It looks like 20th Century Fox is taking cues from Disney, who had recently announced release dates for four untitled Pixar films and four untitled Walt Disney Animation Studios films. That list went all the way up to November 2018! Now, 20th Century Fox has unveiled their upcoming slate for their two animation studios, and that one goes up to December 2018!
/Film and fellow animation news site and podcast Animation Fascination have revealed the details! Now, DreamWorks and Blue Sky's 2013-2016 schedule hasn't changed much, it's still the same. (minus one thing, but we'll get to that!) In addition to the projects that are scheduled for release from 2013 to 2016 (and early 2017, since Fox grabbed an April date for Blue Sky's Ferdinand a couple weeks back), these are the new dates that the distributor secured for both DreamWorks and Blue Sky's upcoming films...
March 10, 2017
June 16, 2017
July 21, 2017
November 3, 2017
December 20, 2017
March 23, 2018
June 29, 2018
July 20, 2018
November 2, 2018
December 21, 2018Right now, "Untitled Fox/DWA/Blue Sky Film" is listed next to each date on the schedule, implying that Fox has no idea what dates Blue Sky picked and what dates DreamWorks is eying down... A sort of anything goes approach. Going by DreamWorks and Blue Sky's patterns, I think this is what will happen...
There are two big issues with this slate...
DreamWorks' How To Train Your Dragon 3 is still scheduled for a June 17, 2016 release. That's the same day Pixar's summer 2016 film (presumably Dia De Los Muertos) will open. DreamWorks got the date first.
June 16, 2017 was nabbed by Disney first for an untitled Pixar film. Now Fox has this date...
Fox also changed the date for Blue Sky's untitled Peanuts film. Once scheduled for a November 6th release (same day as Disney/Marvel's Ant-Man), it's now opening on November 25, 2015... The same day as Pixar's Finding Dory!
Is it possible that Fox wants to pull a 1988 Universal on us and release a DreamWorks or Blue Sky film the same day a Disney or Pixar film comes out? Back in 1988, Universal famously released Don Bluth's The Land Before Time on the same day as Disney's Oliver & Company. The two high-profile releases went head-to-head in quite a box office battle, as both films were big. Domestically, Oliver grossed $53 million and Land took in $48 million. A year later, United Artists released Bluth's All Dogs Go To Heaven the same day as The Little Mermaid, but that whole strategy proved to be unwise in the end since Disney's critically acclaimed film crushed Bluth's at the box office. In 1991, Amblimation's An American Tail: Fievel Goes West was left in the dust as Beauty and the Beast broke records left and right.
With Disney becoming a titan again, distributors mostly avoided releasing the animated films they had on the same day as a Disney production. It didn't help that most of the stuff they had was much inferior to Disney's product at the time. Since the 1990s, we haven't seen such a battle happen. Times are different now, and the competitors to Disney and Pixar have above-average films that also make a boatload of money.
Do you think Fox will go through with their plans and release animated films the same day as the ones Disney plans to release? Do you think on Thanksgiving week in 2015, Finding Dory and Peanuts will open the same day? Or do you think someone is going to end up moving their films?
The competitive field has just gotten more interesting...
DreamWorks or Blue Sky?
March 10, 2017 - DreamWorks Film
June 16, 2017 - DreamWorks Film
July 21, 2017 - Blue Sky Film
November 3, 2017 - DreamWorks Film
December 20, 2017 - DreamWorks Film *or* Blue Sky Film
Wait... We have another problem here. Blue Sky hasn't released two films a year nor have they released a film during the holidays. Unless they start doing so by 2017, DreamWorks will occupy the December 2017 slot... But that would mean that four films will be released by the moon boy studio that year! Remember when that was supposed to happen for 2015? Didn't quite pan out, now did it?
I have a feeling that Blue Sky will ultimately end up releasing two films a year. Pixar is doing it, Disney is doing it, DreamWorks has been doing it for years... Now it's their turn.
December 20, 2017 - Blue Sky Film
March 23, 2018 - DreamWorks Film
June 29, 2018 - DreamWorks Film
July 20, 2018 - Blue Sky Film
November 2, 2018 - DreamWorks Film
December 20, 2018 - Blue Sky Film
So why do I think it'll be this way? Well, DreamWorks has been aiming for dates that are not too far Disney or Pixar's these days. For instance, in 2015, their B.O.O. opens just two weeks ahead of Pixar's Inside Out. In 2016, their Mumbai Musical comes two weeks after Disney's untitled March release and Trolls arrives weeks before Disney's untitled Thanksgiving week release.
Blue Sky also aims for April or July, the last time they released something in March was in 2008.
I'm just a bit shocked that the slate isn't clear cut. Surely it would note which studio's film will be hitting theaters on each date, right? Maybe an update will straighten things out, but this is what I'm assuming for now going by what happened in the past.
Anyways, it's not surprising that Fox has already fired back with their own big upcoming schedule but it looks like they are content with going head-to-head with Disney. Perhaps they are very confident since Blue Sky's films normally do incredibly well overseas and The Croods has made a whopping amount. This could either work out well or backfire horribly. What do you think will end up happening? Sound off!