Comcast's NBCUniversal has owned and operated many animation studios throughout the years since 1991. These expanded the company's animation output into television, direct-to-video, and digital releases, in addition to its feature animation releases.

Currently Universal Animation Studios, Illumination and DreamWorks Animation are parts of the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group. This article does not include other animation studios whose films were released by Universal Pictures (the company's distribution unit) and not acquired by the company. For example, certain Laika films were distributed by Universal under the Focus Features banner but never owned by the company.

Full list

Studio Established Parent unit
Animation: Theatrical feature films and short films in Hand-drawn and CGI

Former Names: Universal Feature Animation (1991–2007)[Note 1]
Units: Universal Animation Studios Glendale (1991–),[Note 2] Universal/Gingo Animation (1998–2005), Universal Television Animation (2006–)

Universal Filmed Entertainment Group
Animation: Computer generated animated theatrical feature films and short films

Founded by Chris Meledandri in 2007 as an all-audience film production company, co-owned by Universal, which fully finances and owns the films
Units: Illumination Mac Guff (2011–)

Universal Filmed Entertainment Group
Animation: Theatrical feature films, television series and online virtual games

Originally formed under the banner of its main DreamWorks studio in 1997 by some of Amblin Entertainment's former animation branch Amblimation alumni, DWA was spun off into a separate public company in 2004 and later acquired by NBCUniversal in 2016
Units: DreamWorks Animation Television (1994–)[Note 3], DreamWorks Classics (2012–),[Note 4]

Former satellite studios: Pacific Data Images (1980-2015)

Animation: Television series

Originally a part of the Universal animation group, Universal TV Animation was transferred into the NBCUniversal Television Group
Former Names: Universal Cartoon Studios (1991–2006)

Divested or defunct animation studios
Studio Established status
closed in 1972
Founded in 1929 as the principal supplier of animation for Universal. Nowadays the company exists in name only as a subsidiary of Universal Animation Studios, handling the rights to the studio's characters and films.

Former Names: Universal Studio Cartoons (1929–1935)

closed in 2000
An American animation studio active from the 1940s through the 1970s. Beginning with industrial and World War II training films, UPA eventually produced theatrical shorts for Columbia Pictures, notably the Mr. Magoo series.
rebranded in 2001 as in name-only unit
An animation production arm of comic book publisher Harvey Comics.
closed in 1989
A production company that produced animation and live-action programming for television from 1963 to 1989.
split in 2005
Animation: Television series and Feature films

Also known as: Universal/Gingo Animation
Formed in 1988 by former Hanna-Barbera animators Geo G. and Michael Wildshill. Acquired by Universal in 1998. Spun off into a separate independence company in 2005.
Former Names: Gingo Productions
Units: Gingo Feature Animation (1991–1996),[Note 5] Glass Ball Productions

NBCUniversal Television Group

Main article: NBCUniversal Television Group

Universal Television Animation

Main article: Universal Television Animation

On August 22, 2016, the television animation divisions of Universal and DreamWorks merged after completing the acquisition of DreamWorks Animation, but Universal Television Animation remains as a separate entity.

DreamWorks Animation Television

Main article: DreamWorks Animation Television

DreamWorks Animation Television is the television division of DreamWorks Animation.

Universal Filmed Entertainment Group

Main article: Universal Filmed Entertainment Group

Universal Animation Studios

Main article: Universal Animation Studios

Universal/Gingo Animation

Universal/Gingo Animation (UGA), DBA Gingo Animation, was an animation studio which was formed from Universal's acquisition of Gingo Animation on June 3, 1998. It was a division of Universal Feature Animation. Although Gingo was under the Universal Feature Animation studio, Gingo remained as a separate entity within Universal. On February 21, 2005, Gingo was spun off from Universal, letting the latter to retain the rights to most of the studio's pre-2005 library.

Title Release type Release date Franchise Other production company(ies)
Hatty: The Untold Story Television film September 25, 1998 Hatty Universal Television Animation
The Gabriel Project Television film April 10, 1999 Gabriel Garza
Paint World Theatrical December 25, 1999 Paint World Universal Feature Animation
The Gabriel Garza Movie Theatrical July 31, 2002 Gabriel Garza Universal Cartoon Studios
Universal Television Animation
Planetokio: The Madness Isn't Over Television film May 17, 2003 Planetokio Universal Television Animation
TeenV Movie Theatrical July 18, 2003 TeenV Glass Ball Productions
Jenny Zoom: A Conclusion of Confusion Television film April 3, 2004 Jenny Zoom Universal Television Animation
Critter Mockers: Dude, Where's My Critter? Television film June 15, 2004 Critter Mockers
Niz Chicoloco vs. Eris Television film November 13, 2004 Niz Chicoloco DreamWorks Animation
Zina and the Vivid Crew Theatrical December 22, 2004 Zina and the Vivid Crew O Entertainment

DreamWorks Animation

Main article: DreamWorks Animation

In April 2016, Comcast confirmed that its NBCUniversal division would acquire DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion. The deal closed on August 22, 2016. Universal Pictures will take over distribution of DreamWorks Animation films beginning in 2019 with How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World when DreamWorks Animation's deal with 20th Century Fox expires.


Main article: Illumination

Chris Meledandri left his post as President of 20th Century Fox Animation in early 2007 and founded Illumination, an all-audience film production company, co-owned by Universal Pictures, which fully finances and owns the films. In 2010 Illumination released its first film, Despicable Me, (which became very successful and was followed by Despicable Me 2 in 2013), and in 2011 Hop. Illumination released a film version of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, which continued the successful collaboration between Meledandri and Theodor (Dr. Seuss) Geisel's widow, Audrey. Illumination also released the franchise spin-off featuring the Minions, Minions (2015).

Illumination Mac Guff

Main article: Illumination Mac Guff

Illumination Mac Guff is a French animated feature production company owned by Illumination. Based in Paris, France, the company was created in 2011 as part of Universal's purchase deal of the animation arm of French animation and VFX company Mac Guff. It is responsible for Illumination's feature-length animated films and associated short films, most notably the Despicable Me franchise.

Title Release type Release date Franchise Other production company(ies)
Brad & Gary Theatrical 2011 Co-produced with Illumination Entertainment
Dr. Seuss' The Lorax feature film March 2, 2012
Despicable Me 2 July 3, 2013 Despicable Me
Minions July 10, 2015
Mower Minions Theatrical July 8, 2016
The Secret Life of Pets feature film
Sing December 21, 2016
Despicable Me 3 June 30, 2017 Despicable Me
Despicabopolis Direct-to-video March 20, 2018 Despicable Me
Co-produced with Illumination Entertainment and Universal Animation Studios
Yellow is the New Black Theatrical November 9, 2018 Despicable Me Co-produced with Illumination Entertainment
Dr. Seuss' The Grinch feature film
The Secret Life of Pets 2 June 7, 2019 The Secret Life of Pets
Minions 2 July 3, 2020 Despicable Me
Sing 2 December 25, 2020 Sing
Despicable Me 4 TBA Despicable Me
Untitled Mario film Mario Co-produced with Illumination Entertainment and Nintendo

Distribution deals

Main article: Universal Pictures

In February 2010, Universal formed a distribution deal with Supreme Entertainment; in July, however, Universal abandoned its deal with Supreme.


  1. name for the main feature theatrical animation division
  2. Formerly known as Universal Cartoon Studios until 2006. This unit produces direct-to-video films.
  3. Formerly known as DreamWorks Television Animation when DWA was the division of the main DreamWorks studio.
  4. Founded as Classic Media in 2000
  5. Merged into Universal Feature Animation in 1996