Thursday, May 26, 2016

Moon Shifting: DreamWorks Gets New Head of Development, Details on 'Larrikins' Revealed

It seems like DreamWorks, hot on the heels of the announcement that Comcast will acquire them at the end of the year, has some more steps to take on their road to recovery...

They now have a new head of development, Jennifer Howell from Paramount, who was the head of their comedy television output for a while. She is also notable for her producing work on South Park, and she also voices Bebe Stevens on the show. The previous head, Gregg Taylor, will remain at the studio and will focus his attention on producing Larrikins, the Australian-set musical adventure set for an early 2018 release.

Deadline revealed more details on that quirky-sounding picture. Not only will the film be directed by Tim Minchin (composer/lyricist for Matilda the Musical), it'll also be directed by Puss in Boots director/longtime story artist Chris Miller. Harry Cripps is writing, and Minchin will of course be doing the music for it. The new synopsis adds a little more to what we already know. The main character, a bilby, has lived under a rock his whole life and is finally kicked out by his parents... Told to "get a life", he goes on a road trip with a rock n' roll band that takes him across the Outback.

Out of all the films currently on DreamWorks' slate, this one excites me the most. Ever since it was announced in mid-2013, I was all for it. It's an original story, has a very quirky vibe to it, has an eccentric talent behind it, and will be a rock n' roll Australian-set musical that will be a lot like The Gods Must Be Crazy. That just sounds... Awesome. Trolls and Boss Baby look and sound safe by comparison, if you ask me.

It's good to know that it's gaining traction. Margot Robbie has apparently been attached to voice someone in it, too, which is good. Deadline also points out that the picture could become a Universal release. Prior to the announcement of the acquisition, it seemed certain that Fox would distribute every new DreamWorks release up until mid-2018. I wondered after the announcement... Will some of the Fox pictures end up becoming Universal releases? Could Comcast/Universal pull a Marvel with them?

What do I mean by that?

When Marvel was acquired by Disney in August 2009, the third movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe - Iron Man 2 - was nearing completion. Paramount was set to distribute the future MCU films, minus any future Hulk films, which would be handled by Universal. By mid-2010, Paramount had four more MCU pictures slated: Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, and Iron Man 3. Nothing beyond that.

After Disney acquired them, Disney eventually became the distributor of the latter two films. However, Paramount's logo would appear at the beginning of both films, and their logo would also be shown in the marketing and on merchandise, with no mention of Disney anywhere. The same applied to their home media releases. The only mention of Disney anywhere in those two films was at the very end.

Why was that? Disney had worked something out with Paramount, Paramount would get the upper hand in terms of logos, and a nice $115 million for the two films. Thor: The Dark World was the first MCU film to be a Disney release through-and-through... It opened with a brand new Marvel Studios logo. The Marvel movies don't open with a Disney logo in any form, "Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures" is saved for the very end of the credits, the same goes for all Disney-Lucasfilm projects.

Perhaps this could happen with the remaining Fox-DreamWorks titles. Universal distributes, but there's some sort of stipulation that allows Fox to keep their logos on the films/marketing campaigns. Or maybe that won't happen at all, maybe the films will be wrenched right out of Fox's grip. Who knows! That deal is tentatively set to end with the June 2018 release of How To Train Your Dragon 3...

It'll be interesting to see how this all unfolds, but for the time being, Larrikins sounds amazing, it's good to hear that DreamWorks is making some steps, and then some. What say you?


  1. Wow, now I Am more exited about Larrikins, it will have the same style like The rescuers Down under

  2. I actually could see that happening. Just think. After the 20th Century Fox logo, we get custom-made variants of both the Universal & DreamWorks logos that can somehow segue into each other.

  3. I was excited for Larrikins but if it is just a road trip film it looses my interest (unless there is some great original music). And I do not know why someone who has never directed anything apparently is directing it.