The movie studio pays millions to acquire the rights to scores classic characters

By Anthony Breznican
July 27, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT

DreamWorks Animation has purchased quite a toy box. The studio paid $155 million earlier this week to acquire Classic Media, a company that has spent the past 12 years buying the rights to nearly 450 movies, 6,100 TV episodes, and scores of characters, including He-Man, She-Ra, Fat Albert, Richie Rich, and Casper the Friendly Ghost. The Lone Ranger is another of its titles and has already been licensed by Disney for next summer’s Johnny Depp/Armie Hammer live-action film. DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg says he saw potential in resurrecting more characters from Classic after gaining rights to Mr. Peabody and Sherman, for a 2013 feature, plus Rocky and Bullwinkle, for an accompanying short. ”Classic Media is for family entertainment what Marvel was for the superhero business 10 years ago,” he says. ”[Marvel] was this amazing collection of great characters and great [intellectual property], all of which existed some time ago, and they’ve done a brilliant job of reinventing each and every one for the 21st century. I think we have the same opportunities here.”