Dreamworks and Illumination films come to Peacock after 45 days in theaters

Peacock is going to get a whole lot more animated.

The streamer has struck a deal with Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG) that will see it exclusively get most of the studio group's films, as early as 45 days after they have come out in theaters and on PVOD. The arrangement will begin in 2022. Both Peacock and UFEG are owned by Comcast's NBCUniversal.

The deal affects two major animation studios, Dreamworks and Illumination, both of which are under the Universal umbrella. Four features from the studios are due to come out next year: The Bad Guys (April 22), Minions: The Rise of Gru (July 1), Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (September 23), and an untitled Super Mario film (December 21).

Universal's existing PVOD arrangements with theaters will remain in place. Early in the pandemic, the studio forged deals with exhibition that let it put films on demand after at least 17 days in cinemas. More recently, it released some films - including Dreamworks' The Boss Baby: Family Business - day-and-date in theaters and on Peacock, as other studios did with their SVOD platforms.

“Prioritizing the theatrical experience and eventizing our world-class content remains the cornerstone of our business,” said Peter Levinsohn, vice chairman and chief distribution officer of UFEG. “By ensuring our upcoming slate has both a theatrical window and timely Peacock debut, we satisfy the needs and expectations for key stakeholders across the spectrum, from our filmmakers and producing partners to cinemagoers and Peacock subscribers.”

Peacock launched in July 2020, shortly after Apple TV+, Disney+, and HBO Max. By the second quarter of this year, it had hit 54 million sign-ups and around 20 million monthly active accounts in the U.S. The new injection of films will make the platform more competitive against its heavyweight rivals, most of which currently have a broader offering of original animation.

Image at top: Mario will star in an Illumination film in 2022. The image of Mario does not represent his appearance in the film.