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Universal Pictures Inks New First-Look Deal with Steven Spielberg's Amblin

A classic Hollywood partnership grows even stronger.

By Josh Weiss

Universal Pictures and Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners have entered into a new first-look deal, Variety confirmed today. Contrary to persistent industry rumors, Universal is not acquiring the iconic production banner.

Rather, Amblin will no longer finance its own projects — as has been the case since its founding in the 1980s — but will rely on Universal to put up funding for any Amblin movie the studio chooses to produce. Spielberg, of course, is still allowed to direct for any studio he wishes (Ready Player One and West Side Story, for instance, were made for Warner Bros. and 20th Century Studios, respectively).

"Universal is my ancestral studio home, and this next chapter in our longstanding partnership will provide Amblin with the creative flexibility and autonomy that I know will allow us to succeed together in the future,” the legendary filmmaker said in a statement. "I’m eternally grateful to our entire team at Amblin for their work and dedication over the years, and also thankful to Donna [Langley] and everyone at Universal for their commitment and partnership, as we all look forward to our next adventure together."

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“We’re excited to evolve our partnership with Steven and cement our creative legacy together that has resulted in so many iconic Universal films over the last half-century,” added Langley, who currently serves as chairman and chief content officer of NBCUniversal Studio Group. "Steven and the team at Amblin have been outstanding partners, and we look forward to this next chapter."

The director's relationship with the studio goes back to the start of his feature career in the 1970s via The Sugarland ExpressJaws, and 1941. Universal subsequently went on to roll out such Spielberg classics as E.T., Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, and Munich.

In addition, Amblin (named after Spielberg's short film of the same name) has famously enjoyed office space on the Universal backlot for over 40 years. The updates to their multi-year partnership do not affect Amblin's current link to Netflix or its television projects. 

Amblin Partners, which encompasses Amblin Entertainment and DreamWorks Pictures, was first announced in 2015 with major investments from Universal Pictures, Reliance Entertainment, Entertainment One (eOne), and Alibaba Pictures.

Check out Spielberg's most recent collaboration with Universal — The Fabelmans — now available to purchase from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Want some more Amblin-produced features? Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Jurassic Park III, The Money Pit, The Terminal, Cowboys & Aliens, and Jurassic World are all streaming on Peacock right now!