BREAKING: Universal Just Not That Into DreamWorks

Remember all those questions we had last year about how DreamWorks and Universal might bridge the financing gap in their tenuous new relationship? The answer's simpler than anyone thought: They won't.

Nikki Finke had word this morning that Variety and others have since confirmed: The Works's loan-heavy, $1.25 billion financing package isn't coming through after all, and Universal isn't willing to pick up the additional overhead (Finke reports $250 million) to close the deal. Thus Steven Spielberg, Stacey Snider, David Geffen and their overstuffed moving van are stranded somewhere along the side of the 101. Their choice of road service: Disney, which according to Variety "would provide P&A funds, pay-cable slots and possible production co-financing for DreamWorks' intended six pictures."

It's a logical deal for a studio with an annual slate as underbuilt as Disney's, but not necessarily compatible with either Disney's recent revenue plunge — 26% last quarter for the movie side alone — or the fact that Disney already has Miramax releasing six to eight films a year. They can't afford both. Maybe Harvey Weinstein can get it back cheap; in this economy, someone will. Developing...