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Disney's Dominance in Animated Films Could Be About to Be Challenged

Comcast Corp.'s (CMCSA) Universal Pictures seems certain to have a hit with the release of "Despicable Me 3" from its Illumination Entertainment animation studio on Friday, June 30. It will take a bit longer, on the other hand, to assess Comcast's recent big-ticket acquisition of another animation studio.

Until last year, Illumination was Universal's only animation studio -- but that all changed when NBCUniversal, which declined to comment for this story, announced in April 2016 it was acquiring DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. for $3.8 billion. It was a hefty fee for the Steven Spielberg-founded animation studio, especially considering its hit-and-miss record over the past five years. Nonetheless, the deal was approved by board members and closed in August.