DreamWorks Reduces Film Slate, Delays 'How to Train Your Dragon 3'
Though DreamWorks Animation just landed an Oscar nomination for How to Train Your Dragon 2 in the Best Animated Film category, the studio still isn't doing so hot. Even though The Croods was a success, other recent releases like Rise of the Guardians, Turbo and Mr. Peabody & Sherman haven't done as well at the box office as anticipated, resulting in their stock prices dropping and more layoffs happening as the company begins a massive restructuring of their feature animation business. And part of that restructuring includes a plan to only release two films each year now, one original project and one sequel. More below!
Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria were recently appointed new co-presidents of feature animation, and it's all part of the restructuring happening at the studio. Chief executive Jeffrey Katzenberg told Variety:
“I don’t think we ever attained the creative capacity to maintain the highest level of quality while we went for the quantity. We achieved the production capacity but not the creative capacity to do it. We have fallen short on the creative side of it. That’s why we made the change in the creative leadership.”
So for the next three years, they'll only be focusing on Kung Fu Panda 3 (March 18th, 2016), Trolls (November 4th, 2016), Boss Baby (January 13th, 2017), The Croods 2 (December 22nd, 2017), Larrikins (February 16th, 2018) and How to Train Your Dragon 3, which has been pushed back yet again to June 29th, 2018 this time. However, as of now, there's no mention of the delayed supernatural comedy B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations, which was previously in production with Seth Rogen, Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy in voice roles. But the film was removed from this year's release calendar, and is now said to have been moved back into development for the time being.
There's also Captain Underpants coming in 2017, but that is being produced outside of the studio's wheelhouse and with a far lower budget. The animation is being outsourced to Mikros Image’s facility in Montreal, Canada, rather than studios in India or China, and that will also make it look a little different than what we've come to expect from DreamWorks Animation. Other films with their fate up in the air include Mumbai Musical (March 10th, 2017) from Enchanted director Kevin Lima, Madagascar 4 (May 18th, 2018) and Puss in Boots 2: Nine Lives & 40 Thieves (November 2nd, 2018). They might get pushed back into the next decade with this new plan Dreamwork Animation has in play.
Katzenberg is hellbent on getting the company back on track, "The number one priority for DreamWorks Animation’s core film business is to deliver consistent creative and financial success. I am confident that this strategic plan will deliver great films, better box office results, and growing profitability across our complementary businesses.” It's a bummer that this is what DreamWorks Animation has to do in order to survive, but they only have one truly great movie for every three they've churned out, so something had to be done. Here's hoping they get their creative edge back and turn this all around.