DreamWorks Animation entering 2020

Hello everyone. To slowly get back into the groove of things blog-wise, I am going to give slight recaps of each major animation company over the last few years, what is planned for the next few years, and my opinion on it all. And since I started this blog talking about DreamWorks Animation, it is only fitting to start talking about them first now.

I don’t know if other bloggers do this, but it’s always funny and interesting to go back, and read previous blog posts from years ago. Due to this, I am not going to waste much time recapping their events over the last few years, since I’ve kind of already done it.

DreamWorks Up To This Point

We all know about the countless layoffs that has taken place in the company over the last 7 years, the poor quarterly returns through certain years, the box office flops, and the change in leadership, management, distribution, so on and so forth. In my most recent post about them 3 years ago, I discussed that new management cancelled the films “Larrikins” and “The Croods 2” (the latter has since been picked back up), which were planned to be more serious movies, and that “Trolls 2” was picked up right after the first movie made it’s run, despite being a huge success.

I discussed that it seemed like under Universal, they were planning on focusing on more lighthearted projects, and giving sequels to many projects that would fulfill that, even if they were huge successes. This was in early 2017, and the films “The Boss Baby” and “Captain Underpants” were released to fulfill DreamWorks’ contract with 20th Century Fox. The former managed to make $528 million worldwide, and the latter made $125 million worldwide.

Finally being able to put their connection with Universal to use, “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” came out in early 2019 to make $519 million, which was less than its predecessor, was the final film in the franchise, and was soon overshadowed by “Toy Story 4” and “Frozen 2”, which both grossed a billion dollars each. “Abominable” came out in September of last year, and I still need to watch it myself. It made $189 million worldwide.

DreamWorks In The Present/Near Future

For this year, “Trolls World Tour” is confirmed to be released in April, and “The Croods 2” is confirmed to be released in December. Production hell for “The Croods 2” has been ongoing for years, since it was cancelled in 2016, was re-greenlit, was supposed to be released in 2017 and 2018, only for more delays to take place. It seems like things are more stable, and changing the release date at this point seems unlikely.

“The Boss Baby 2” is confirmed for March 2021, and an untitled “Spirit Riding Free” movie is confirmed for May of that year too. I do remember talking about how the series was based on “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron”, but have never bothered to catch up on the show. It has managed to get 8 seasons, and has proven to be successful, hence the movie. There is a third movie slated for 2021 called “The Bad Guys”, and I have no idea what it is about.

Two untitled films are slated for April 2022, and April 2023.

I don’t really know if any of them are going to do HUGE numbers, but consistent and large enough numbers is what I would predict for the films this year. It has been a while since “The Croods”, so maybe the novelty wore off, and “Trolls” wasn’t a huge success anyways. I predict “How to Train Your Dragon 3” numbers for them both, and I am unsure about the critical success rate. I think it’s clear that DreamWorks will almost never get the critical accolades compared to their competition, even with their best films, as they’ve often been overlooked.

2021 seems like a repeat of 2010 and 2014, which IS NOT good. Both of those years had 3 films released in a year, and it often backfired, since there’s always one or two films in that year which underperform, especially compared to the large production and promotional budgets for these films. It’s even more dangerous for DreamWorks at this point, since they have not been performing consistently large numbers to warrant all of this. There is some time for one of those films to be pushed back though, but the fact that they would even consider releasing 3 films in a year is worrisome.

What I think DreamWorks needs to do? I think they need to find a lane for themselves, and to improve their storytelling on a more consistent basis, while changing their humour. It’s clear that their formula is not working for them anymore (Illumination pretty much exemplifying their formula doesn’t help either), and people are starting to forget about them. Whatever they did during the late 2000s and early 2010s is what they need to do again. I don’t really think they learned much from this turbulent decade to be honest, but I hope things become more stable, and they just don’t become Illumination 2.0.

One thought on “DreamWorks Animation entering 2020

  1. Dreamworks needs to have a more consistent brand like Pixar and Disney has to keep box office numbers (and you know, make better films) and part of that is that they should have more of an identity. They did have more comedic most animal animation identity in the 00s but since then BlueSky too some of the box office and Illumination has more comedic identity. Maybe they should go back to the more darker stories of late 90s.

    And I need to read this blog more regularly, sorry!

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