Lassie Is Coming to a New Home: Dreamworks Buys Classic Media

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Casper the Friendly Ghost. Fat Albert. The Lone Ranger. Lassie. For the seemingly endless revivals of classic children's media we're subjected to, the world hasn't heard much from these stalwarts of baby boomer and Gen-X childhood programming. But that's about to change.

DreamWorks Animation (DWA) announced this week that it is buying Classic Media, owners of the aforementioned characters, for $155 million. Classic Media also owns such well-known properties as George of the Jungle, Rocky & Bullwinkle, Where's Waldo?, Veggie Tales, and Olivia. Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Santa Claus Is Coming to Town are coming along as part of the deal, as well.

But wait, there's more! DreamWorks will also be buying one of the world's largest comic-book archives, and the media rights to all the titles in the Golden Books library. All told, DreamWorks will get more than 450 titles out of the purchase, with 6,100 episodes of live-action and animated programming.

Lassie's Coming Home, Kids!

So how soon can we expect to see Classic Media characters popping up in our local theaters or on television, courtesy of DreamWorks? Sooner than you might have expected, even given the long turnaround and development time for animated works.

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DreamWorks has been collaborating since 2006 on an animated, 3-D "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" feature film. Fans will remember Mr. Peabody and Sherman as the human-canine duo that were regular cast members of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show from the late '50s and early '60s. Look for it in theaters on Dec. 25, 2013.

Disney's (DIS) Pixar and DreamWorks are the world's two premier animation studios, and also two of the world's fiercest rivals. And while both pride themselves on "tentpole" works (that is, original franchise-building works such as Toy Story or Madagascar), this deal by DreamWorks for a full stable of classic children's characters could give it a much-needed edge.

"Classic Media brings a large and diverse collection of characters and branded assets that is extremely complementary to DreamWorks Animation's franchise business," said CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, "and we plan to leverage it across our motion picture, television, home entertainment, consumer products, digital, theme park and live entertainment channels. "

So get ready, world. Lassie, Fat Albert, and The Lone Ranger will soon be riding your way again.

How to Save Money at the Movie Theater
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Lassie Is Coming to a New Home: Dreamworks Buys Classic Media

Woroch says that sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial have featured movie theater vouchers that are up to 50% off the regular ticket price. (Just make sure to use the voucher before it expires.)

ites such as Plastic Jungle and Gift Card Granny sell movie theater gift cards that are 10% to 30% less than their face value. Use the gift card to pay at the theater and get instant savings.

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embers of this auto club can buy tickets to Regal, United Artists and Edwards movie theaters for just $8 at their local AAA office.

Costco sells four-packs of tickets for a variety of theaters for $34.99 and ten-packs for $82.99. This is a good deal for families who live in cities where individual tickets cost more than $10. You also can buy tickets in bulk -- at a discount -- at A family of four can see a movie for less than $30, and the passes never expire.


Several theater chains have rewards programs that give members the chance to earn free or discounted movie tickets and concessions.

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Woroch says that some banks and credit-card companies offer free passes to the theater as part of their rewards programs. Visa Signature offers its cardholders two-for-one movie tickets via Fandango on Fridays. Deutsche Bank debit card users can get one free pass for every ticket purchased through So ask your card company or bank about if it has such reward perks.

For example, Regal Cinemas posts weekly coupons on its Facebook page. Great Escape Theatres has ticket giveaways on its Facebook page.

Daytime showings are usually a couple dollars cheaper (sometimes as much a half the price of an evening ticket).

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Many theaters show family-friendly movies in the mornings for free (or just a nominal price) during the summer. Check your local theater's Web site for details.

If you're not in a hurry to see a movie as soon as it's released, you'll save a lot by waiting for it to show in a second-run theater, where you'll pay just $3 to $6.


Yes, drive-in theaters still exist, and they're a great deal. The one closest to where I live charges just $15 for a car load. has a searchable database to help you find a drive-in near you.



John Grgurich is a regular contributor to The Motley Fool, and owns no shares in either of the companies mentioned in this column. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Walt Disney and DreamWorks Animation.

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