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Comcast Buys DreamWorks Animation For $3.8 Billion In Race Against Disney

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MINIONS ")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS: (As Minions, speaking Minion language).

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The company that brought you "Minions" has a strategy to bring you more animated characters. A subsidiary of Comcast distributed the computer animated film. And now Comcast has acquired DreamWorks Animation. The company paid $3.8 billion for DreamWorks. NPR's Andrew Limbong reports on what Comcast is planning.

ANDREW LIMBONG, BYLINE: The DreamWorks Animation roster includes, "How To Train Your Dragon."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON")

JAY BARUCHEL: (As Hiccup) Once they see you as one of their own, even the testiest dragons can be trained.

LIMBONG: "Kung Fu Panda."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "KUNG FU PANDA")

DUSTIN HOFFMAN: (As Shifu) That flabby panda can't possibly be the answer to our problems.

LIMBONG: And of course, "Shrek."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SHREK")

MIKE MYERS: (As Shrek) I mean, when have you ever heard the phrase, as sweet as an Ogre, or as nurturing as an Ogre? Or how about...

CRAIG MOFFETT: What Comcast is trying to do here is steal a page from the Disney playbook.

LIMBONG: Craig Moffett is the founder and senior analyst at MoffettNathanson. That's a research group that provides analysis of the cable industry. What he means by that isn't Comcast necessarily going toe-to-toe with Disney on the big screen, more like the little screen, the roller coaster and everywhere else.

MOFFETT: Comcast has a lot more than just physical cable networks now. They've got a very large themepark business with theme parks not just in Orlando and Hollywood, but now in Asia as well. They've got cable networks where they can cross-promote.

LIMBONG: And if all that adds up to an even bigger "Shrek" movie, great. But that Ogre is supposed to be an underdog anyway.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALL STAR")

SMASH MOUTH: (Singing) somebody once told me the world is going to roll me. I ain't...

LIMBONG: Andrew Limbong, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALL STAR")

SMASH MOUTH: (Singing) Hey now... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Andrew Limbong is a reporter for NPR's Arts Desk, where he does pieces on anything remotely related to arts or culture, from streamers looking for mental health on Twitch to Britney Spears' fight over her conservatorship. He's also covered the near collapse of the live music industry during the coronavirus pandemic. He's the host of NPR's Book of the Day podcast and a frequent host on Life Kit.