Sunday, March 5, 2017

Leaving the Outback: DreamWorks Cancels 'Larrikins'

DreamWorks' weirdo-sounding Outback musical Larrikins has been left to die in the desert...

Musician/songwriter/comedian Tim Minchin, who conceived the Australian-set rock-and-roll musical, revealed this recently... He is quite distraught...

I’ve recently been working in 3 different continents, missing my kids a lot, sleeping too little and not playing piano enough.

And then a couple of days ago, the animated film to which I’ve dedicated the last 4 years of my life was shut down by the new studio execs.

The only way I know how to deal with my impotent fury and sadness is to subject members of the public to the spectacle of me getting drunk and playing ballads.

I shouldn't be surprised, because DreamWorks in the recent years has canceled projects that I was very excited about. The traditionally-animated/CG hybrid Me and My Shadow got the axe many moons ago and got recooked into the presumably all-CG feature Shadows, and a Mumbai-set musical about monkeys got shuttered a few years ago as well. Instead, they pushed for safe-as-vanilla fodder like The Boss Baby.

Larrikins seemed to be up in the air when Comcast acquired DreamWorks this past autumn. The movie was set to come out in mid-February of next year, but DreamWorks was very hush-hush on it. No logo, no concept artwork, no information. I assumed this was so because of the transitioning, and all the changes in management and such, but no... Larrikins is dead. Like Bollywood Superstar Monkey and Me and My Shadow before it, it's not happening. It'll join those two, alongside The Croods 2 and B.O.O., in the morgue.

This also means that DreamWorks will not release a single picture next year. 2018 will be the first year without a DreamWorks movie since... 1999.

We can speculate all we want for the time being. Was it canceled because it was too weird for them? Not candy-coated Trolls-y enough? Or was it actually a hot mess? I remember hearing rumors that the picture was going to be "pulled back into story", despite keeping its early 2018 release date. All I can say is, having been exciting for the project since the day it was announced in 2013, I am officially bummed.

While DreamWorks has How To Train Your Dragon 3, the interesting-sounding Everest (no longer an Oriental DreamWorks project, which may or may not spell trouble), and Shadows (recooked or not, Edgar Wright is currently set to direct it) on the horizon... I can't help but worry a bit. Maybe those concerns of Comcast turning DreamWorks into a reliable Illumination-like machine without much of an identity are valid after all, or maybe not. Again, we know very little. We haven't seen reels of Larrikins, we have next to no idea of what this thing was even going to be like. What even is new leader Chris DeFaria's plan for the studio?

I wouldn't set my phasers from worry to flip out just yet, but... Well... Given how things tend to go in mainstream animation-land, I am not too optimistic about what DreamWorks could mutate into in the next 3-5 years. More context on Larrikins' shut-down would be nice, but it to me is bad news all around. Larrikins sounded like something above the likes of The Boss Baby and even the psychedelic Trolls, something quirky and different, directed by someone from the outside... But like many cool-sounding projects that get conceived in this field, it was kicked out the door...


  1. If DreamWorks still wants to have a movie out in 2018, they should convince Aardman to team up with them again for the US distribution of Early Man.

    1. Aardman has not been doing that well recently so I doupt Dreamworks would like to do that.

    2. Maybe, but I was thinking that with a well-oiled hit machine like Universal, they could have another Chicken Run-sized success.

    3. Don't count on it, Ethan. No mainstream movie studio wants anything but CGI released theatrically at this point. Any animated film that isn't computer-generated is considered box-office poison by modern Hollywood.

  2. I'm so furious! I feel like suing them or even making a slanderous comic about them, but I can't do that.

  3. Those guys should be sued for cancelling the Larrikins movie without proving it. Besides, DreamWorks Animation needs to have at least one movie for 2018, so that way it would have the very first film to be distributed by Universal Studios.

    1. Don't panic. Dragon 3, while it does open in 2019, will still be released by Universal.

      Although it is possible that since Everest was brought back to Glendale, it'll get bumped up to sometime in 2018. I reckon that if Illumination has to delay Grinch again to 2019, then perhaps it could take the 11/9/2018 spot.