DreamWorks, Disney Play Cat and Mouse with Releases

In a toon version of High Noon (though it’s not clear who’s Gary Cooper), Disney and DreamWorks are now set to debut two big films on the same day in late 2004.

For its part, DreamWorks’ Sharkslayer has been running ads for some time claiming November 5, 2004 as its release date. Now Disney is saying that it will release the Disney/Pixar flick The Incredibles on the same day.

Everyone’s mum on the issue, save for a Disney spokesman who allowed “It looks like the movie-going public will have lots to choose from on November 5, 2004.”

Though anti-collaboration laws make it impossible for studios to have formal agreements, big films are rarely released at the same time because it can depress the box office take for both.

Possibly an extension of the acrimony between Disney CEO Michael Eisner and DreamWorks’ chief Jeffrey Katzenberg, Disney and DreamWorks have been playing cat and mouse with their ani titles for some time.

In 1998 Disney moved Pixar’s A Bug’s Life opposite DreamWorks’ The Prince of Egypt forcing the latter to move its film into December. It was a pointed move by Disney as Prince was DreamWorks ani feature debut. For its part, DreamWorks released its DVD of Shrek to coincide with the Disney opening of Monsters, Inc. Disney execs have been reluctant to share the ani stage they’ve dominated in recent times since 1988’s smash The Little Mermaid. In 1997, in a shot across the bow, Disney re-released the film to try to steal thunder from Fox’s Anastasia.