The slate of films from DreamWorks Animation includes the newly announced “B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherwordly Operations,” voiced by Seth Rogen, and “How to Train Your Dragon 3.”
Kicking off their new partnership, 20th Century Fox has set release dates for 12 DreamWorks Animation movies through the middle of 2016, marking the most ambitious slate for an animation house in Hollywood history.
According to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, The 12 DWA films include newly announced B.O.O: Bureau of Otherwordly Operations, set to hit theaters on November 6, 2015, and How to Train Your Dragon 3, which is dated for June 18, 2016, and sees the return of Dean DeBlois in the director’s chair.
The Seth Rogen-voiced Bureau of Otherworldly Operations is based on an original idea by Tony Leondis (Igor), who is directing the ghost feature. It is produced by Maryann Garger (Flushed Away) and the screenplay is being written by Tom Wheeler (Puss in Boots).
"This is the moment when we can declare that we will have three films a year going forward on a continuing basis," DWA chief creative officer Bill Damaschke said. And, in of 2015, there will be four titles.
"Every one of the movies in our lineup – whether it is an original film or a sequel to one of our beloved franchises – comes from the unique and special vision of our filmmakers, and we look forward to joining together with Fox to make them available to family audiences starting next year," Damaschke said.
The other titles and dates are: The Croods (March 22, 2013), Turbo (July 19, 2013), Mr. Peabody & Sherman (November 1, 2013), Me and My Shadow (March 14, 2014), How to Train Your Dragon 2 (June 20, 2014), Happy Smekday! (November 26, 2014), The Penguins of Madagascar (March 27, 2015), Trolls (working title, June 5, 2015), Mumbai Musical (working title, Dec. 19, 2015) and Kung Fu Panda 3 (March 18, 2016).
Fox's upcoming in-house animation slate includes Epic (May 24, 2013), Rio 2 (April 14, 2014).
While DWA's movies themselves have been in the works for years, Jeffrey Katzenberg's company held back on dating many of them -- or even revealing some of them, in the case of B.O.O. and Dragon 3 -- until it knew who its new distribution partner would be upon ending its deal with Paramount at the end of this year.
That new partner is Fox, which has its own successful animation operation in Fox Animation Studios and Blue Sky Studios. The addition of DWA movies to its pipeline gives the studio enviable leverage in the family market.
"When I look at these movies, I am so proud because they are the results of years of work. This last year, while we waited to find out who our new partner would be, we could have targets for them. It was fantastic to be finally be able to sit down with Fox and date them. We've come up with a great release plan," Damaschke said.
The only other year when DreamWorks Animation has had three titles was in 2010 (How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek Forever After and Megamind. This year, the company has two, the summer 2012 tentpole, Madgascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, and Rise of the Guardians, in theaters Nov. 21.
"It's unprecendented for any studio to do three animated films in a year and they've been gearing up for some time," Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman-CEO Jim Gianopulos said.
He and fellow Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman-CEO Tom Rothman added: “We have had the privilege not only to view many of these films in their various stages but also to meet the incredible leadership teams behind each one, and we are very confident about DreamWorks Animation’s robust future slate."
Fox's 2012 summer tentpole Ice Age: Continental Drift is the number three grossing film of the year, earning upwards of $840 million to date.
Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.