Animation maestros, Dreamworks the studio responsible for the Shrek franchise, have signed a new deal with 20th Century Fox. The 5-year deal will see Fox distribute its movies from early 2013, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Dreamworks had a 7-year strong partnership with Paramount Pictures, but 2011 saw the Glendale studio try to cut costs and pay a lower fee to their then distributers, and their working relationship began to falter. After a fleeting plan to distribute their own films, Dreamworks scrapped any self-distribution notions and held extensive talks with Sony and Fox, with the latter proving successful. Fox's recent endeavour into the distribution of animated films isn't their first; the California film studio already own animation unit Blue Sky, the team behind the hugely popular Ice Age franchise. This conflict of interested represents a difficult balancing act for Fox, who will have to manage their dates and marketing carefully when distributing films from two animation studios, and make sure interests don't collide.

Financially, the differences are negligible but were enough to convince Dreamworks into a reshuffle. Fox will receive lower fee for the small but improving sector of digital distribution including video-on-demand and download-to-own. Fox will however be receiving the same 8 per cent that Paramount earnt for box office receipts and DVD sales. The first film to be released under Dreamworks and Fox's new-found union will be The Croods; a comedy adventure that takes us to a previously undiscovered era known as the Croodacious. Audiences can expect the talents of Nicolas Cage and Ryan Reynolds to feature in the film. Meanwhile, Paramount are investing heavily into an animation division of their own, with the first project set to be a new SpongeBob Square Pants movie.