Entertainment, who is best known for bringing Whitney to prominence.

“We have access to never-before- seen footage of Whitney that charts her whole life from her beginnings singing in her Church’s gospel choir to the day of her tragic death at the age of 48, and three decades of her music including exclusive demo recordings, rare performances and audio archive.

“Although we won’t shy away from the darker parts of Whitney’s life – her descent into addiction – I want audiences to walk out of the cinema and feel positive about Whitney and her music. I want to reveal a woman that even her most die-hard fans never knew; and a woman those new to her life and music will never forget,” he said in a statement.
The film will be introduced at the Cannes film Festival by Altitude Film Sales, with U.K. rights acquired by Altitude Film Distribution. Will Clarke, Andy Mayson, and Mike Runagall are executive producers.

Papa Wemba to be Buried on Tuesday
Burial arrangements are concluded for the King of Rumba rock, Papa Wemba.
The revered artiste from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) died last Sunday during a performance on stage FEMUA Urban Music Festival in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
An all-night concert was held in honour of the great artiste in Abidjan, and on Thursday morning, a large crowd welcomed his body at Kinshasa’s airport in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He will be buried on Tuesday after a lying-in-state ceremony on Monday.
Born Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba, Wemba was the pioneer of soukous music in Congo. His unparalleled music achievement is greatly celebrated by African leaders and music stars as well as fans. He was aged 66.