Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Flyaway Dragon


The third chapter of the How To Train Your Dragon saga has been pushed back a year…

DreamWorks originally intended to release How To Train Your Dragon 3 on June 17, 2016. Months later, Disney claimed that date for a Pixar film that would later be Finding Dory, a box office smash in the making. Fox/DreamWorks clung on to the date up until now… But is the new date any good? I don't think so. Surprise surprise, I can be soooo predictable…

The only positive thing about the delay is that it gives the crew more time, because a 2-year-gap between Dragon 2 and Dragon 3 could've had negative effects on the third film's story. The new release date is June 9, 2017…

Why is it bad?

It's the week before Pixar's untitled summer 2017 release opens, their 6/16/2017 release. It's two weeks after The Lego Movie 2. It needs more breathing room than that. How To Train Your Dragon 2 struggled, legs-wise, at the box office without any competition in its way. If the third film is anything like the second in terms of tone and content (it most likely will be), it's going to have a hard time. Also, now DreamWorks has four films currently set for 2017: Captain Underpants (1/13/2017), untitled Bollywood musical (3/10/2017), this (6/9/2017) and The Croods 2 (12/22/2017)… I see a slate change coming, ASAP.

With Dragon 3 out of 2016, DreamWorks now has two films set for 2016. One in the spring (Boss Baby, 3/18/2016) and one in the autumn (Trolls, 11/4/2016)… DreamWorks may keep it that way, but they seem to want to release three films every calendar year. I say Kung Fu Panda 3 gets moved to a reasonable summer date if they can't move it to October.

I don't know, it just seems like whoever is picking the dates isn't paying attention to other studios. The new dates for Croods 2 and Puss in Boots 2 are going to be plucked by Disney for Star Wars films, why they didn't opt for October releases is beyond me. Why is Kung Fu Panda 3 still up against Star Wars Episode VII? DreamWorks' current slate needs a legitimate change-up, I'm sorry. I don't buy that animated films cannibalize each other, but damn, at least give them breathing room! There are other options!

Really, DreamWorks Animation's slate has now become a real mess. All that needs to be done is to move Kung Fu Panda 3 away from Episode VII, move the Croods and Puss in Boots sequels to October dates, and move Larrikins to a more reasonable February date or a January date (it's set to open the week after an untitled Warner Animation Group film)...

The slate needs a complete do-over, I think… Something like this…

Kung Fu Panda 3 - June 5, 2015: Moves it away from Star Wars and back in the summer spot that the series' films normally occupy. It's now between Monster Trucks and Inside Out. However, Monster Trucks is brand new, whereas Kung Fu Panda 3 is from a known series. Two weeks before Pixar's film gives it more than enough time to rack up some real numbers. Word of mouth will grow if it satisfies audiences, and it'll co-exist at the box office with Pixar's film. Paramount should think twice about Monster Trucks' date at this point. April 2015 is open… Just saying…

B.O.O. - October 16, 2015 - Being an original, B.O.O. should have more breathing room. An October release is just fine, since it's about ghosts. Keeps it a good distance from Hotel Transylvania 2 (9/25/2015) and Peanuts (11/6/2015). It'll probably not be affected too badly by Disney's live action Jungle Book (10/9/2015)…

Boss Baby - March 18, 2016 - Fine where it is. Two weeks away from Zootopia (3/4/2016), has all of April to itself. The two movies will co-exist at the box office if they satisfy audiences.

Bollywood Musical - May 13, 2016 - Forget the 6/17/2016 spot, 5/13/2016 is when Universal opens a new original R-rated comedy. This is different from sequels from proven brands, like The Hangover and 21 Jump Street. The PG-13 blockbusters won't hurt it, either. It'll hang on if good…

Trolls - November 4, 2016 - Fine where it is. No new animated film until Giants on 11/23/2016. No Marvel Studios film or Star Wars opening against it.

Captain Underpants - January 13, 2017 - Perfect spot for it.

How To Train Your Dragon 3 - March 10, 2017 - Going back to the March slot. Gives it A LOT of breathing room, too.

The Croods 2 - October 6, 2017 - Away from Star Wars, Marvel and other holiday rush titles, including ones from other animation studios like Illumination (11/17/2017) and Pixar (11/22/2017).

Larrikins - January 12, 2018 - A fine spot.

Madagascar 4 - May 18, 2018 - Good where it is, for now.

Puss in Boots 2 - October 5, 2018 - See Croods 2. Disney Animation opens a film 11/21/2018, a Star Wars film will most likely land in December 2018.

There you go.

How would you arrange DreamWorks' slate?

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