Mogul tries NZ for size

By Russell Blackstock

Shrek's Andrew Adamson and Jeffrey Katzenberg.
Photo / Chris Loufte
Shrek's Andrew Adamson and Jeffrey Katzenberg. Photo / Chris Loufte

A leading Hollywood movie mogul wants to bring more big live shows to New Zealand.

Jeffrey Katzenberg has overseen film hits such as Shrek, The Lion King and Pretty Woman, and his company, DreamWorks Animation, is behind the How to Train Your Dragon production that is wowing audiences at Auckland's Vector Arena this week.

Katzenberg, believed to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, is chief executive of DreamWorks and said in Auckland yesterday - where he watched the Dragon show three times in 24 hours before flying back to LA today - that popular movies like Kung Fu Panda were the next stage shows in production and he would love to bring them to New Zealand.

DreamWorks partnered Australian live entertainment group Global Creatures to create the Dragon show. It premiered in Australia and the shows here come before a US tour.

Katzenberg said he was "blown away" by the show and the venue. He watched last night's performance with his Kiwi mate Andrew Adamson, who directed Shrek, and said it had improved immensely from the Australian opening.

"I was really impressed by the audience reaction," Katzenberg told the Herald on Sunday.

"We have other animated movies we want to turn into stage shows, including Kung Fu Panda, which we are developing in China, and I would love to bring them to New Zealand to try them out."

Katzenberg also reckoned Kiwi filmmaker Sir Peter Jackson should consider bringing some of his fantasy blockbusters to the stage.

"Peter is a rainmaker. He can create magic but perhaps he should first come and see our Dragon show for some inspiration."

Katzenberg was chairman of Walt Disney when it produced classic hits like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast.

Although Katzenberg thinks New Zealand is "beautiful", he won't follow Avatar mastermind James Cameron and buy a farm here.

"I'm a city boy, through and through," Katzenberg added. "If James Cameron wants to get up early to milk cows and feed chickens, that's fine. But it's not for me."

- Herald on Sunday

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