In 2003, they had invested in a movie project that they thought would be a huge hit and lead to other movies with the same characters (a.k.a. movie franchise), and it was called: "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas." They poured money into the movie including more advertising than they had done in the past.
What happened? The movie became one of the worst financial investments of any movie animated or not. The problem is that another animated movie came out at the same time and it ended up being a blockbuster hit so people were flocking to see this movie instead of "Sinbad." The movie was "Finding Nemo," and whereas it made close to one billion dollars in the box office (even more with merchandise sales), DreamWorks lost over $160 million on the Sinbad project. It almost bankrupted the movie studio but they struck gold only a year later with "Shrek." After this they scored with "Madagascar," and "Kung Fu Panda." After almost losing it all, DreamWorks came back with a vengeance and has won many awards over the last several decades.