Friday, June 13, 2014
Slates and Dates
Well, now that the dust has settled, let's take a look at Fox's current animation slate…
This slate, of course, covers everything: DreamWorks, Blue Sky, Fox Animation Studios and possibly Reel FX. In May 2013, in response to Disney claiming 2016-2018 dates for upcoming Disney Animation and Pixar films (they were specifically labeled, too), Fox struck back with their own massive slate that went up to 2018.
Each film on the slate was labelled "Untitled Fox/DWA/Blue Sky"… 5 dates were secured in 2017, another 5 were secured in 2018.
DreamWorks tends to release a maximum of three animated movies in a calendar. The first time they did this was in 2010 with How To Train Your Dragon, Shrek Forever After and Megamind. This year, they have done it with Mr. Peabody & Sherman, How To Train Your Dragon 2 and Penguins of Madagascar and will do it again in each of the next four years… Well, now we know they'll do it for 2017 and 2018…
Anyways, I figured that DreamWorks would release 3 films and Blue Sky would ramp up production and release 2 films every calendar year starting in 2017. Prior to all these dates being picked, Blue Sky had Ferdinand slated for April 2017. That, to me, meant that 12/20/2017 could've been the Connecticut studio's second release that year if they were willing to ready 2 films in a single year. But maybe Fox Animation had something planned for 2017, because Fox Animation is a thing. They've got a bunch of projects lined up too. Reel FX's The Book of Life is being released by Fox this autumn, which implies that Fox will distribute future Reel FX films. Doesn't hurt to have four animation houses under your wing.
After all, they are in competition with the Mouse. The Mouse has Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, DisneyToon Studios, Lucasfilm Animation, the whole shebang…
The slate looked like this (leaving out Ferdinand, since that was announced prior to this slate)…
March 10, 2017
June 16, 2017
July 21, 2017
November 3, 2017
December 20, 2017
March 23, 2018
June 29, 2018
July 13, 2018
November 2, 2018
December 20, 2018
They certainly had a lot of slots to fill! Only one film got one of those dates, Anubis. Blue Sky/Fox Animation's co-production film based on The Anubis Tapestry: Between Twilights was originally set for summer 2016 before the fifth Ice Age booted it out of the spot. But then I said to myself recently, "You know, let's just see what happens. Maybe a lot of those dates won't be used. Musical chairs happens all the time with these studios and release dates."
What DreamWorks revealed yesterday mostly deviated from that slate. Here is their current 2017-2018 game plan…
Captain Underpants - January 13, 2017
Untitled Bollywood Musical - March 10, 2017
The Croods 2 - November 3, 2017
Larrikins - February 16, 2018
Madagascar 4 - May 18, 2018
Puss in Boots 2: Nine Lives & 40 Thieves - November 2, 2018
Only 3 dates from the 2017-2018 slate were picked. What films will nab the rest? Blue Sky films? Fox Animation projects? Reel FX films, maybe?
It's interesting to note that DreamWorks will now be taking advantage of January and February. This year's The Nut Job and The Lego Movie proved that you can release an animated film during that time and score success. The Nut Job happened to be profitable because it cost little to make, it was by no means a popular film. The Lego Movie was huge, it appealed to moviegoers of all ages. It was going to be a success no matter when it came out, it could've been released during the dead middle of August or whatever and it still would've done fine.
This slate also proves that DreamWorks won't release more than three films every calendar year, because with those summer slots that Fox got for 2017 and 2018, they have every opportunity to release more than three films a year… But they won't, they know their limits. So that leads to me ask: Are they letting the likes of Blue Sky, Fox Animation and Reel FX get those other spots? Or do they plan on not using those dates anymore?
Logically, I can see something like this happening if they do the former…
Captain Underpants (DWA) - January 13, 2017
Untitled Bollywood Musical (DWA) - March 10, 2017
Ferdinand (Blue Sky) - April 7, 2017
Untitled Fox Anim or Reel FX - June 16, 2017
Untitled Fox Anim or Reel FX - July 21, 2017
The Croods 2 (DWA) - November 3, 2017
Untitled Blue Sky Film - December 20, 2017
Larrikins (DWA) - February 16, 2018
Anubis (Blue Sky) - March 23, 2018
Madagascar 4 (DWA) - May 18, 2018
Untitled Fox Anim/Reel FX - June 29, 2018
Untitled Fox Anim/Reel FX - July 20, 2018
Puss in Boots 2 (DWA) - November 2, 2018
Untitled Blue Sky Film - December 21, 2018
Fox would have one hell of a game plan if they did this. They'd give all their studios' films fair release dates. Reel FX, if their future films are Fox releases, can score summer hits. Fox Animation could let their projects shine, too.
How would you fill in the blanks? Will Fox use those other spots? Sound off below!