How to Train Your Dragon

After Rise of the Guardians in November, DreamWorks Animation movies will no longer be distributed by Paramount. It’ll be the job of Fox, and it’s still a bit unclear what (if anything) that business switch will mean when it comes to style and quality. It might be a good faith agreement or it might be the kind of partnership where Fox has its fingers in several pies. One sign that it’ll be the latter option, or at the very least a sign of why Fox was so keen to partner up, is that DreamWorks’ slate for the next 3 years features a nice handful of sequels and spin-offs. Still, the bulk of the list is original concepts. That’s commendable.

Even more on the optimistic side, there are some really great bright spots amongst the list, and . Here are the dozen films that DreamWorks Animation has promised fans through 2016.

  •  The Croods – March 22, 2013 – A caveman comedy featuring the voices of Nic Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone and Catherine Keener
  • Turbo – July 19, 2013 – The story of a snail (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) who dreams of becoming the world’s fastest
  • Mr. Peabody and Sherman – November 1, 2013 – An adaptation of the Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoon featuring a boy and his genius dog who have to save history when a time machine is stolen
  • Me and My Shadow – March 14, 2014 – An adventurous shadow is stuck to a lame guy, but a crime forces Shadow Dan to take over control of Dan’s body in an attempt to save both worlds and teach Dan to be a little bit more courageous
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2 – June 20, 2014 – The sequel to the highly celebrated story of a few oddballs, one of which who breathes fire and flies
  • Happy Smekday! - November 26, 2014 – From director Tim Johnson (Antz), the story of a group of aliens who decide to hide on Earth from dangerous foes
  • The Penguins of Madagascar – March 27, 2015 – A spin-off of the Madagascar series, or, a feature length version of the spin-off short films featuring the wily penguins of the Madagascar franchise
  • Trolls – June 5, 2015 – The origin story of trolls, featuring the voices of Chloe Moretz and Jason Schwartzman
  • B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations - November 6, 2015 – Seth Rogen voices a ghost who is terrible at haunting
  • Kung Fu Panda 3 - March 18, 2016 – Jack Black back for more action
  • How to Train Your Dragon 3 – June 28, 2016 – A remedial course

It goes without saying that this is a massive undertaking to publicly announce, but the projects furthest out on the timeline are also the safest. It’s nice to see they’ll still get life out of the Madagascar series after doing a third entry, and it’s clear they’ve bought stock in training dragons and fighting pandas. However, 75% of this list is original, and a lot of the ideas are fantastic.

The list also represents a big question mark for the movie Alma, an adaptation of the short film from Rordigo Blaas about a little girl who sees a doll that looks just like her inside a sinister toy shop. Maybe there’s room for it in November 2016.

There are some clever ideas here, some that could yield the sort of all-ages humor that DreamWorks has been able to generate, so it looks like we might be in for some fun in upcoming years. What do you think? Which movie are you looking forward to the most? [Variety]

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