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Netflix Expands Deal with Universal for Animated Movies

DreamWorks Animation's 'Shrek'
(Image credit: DreamWorks Animation)

Universal Filmed Entertainment Group has finished the realignment of its "Pay 1" output deals with the major streaming services, re-upping and expanding an agreement with Netflix for its animated features. 

Netflix already had an agreement in place to distribute films from Universal's Illumination animation production arm, perhaps the best known of these existing within the poplular "Minions" franchise. 

Now, Netflix will also be an exclusive streaming home for DreamWorks Animation titles, including those from the "Shrek," "How to Train Your Dragon" and "Puss in Boots" franchises. 

Like the two other Pay 1 deals Universal has signed recently, the agreement calls for the studios corporate sibling, streaming service Peacock, to have exclusive rights to its animated titles for four months after they complete a 120-day theatrical run. The titles also revert back to Peacock for the final four months of their 18-month Pay 1 window. 

So Netflix gets exclusive rights for the 10 months inbetween. 

The Netflix agreement follows a similar deal Universal announced last week with Amazon, putting its live-action titles on Amazon Prime Video in the same 10-month configuration, between bookended Peacock engagements. 

For Netflix, the deal comes three months after it signed a Pay 1 deal with Sony for exclusive Pay 1 domestic rights to the major studio's entire slate, starting with its 2022 slate. 

As for Universal, it has restructured its Pay 1 agreements so that Peacock has first--and last--dibs to all of its live-action and animated titles. 

“As we’ve seen with our own slate, Netflix families love watching and rewatching animated films, and this deal allows us to expand our library to bring our audience more of what they want to watch," said Colin Morawski, director of studio licensing for Netflix, in a statement. 

“Netflix has been a terrific partner and we‘re thrilled to expand our relationship,” added Peter Levinsohn, vice chairman and chief distribution officer for Universal. “Universal Filmed Entertainment Group produces some of the biggest animated franchises and boldest originals from some of the most influential, impactful and inspiring creators in the industry. This exciting agreement further demonstrates the importance of that content to our distribution partners as they grow their audiences and deliver the very best in entertainment."