DreamWorks Animation SKG (NYSE: DWA) is sitting down to milk a few plump cash cows. Well, technically, a cash ogre, panda, and dragon, but who's counting?

The animation studio just announced a 2012 sequel to the surprise smash hit How to Train Your Dragon, which has collected nearly $500 million in worldwide box office receipts. In addition, Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) cable channel Cartoon Network will premiere an animated series based on the Dragon universe the same year, shrewdly timing the two releases to capitalize on each others' marketing efforts. Speaking of shrewd timing, these announcements come just days before the original movie debuts on DVD and Blu-ray discs, including immediate availability from Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) because DreamWorks never signed one of those debatable 28-day delay contracts with Netflix.

And if you thought DreamWorks was finished with franchising, consider that the studio is also working up further TV specials based on the Shrek series and on Kung Fu Panda -- another obvious tentpole movie destined for reams of sequels and its own TV series. Some critics might say that Shrek has lost his luster because his fourth movie didn't impress at the box office. To that, I can only say "baloney."

Just like I told you after the premiere, Shrek 4 had strong, green legs; it ultimately made more than $730 million globally. There's gold in these franchises, and DreamWorks is hell-bent on digging it all out. Madagascar and its penguin-centric spinoff TV series provided the template, and now it's just a matter of exploiting it.

Those efforts will only strengthen  an already tremendously profitable movie studio -- neither Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS) nor Viacom (NYSE: VIA) can boast profit margins of DreamWorks' caliber, and the studio runs a close second to Disney's Pixar in the hitmaking category. Yes, the stock is a bit pricey at 27 times trailing earnings, but very comparable to Disney's on a forward-looking basis. Sometimes you get exactly what you pay for. DreamWorks Animation is also a five-star CAPS stock and a two-time recommendation of our flagship Stock Advisor newsletter.

That kind of pedigree is hard to ignore; I'm adding another thumbs-up vote to DreamWorks' CAPS tally right now, and you can follow my lead in just a couple of clicks.

Walt Disney is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Walt Disney, DreamWorks Animation, and Netflix are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.