Aardman Animations and Dreamworks have ended the partnership that created the movie Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

The two companies had struck a deal to create five movies in 1999, but have ended the deal two movies short. In addition to the Wallace And Gromit movie, the two companies have also produced Chicken Run and Flushed Away.

Announcing the split, the two companies said that they are moving in different directions. "Both companies are aware that our ambitions have moved apart and it feels like the right time to move on," said Peter Lord and David Sproxton, co-owners of Aardman Animations.

Chief executive officer of Dreamworks, Jeffrey Katzenberg said that it had been a "pleasure and privilege" working with the Aardman team.

"I am proud of the work we have created together and also greatly admire Aardman's passion and expertise for motion filmmaking and brilliant storytelling."

Mr Katzenberg said that the company is committed to releasing two animated films per year and its production schedule is currently booked until 2010.

Critics say the split has come after the last movie produced under the deal underperformed at the box office. Flushed Away took $50 million (£25 million) at the box office, and cost nearly three times that much to make.

31/01/2007 11:31:02