By any metric, DreamWorks is one of the most successful film production companies of all time. Fortunately for cord-cutters, many DreamWorks titles are available though a variety of different streaming services. Hulu with Live TV, Netflix, HBO Now, Amazon Prime Video all carry DreamWorks titles. NBC’s upcoming streaming service Peacock launching on July 15th 2020 will give you the ability to watch DreamWorks movies and TV shows online as well. Keep reading to learn how all five services compare.
Hulu is now the official home of DreamWorks’ animated films. However, pre-existing licensing agreements may be slowing down Hulu’s ability to add DreamWorks films to its catalog. Many of the most popular DreamWorks animated films have yet to make their way to the streaming service.
A recent licensing deal sheds some light on why DreamWorks Animation titles have vanished from Netflix and are now slowly making their way to Hulu. According to the terms of the agreement, Hulu will be the exclusive streaming home to the complete DreamWorks Animation film library in the United States until the multi-year deal expires. Hulu will begin producing original series with DreamWorks soon, as well.
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In general, Hulu tends to get movies and TV show episodes before most of the other streaming services. This, combined with the fact that you can now get live TV through Hulu, makes this service a very compelling alternative to cable TV.
As is the case with Netflix, you won’t find many recent live action films from DreamWorks Pictures in Hulu’s on-demand library. However, several DreamWorks Pictures films that came out five years ago or more are available.
The Shrek movie franchise is the second highest-grossing animated franchise of all time behind Despicable Me. The plot of the first film centers around a grumpy ogre that reluctantly agrees to help rescue a princess. Fans of the franchise might be disappointed to find out that only the first Shrek movie is available via Hulu. Since Hulu is now the official home of DreamWorks’ animated films, it will likely be the first streaming service to pick up the other films once they become available.
How to Train Your Dragon
While not quite as popular as Shrek, DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon is now the 11th highest-grossing animated movie franchise. The first and third movies in the franchise are available via Hulu, but the second is not. The series’ main character is an awkward young Viking warrior-in-training named Hiccup. Hiccup manages to capture a dragon with a bolas launcher, but instead of killing it he decides to befriend it.
The 1998 box-office debut of Antz sparked a feud between DreamWorks and Pixar. Pixar released A Bug’s Life— another film featuring talking insects– just a few months later that year. Even though Antz remained at the top of the box office charts for two weekends, A Bug’s Life ended up grossing more money overall. One of the film’s main attractions is its star-studded list of voice actors. Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Lopez, Sylvester Stallone, Christopher Walken, Dan Aykroyd, Danny Glover and several other stars were featured in the movie. Woody Allen provides the voice of protagonist Z, who is a worker ant that ends up falling in love with the future queen of the ant colony.
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Some DreamWorks animated movies like Shrek and How to Train Your Dragon are still available on Netflix, but only in select countries. DreamWorks recently signed a new licensing deal with Netflix competitor Hulu. As a result, US-based Netflix users can no longer stream any DreamWorks animated movies.
Movies from DreamWorks Pictures can still be found on Netflix. Just don’t expect to be able to find any recent movies– especially if they performed well at the box office. With a few exceptions, Netflix seems largely unwilling to compete for blockbuster movie licenses.
Instead of fighting to acquire popular DreamWorks movies, Netflix has opted to create its own exclusive DreamWorks series. Since many DreamWorks series feature characters from the company’s most popular movie franchises, Netflix may be worth a look if you’re looking for a streaming service that offers DreamWorks content.
One of the most notable original DreamWorks titles that Netflix offers is Guillermo del Toro’s Trollhunters, which is about a teenage boy that discovers a magical realm and struggles to protect Earth from the dangerous creatures that he finds there. Russian-American actor Anton Yelchin– who died at the young age of 27– played the role of protagonist James “Jim” Lake Jr. for the majority of the series. Following his death, Emile Hirsch of Into the Wild fame filled in for the remainder of the show.
Spirit Riding Free
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron spin-off Spirit Riding Free is also available on Netflix. Though the series is similar to the 2002 movie, its plot is completely different. It’s about a girl named Lucky, who meets a semi-wild stallion named Spirit. Lucky’s friends Abigail and Pru are also horseriders, and the three have many adventures together throughout the series. Lucky’s circus star mother died when Lucky was young, and she must come to grips with the fact that her father recently started a relationship with the town schoolteacher.
All Hail King Julien
All Hail King Julien is a Madagascar prequel that features three of the main characters from the movie: King Julien, Maurice, and Mort. At the beginning of the movie, King Julien’s cowardly uncle abdicates the throne to avoid a deadly prophecy. A group of cat-like predators called foosas attack the kingdom, and King Julien manages to save the day. The problem is that even though Julien is brave, he’s not really mature enough to manage the kingdom on his own.
