Friday, August 22, 2014

Cavemen and Cats On the Move

Remember how Fox/DreamWorks initially intended to release The Croods 2 and Puss in Boots 2 on 11/3/2017 and 11/2/2018 respectively? Remember how Disney/Marvel Studios nabbed those dates… Well, someone moved. The boy on the moon did

The Croods 2 is now set to open on December 22, 2017 and Puss in Boots 2: Nine Lives & 40 Thieves will open on December 21, 2018.

But I don't really think those dates are going to work out. Why? Well, for starters… Star Wars. You can bet Episode VIII will be a December 2017 release, and spin-off movie #2 will be a December 2018 release. Disney wants a film every year, and it seems that December is now the new Star Wars hotspot. Star Wars attracts pretty much every demographic, so whatever these two films will have to rely on (families, non-parent adults and teens if the quality of the movies are good) might be scooped up by Star Wars. It's why I keep arguing that DreamWorks should move Kung Fu Panda 3 (currently 12/23/2015) away from Star Wars Episode VII (12/18/2015)…

I had also suggested that Kung Fu Panda 3 should switch spots with B.O.O., becoming DreamWorks' summer 2015 release while B.O.O. settles for a very appropriate October 2015 release in order to have breathing room and to take advantage of Halloween.

Now, someone might come here and mention… "But what about Madagascar? Back in 2005, that opened the week after Star Wars Episode III, and it did just fine!"

I considered this, but…

We have no idea what the quality of the J.J. Abrams-directed Lawrence Kasdan-written Episode VII will be like. Considering that Kasdan is writing it and Abrams is well-liked… Well outside of the Internet, that is. Never got the Abrams hate and never will. I like Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness as solid action films, I loved Super 8 very much, I'm also a huge fan of Cloverfield which he produced. Lots of audiences seem to like his work too, ditto critics. Episode VIII will be directed by the acclaimed Rian Johnson (Looper), so you have two potentially great Star Wars films, and spin-off #2 is also being helmed by Chronicle's Josh Trank… I don't think the DreamWorks films stand much of a chance, because again, everyone will probably instead flock to an iconic series. "Croods 2? Meh, I wanna see Star Wars!"

The prequel trilogy on the other hand… Madagascar actually opened at #3 back in 2005, with Episode III taking first place and The Longest Yard beating it out. However, $47 million was a more-than-fine opening for a computer animated film back then. Madagascar cost around $75 million, as opposed to the typical DreamWorks film costing $125-145 million today. The legs for Madagascar were great, though. It had many advantages, fortunately…

I'm not sure what the costs of the studio's films will be in 2017-2018, as DreamWorks does plan to dial down the film budgets, but still… Good domestic totals would be nice. DreamWorks would probably be overjoyed to not see anymore Kung Fu Panda 2/How To Train Your Dragon 2 situations, plus these sequels - if good/great - deserve to be seen in theaters.

Computer animated films also were a hotter property back in 2004-2005, as there weren't as many as there are now. Computer animated films were seen as a novelty back in 2005, because it was a fresh and new thing at the time. Nowadays, audiences are understandably choosy. They go see computer animated movies that they like, and avoid the crumby stuff. Shark Tale was a big hit in 2004, I doubt it would even make Turbo numbers today with its forced hipness and shoddy story/character work. Ditto something like Chicken Little, which boasts a higher domestic gross than Meet The RobinsonsBolt and The Princess and the Frog.

However, The Croods 2 and Puss in Boots 2 do have some advantages. They are sequels to successful films (The Croods in particular), though Puss in Boots 2 arriving so late could possibly be an issue, but we shall see. I don't think How To Train Your Dragon 2 opened soft because of a 4-year gap between the movies with the TV show in-between, I keep saying it was bad marketing that made it look like less of an event. I actually had rather low interest in seeing it, the only thing that was keeping me interested in the sequel were the early test screening reviews that said it was really good… And it was really good! I consider it to be DreamWorks' best…

That all being said, I feel that October spots are better for these films: Not as much competition from the big blockbuster tentpoles, and they'll have enough time and room to really breathe. The Lego Movie proved you that can release a good family-friendly animated film any time of the year, Gravity showed that a film can make a blockbuster total in October. Sony Animation scores with their last-week-of-September releases! Need I say anymore? There are no "dead" months in movies, a huge film can catch on anytime… As long as it looks good to audiences.

Also, the fact that Fox (they are most likely in charge of the release dates) has surrendered to Disney/Marvel implies that they may move other DreamWorks film they are currently pitting against other Disney releases, namely How To Train Your Dragon 3, which is still set to debut the same day as Pixar's Finding Dory. Maybe Kung Fu Panda 3 moves as well…


The Croods 2 - 10/6/2017
Marvel Untitled - 11/3/2017
Star Wars Episode VIII - 12/15/2017
Puss in Boots 2 - 10/5/2018
Marvel Untitled - 11/2/2018
Stars Wars Spin-Off - 12/14/2017

What do you think of these new dates?

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