Friday, February 3, 2017

Ready to Fly: 'Captain Underpants' Teaser Poster Surfaces

As they say, have no fear... The first poster for Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is here.

DreamWorks' Captain Underpants is a particularly interesting production. The studio outsourced their adaptation of Dav Pilkey's irreverent gross-out book series to Mikros Image in Montreal. Their plan was to get it made for a lower cost than their in-house films. It was a very smart move, for DreamWorks had been suffering for a while and losing lots of money on costly animated features that perhaps weren't destined to magically pull ridiculous numbers out of hat. Captain Underpants isn't quite an adult-skewing property, so I think they did the right thing.

The film also boasts a more unique animation style, and looks to be a mixed media kinda feature, using stop-motion, sock-puppets and (gasp!) traditional animation. With a smaller budget, I feel you can take more visual risks like that. It seems like DreamWorks won't shy away from outsourcing, as 2019's Everest will be done by their Shanghai studio for - presumably - a much lower cost. These kinds of movies will sit well with the mainline heavies, not dissimilar to how Disney Feature Animation's defunct Orlando unit made smaller pics (Lilo & Stitch, Brother Bear) while the Burbank building unleashed the big, costly films.

Since The Lego Batman Movie is right around the corner, it's time to start plugging this June title. Fox and DreamWorks have currently been marketing The Boss Baby, due out in over a month. I figured they'd have to start the campaign for Captain Underpants soon, but the good thing is, they don't need to make Trolls numbers if the budget for this thing turns out to be something like $70 million. The Boss Baby is the mainline California production, so they need that to be the biggie. Whether it'll make its money back or not, remains to be seen. All I know is, it's all over my theater.

As many of you may know, this will be the last DreamWorks Animation film to be distributed by 20th Century Fox. Universal will take control of the ship after that film is released. Their first DreamWorks movie is Larrikins, set to open a little over a year from now. Where's the concept art, DreamWorks? Where's the first look? What's going on with it?

Anyways, as I've said before, I certainly hope this "First Epic Movie" can stretch the fun of the books to 90 minutes, and engage both adults and kids alike. This movie is a part of Jeffrey Katzenberg's plan that was launched in early 2015, when he sought to be more involved with the animated movies again following the company's big collapse. His goal was to have the studio make innocuous comedy movies that were aimed at "kids and their mothers", and these two pics began production during that time. Katzenberg retired after Comcast bought DreamWorks, so maybe Captain Underpants will be the end of an era...

I dig the poster, though. That comic style is there, and the other images we've seen show how different the animation style will be, how more Peanuts Movie-esque it is. I'm looking to forward to the visuals for the time being, I'm on the fence about the story and writing.

What say you?

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