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The Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart has forged what is called “an unusually detailed merchandising partnership” with DreamWorks Animation SKG as the latter company prepared to release “How To Train Your Dragon” on March 26.

According to the story, “Wal-Mart worked with DreamWorks to design and choose the kind of licensed goods that would be sold around the family movie about a young Viking boy who tames a dragon, slated to hit U.S. theaters next Friday. It also had a hand in selecting who would make the merchandise, including putting plaything maker Spin Master Ltd. in charge of the toys. Wal-Mart will be the exclusive U.S. retailer of nearly all licensed Dragon products, excluding the later DVD release, among other items ... As part of its enhanced role, Wal-Mart committed to setting up elaborate merchandise displays in stores—including 20-foot Viking ships, which will hit 2,500 Wal-Marts next week. It is also co-financing a lavish advertising campaign that includes commercials in 4,600 movie theaters depicting a dragon swooping into Wal-Mart.”

Financial terms of the deal - one of the first times that Walmart has taken just an active role in a licensing arrangement - were not disclosed. But Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, seems pleased with the arrangement: “When you have the world's largest retailer creating a blockbuster event at this scale, you just get down on your knees and thank the movie and toy gods.”
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