Saturday, June 18, 2016

Soaring Ahead: Fox/DreamWorks Moves 'How To Train Your Dragon 3' Up a Month

The Moon Boy studio’s slate has seen yet another adjustment...

How To Train Your Dragon 3 has moved into the spot that The Lego Movie Sequel vacated the other day: May 18, 2018. It was obvious that Dragon 3 was going to move because distributor Fox recently slated an untitled X-Men movie in its previous spot - 6/29/2018...

At first, I thought that this meant Fox was going to lose the film and that it would be picked up by Universal at the end of this year, but it appears that the film is still in Fox’s hands. According to Box Office Mojo at least, a site that - to me - has little by little become quite unreliable with release dates these days. (I'm still waiting for them to put those fall 2018 and fall 2019 Disney Animation films back on their schedule, among other adjustments.)

So that makes for two moves for DreamWorks. The Boss Baby moved a few spaces back to 3/31/2017 in order to not get eaten by Beauty and the Beast, and now this film moved ahead a couple spaces.

I don’t think the new release date is all that great though, for it does have to face holdovers from Avengers: Infinity War, Part I... And the untitled Star Wars Anthology story about Han Solo the weekend after, and other summer competition. Fox better, and I mean better put together a strong marketing campaign for this movie, because they kind of fumbled with the previous entry.

The pros? Well, at least it isn’t opening against a hotly-anticipated comedy sequel that will siphon away lots of teen and adult audiences. I truly believe that opening against 22 Jump Street was part of Dragon 2’s problem, among other things. The same applies to Kung Fu Panda 2, which opened against The Hangover Part II back in late spring 2011. Nothing else holds the 5/18/2018 slot, so at least Dragon 3 can have some room to breathe on opening weekend... If Fox makes the picture look appealing to audiences so that it’ll open well in case its legs aren’t great.

While How To Train Your Dragon had surprising and excellent longevity at the box office in the spring of 2010, Dragon 2 did not. Dragon made 5x its opening, Dragon 2 made 3.6x its opening. It wasn’t a case of being frontloaded, for Dragon 2 only opened with a little bit more than its predecessor - perhaps the darker tone and content pushed away some family audiences? Maybe the story just didn’t resonate with many audiences for some odd reason? (I personally thought it was better than the first one by a country mile, but I’m not everyone.)

With reports indicating that the studio's Larrikins will be scooped up by Universal following the Comcast acquisition of DreamWorks at the end of the year, I have a feeling that Larrikins could open after Dragon 3, but other reports indicate that it could very well enter production to make the current Q1 2018 release date.

Anyways, hopefully Fox markets what will and should be a fine closing to a solid trilogy with all their might. Hopefully we get a new date for The Croods 2 that spaces it away from Episode VIII, and their slate should be a-ok till the very end.

But Fox... Put your all into these movies! Besides Home, nothing from DreamWorks or Blue Sky has opened with over $50 million at the domestic box office in years!

What say you?

1 comment:

  1. I still think this film will be picked up by Universal and here's why:

    After the acquisition finalizes, DreamWorks will release the Captain Underpants teaser with the Universal logo on it, which will then appear on that film and all films following it. I also think that The Boss Baby will be snatched by Universal, but since the promo materials already used the FOX logo, they're going to keep it on the movie's start, but at the end, they'll say "Released by Universal Studios". What do you think?