Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Move Panda, Move...

Now that Disney has announced the official release date for Star Wars: Episode VII, I think it's high time that 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks move a certain production out of the holiday season…

Kung Fu Panda 3 was initially announced as a March 2016 release, only to trade places with the tentatively-titled Mumbai Musical. Since last autumn, Kung Fu Panda 3 has been a Christmas 2015 release. The December 23rd date was locked many weeks before Disney announced the Lucasfilm acquisition.

But a year has passed and things have changed, as always in the ever-changing film world - especially in the animation world!

DreamWorks is adamant that they'll release three films every calendar year; next year we're getting Mr. Peabody & Sherman (March 7th), How To Train Your Dragon 2 (June 13th) and Home (November 26th)...

The other two films slated for release in 2015 are The Penguins of Madagascar (March 27th) and B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations (June 5th). The first one is good where it is, the second is crammed between Paramount Animation's Monster Trucks and Pixar's Inside Out, the latter of the two competitors could possibly hurt it. However, if Fox markets the ghostly film right and it turns out to be good, it should have no problem making a profit. Ghosts are an easier sell than done-to-death underdog stories about racer snails, anyway.

But Kung Fu Panda 3 opens five days after Episode VII. Episode VII will obviously appeal to everyone: Families, children, adults, teen moviegoers and everyone else in-between. Kung Fu Panda 3, like any good animated film, is aimed at the whole family as well along with mass audiences in general (no, not just children - contrary to stupid popular belief)… Having it open so close to such a hugely, no scratch that… Enormously anticipated film that's going to appeal to everyone is not a smart move.

DreamWorks needs to move it… But to where, is the question.

November 2015 is already loaded. Blue Sky's Peanuts, also distributed by Fox, is staying where it is (November 6th) since it may be a holiday-themed film and it is celebrating the 50th anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas. Pixar's The Good Dinosaur? Forget it, that's not moving, and that was delayed from a summer 2014 release!

September? Nahhh, Hotel Transylvania 2 is opening in the late spot that Sony Animation made successful for themselves.

DreamWorks also won't open a movie so close to another one of their own films, when it almost happened, it never did. Summer's too crowded as it is, and February is also taken by Paramount Animation's SpongeBob sequel… Unless they opt for another weekend, but for something like this?

If another, DreamWorks ought to be brave and try October. That's right, October.

I don't buy the whole "everything outside of May-July and November-December is the dumping ground" theory. If you release a damn good movie anytime, with the right marketing behind it, it'll do well. Just look at Gravity… The little October release that's on its way to gross $250 million domestically and possibly over $600 million worldwide.

Maybe it's time that the studios start looking into the other months. I also don't buy the "kids are in school" excuse, because Sony's animated films did well in the late September spots. Kung Fu Panda 3 can be a good-sized hit in October, because it'll have a lot of room to breathe and it'll continue to do well when Peanuts and The Good Dinosaur open, Star Wars: Episode VII on the other hand… Just… Not a good idea. Then Mission: Impossible 5 opens two days later. It's in trouble...

While the film will no doubt do well overseas, it needs to do well here. Kung Fu Panda 2 unfortunately lost a chunk of potential moviegoers because Paramount released it the same day as The Hangover Part II, which stole most of the teen and adult audience. Don't forget the lazy marketing campaign and general lack of hype. I'm hoping Fox corrects those errors for this third film; but the thing is, it's great that it is happening. Kung Fu Panda 2 managed to get sturdy legs and climbed to $165 million domestically, though logically it should've greatly increased from the original - perhaps even crack $300 million domestically.

Anyways, if DreamWorks wants the best possible success, then they should shoot for mid-October. April isn't wise, because The Avengers: Age of Ultron will annihilate it a few weeks later. May is off-limits, ditto July.

October 2015 it should be. What do you think? Do you think it's fine where it is? Or should it move? If not October, then where? Sound off below!


  1. Maybe it could move to January or early February 2015 and try a friday the 13th release date. It would not be 3 films a calendar year but be 2 and then four with a film in early 2015. It is the only time I can think of besides October.

    1. "SpongeBob SquarePants 2" comes out on February 13, 2015. Plus, I think that would be a little too close to "The Penguins of Madagascar". If DWA wants one film in the spring, one in the summer and one in the fall - October is their best bet, because "Star Wars" had to come out in 2015 (come on, Iger), when it should really in all honesty be a 2016 release.

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