Fast & Furious: Spy Racers
In April of 2018, Netflix announced that an animated series based on The Fast and the Furious movie series is in the company’s production pipeline. The show will be called Fast & Furious: Spy Racers and it will be about the adventures of Dom’s younger cousin, Tony Torretto. At the beginning of the series, government agents hire Tony and his friends to infiltrate a racing league that is believed to be a front for a criminal organization.
Other DreamWorks originals
Some of Netflix’s other original DreamWorks series include She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh, Turbo FAST, The Adventures of Puss and Boots, Dragons: Race to the Edge, Dinotrux, The Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show, Dawn of the Croods and Voltron: Legendary Defender.
HBO Now is HBO’s over-the-top streaming service. Since you can subscribe to HBO Now without a cable subscription, it is popular among cord-cutters.
HBO Now is often confused with HBO Go, which is HBO’s other streaming service. Both services are essentially the same. The main difference is that if you’ve ordered HBO through Apple TV, Hulu, AT&T TV Now or Playstation Vue, you’ll be able to use the HBO Go app for no extra cost. Fortunately, content across both services is identical. No matter which app you use, you’ll be able to stream all the DreamWorks content that HBO offers.
HBO recently announced that it will be creating yet another streaming service next year: HBO Max. HBO Max will replace both HBO Now and HBO Go. Since existing HBO Now customers will be automatically upgraded to HBO Max, there’s no risk involved in signing up now if you want to try it out. AT&T will reportedly be investing huge amounts of money into HBO Max. That means that more content will probably land on the new service after its debut.
Madagascar is a story about four animals that suddenly find themselves stuck in the wilderness after a failed zoo escape attempt. A number of high profile celebrities voice many of the characters, including Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, and Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, and Andy Richter. Despite mixed reviews, the movie became DreamWorks Animation’s ninth highest-grossing film in the United States.
Kung Fu Panda 2
HBO doesn’t currently carry the first Kung Fu Panda movie, but its sequel is part of HBO’s on-demand catalog. Interestingly, Kung Fu Panda 2 outperformed the franchise’s first movie at the box office. The former is currently the 31st highest-grossing animated film of all time, while the later occupies the 25th spot on the list. When Kung Fu Panda 2 begins, protagonist Po is busy defending his kingdom with his friends. Then it’s revealed that the evil Lord Shen has developed a secret weapon, which he intends to use to conquer all of China.
The plot of Shark Tale revolves around a small but ambitious fish named Oscar that is tired of being a bottom feeder. After he claims credit for the death of a notorious gangster fish, chaos ensues. After the movie came out in 2004, it scored the second-highest opening for an animated film since Shrek 2. Will Smith voices the role of Oscar. Other notable actors involved in the film include Jack Black, Robert De Niro, Renée Zellweger and Angelina Jolie.
Amazon Prime Video is free with Amazon Prime, but you can also subscribe to it separately if you don’t want Amazon Prime.
One thing you might notice as you browse Prime Video is that on-demand library contains several titles that seem to be DreamWorks films, but are actually blatant DreamWorks knock-offs. The protagonist of Chop Kick Panda, for example, looks nearly identical to Kung Fu Panda‘s Po.
As is the case with Hulu and Netflix, Amazon has produced some original series that feature characters from popular DreamWorks franchises. Some DreamWorks animated movies are available, but you have to pay extra to buy or rent them.
Kung Fu Panda: the Paws of Destiny
Kung Fu Panda: the Paws of Destiny is an Amazon Original that features Po, the protagonist from the Kung Fu Panda movie franchise. At the beginning of the series, four kids from Po’s village explore a hidden cave. Inside the cave, they find an ancient statue that gives each of them special powers. The twist is that none of the kids are mature enough to use their new powers wisely. Po realizes this and attempts to assume the role of their mentor.
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle
When The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle debuted on Amazon Prime last year, it became the first DreamWorks original to appear outside of Netflix. The show is a reboot of the classic Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends cartoon, which was originally broadcast by ABC and NBC in the early 1960s. In the first few episodes of the reboot, Bullwinkle attempts to enter a pie contest. A pair of spies named Boris and Natasha try to steal Bullwinkle’s recipe so that they can produce a dangerous biological weapon, which they plan to use to take over the world.
DreamWorks TV was originally a YouTube channel that featured trailers, behind-the-scenes interviews and short-form stories about characters from various DreamWorks franchises. After accumulating 3.6 million subscribers, DreamWorks TV launched as an Amazon Channel in early 2018. Subscribers can enjoy new episodes of shows like Schneck & Eck Crack the Case, Action Figures in Action, Secret Agent Challenge, and Neighborhood Super Watch and more.
Peacock is an upcoming streaming service from NBC that is set to launch next year. According to a recent article from The Verge, its creators are considering an ad-supported free-to-watch subscription option. Along with reboots of NBC shows like Punky Brewster and Battlestar Gallactica, the service will also feature content from DreamWorks and other movie and TV production companies.