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DreamWorks Animation Ambition: 12 Features in 3-1/2 Years

DreamWorks Animation has unveiled the most ambitious animated feature slate of any cartoon studio in history. Beginning next spring, DreamWorks will release a total of 12 features in 3-1/2 years under their new distribution deal with Fox.

More details about DreamWorks’ plans can be found at the Wall Street Journal and The Hollywood Reporter. Here is the list of films and release dates:

The Croods (March 22, 2013)
Turbo (July 19, 2013)
Mr. Peabody & Sherman (Nov. 1, 2013)
Me and My Shadow (March 14, 2014)
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (June 20, 2014)
Happy Smekday! (Nov. 26, 2014)
The Penguins of Madagascar (March 27, 2015)
Trolls (working title, June 5, 2015)
B.O.O: Bureau of Otherwordly Operations (Nov. 6, 2015)
Mumbai Musical (working title, Dec. 19, 2015)
Kung Fu Panda 3 (March 18, 2016)
How to Train Your Dragon 3 (June 18, 2016)

  • I particularly like that sequels are less than 50% of the schedule. Very cool!

  • Eman

    Long as they keep the quality up.

  • Laura H

    Maybe that means they will be hiring! Or it will all just go to China.

  • your neighbour

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  • akira

    imho future dreamworks is kicking future disney/pixar butt

  • James

    I believe the new production studio in China will help make this possible. Kung Fu Panda 3 is a confirmed project for that studio.

    Is there also an Indian studio that is going to be taking care of “Mumbai Musical?”

    • Hank

      Yes. Entirely.

  • Great news for the animation industry! Dreamworks keeps on dreaming BIG.

    • Schultz!!!!!

      Dreaming BIG = flooding the market. And I’m sorry, but quality and quantity are rarely found together in the art world, especially the corporate art world.

  • Will they make shorts?

  • And their still not hiring? Lauras right, China or India.

  • I find this fascinating, specifically how many unique titles I’m seeing rather than churning out a bunch of sequels/prequels!

    Given that they’ve been improving the quality and originality of their releases recently, I’m looking forward to seeing how they do with such an ambitious plan.

  • Wellll, it seems to me lots of there films feel rushed because they HAVE to be: because they always try to and manage to put out two a year, and NOW they’re trying for three or four. Lets just hope that, if they decide they gotta push one back for the sake of quality, Fox won’t demand they do

  • Taco Wiz

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  • EHH

    Am I the only one who is worried about quantity over quality?

    • mysteriousanimatorx

      No, you are not.

  • mysteriousanimatorx

    I like Dreamworks, but I am somewhat put off by all the sequels to these existing properties. It’ll be great for animators to be able to work, I just wish they’d acquire the rights to more ORIGINAL properties and step outside their franchise box.

    • Aymanut

      Eh, only a third of these are sequels, I’d say for any film company these days that’s a pretty good average. It’s better than Pixar has been lately.

    • burymylovely

      ?? Your comment is strange. Four of the twelve films are sequel/spinoffs. That’s 1/3 of their slate and makes for a better track record than Pixar as of late. Even if you count the Tv adaptation (Peabody & Sherman) and the book adaptation (Smekday) That still leaves 6 original features over 4 years. Nothing to sneeze at really.

      PS – I do have the sneaking suspicion that one of those “original” movies is another book adaptation. But there’s not enough info on them yet, so I can’t verify.

  • Toonio

    It looks quite aggressive and my concerns would be employees burning out left and right.

    Apart China, I’m guessing they’ll use lots of “ghost” studios to do most of the work to let them focus on key sequences, story telling and such.

    And like R&H, looks like the new Dreamworks pipeline got more efficient.

    Good luck Dreamworks!

    • James

      “I’m guessing they’ll use lots of “ghost” studios to do most of the work to let them focus on key sequences, story telling and such.”

      Most certainly. “Puss in Boots” was the first of likely many future films in which Dreamworks’ Bangalore, India studio was used to help produce and animate scenes for a feature film. For three significant scenes, the Bangalore studio did everything outside of storyboarding. Previously the Bangalore studio just did supplemental animation such as direct-to-video or DVD/Blu-ray extra features.

    • burymylovely

      Fortunately, Dreamworks hires most if not all of their people as full time employees and they work 50 hours or less a week. There’s no “crunch time” 80 hour a week bull crap. So no matter how many films they are doing, their people just go to work in the morning and come home in the evening. Katzenburg has publicly stated he wants to top Fortune’s 100 best companies to work for, so I don’t think that’s changing any time soon.

      As for “ghost” studios, Dreamworks doesn’t use them. Everything thing is done in house, on campus. Their Glendale studio heads most of the films, their PDI redwood studio upstate usually takes the lead on a couple films (Megamind is one example) and a few sequences go to the studio in India. From what I’ve heard, the India studio will be taking on a heavier amount with the Monkeys of Bollywood movie. Given that that movie is being made in collaboration with Indian artists, that makes sense.

      note: the only exception to this rule I’ve heard of was the 2D work in the Kung Fu Panda opening. Obviously Dreamworks no longer has a 2D pipeline in place, so they farmed the work out. And I hardly consider James Baxter Animation Studios to be very ghosty, since everyone knows he works there and they were prominently credited for their work.

      As for the China studio, the studio is a joint venture with Chinese business partners. Unlike the India studio, it is not solely owned by DW. As of yet they have NO plans to work on DWA features. They will be making original Chinese language movies with Chinese directors. There are rumors swirling around about them working on KFP3, but that’s all it is, rumors. If that changes, I’m sure we’ll all hear about it from multiple sources, because DW does not tread lightly.

      • Actually all the 2d work is done at the Glendale campus where James Baxter works at. James studio closed down a long tome ago. If any 2d needs to be done it really does not need some crazy pipeline setup. Also Ken Duncans studio is used as well for 2d work. As far as all these films, the more the merrier as long as they are putting out good content and as of late DreamWorks has been doing that. I still feel HTTYD was their best.

      • Um…..

        I don’t know what cloud you fell out of….. But if you believe that Artists at Dreamworks don’t work more than 50 hour weeks…. I’ve got a couple bridges I’d like to sell you. I work there now, and we bust our ass, and work 6-7 day weeks during crunch.

        • If you work in animation then yes you work OT and plenty of it. Dreamworks has the 50 hour work week as does Sony depending on your contract. While I was at Disney we were still doing 40 hour weeks but that was in 2009, I believe in 2010 they changed to 45 hours a week. Now to explain this to people not working at places like these you are paid for a regular 40 hours and the other 10 would be at time and a half. By doing this they can pay a bit less on average by spreading the cost out over 50 hours.

      • Glen

        And the Indian studio subcontracts the work to smaller studios in India and elsewhere.

  • Y’know how Pixar is to Disney and DreamWorks was to Paramount? Now that it’s going to FOX, what happens to Blue Sky? Who’ll distribute THEM?

    • Your analogy is incorrect. Pixar is OWNED by Disney. DreamWorks Animation had a distribution deal with Paramount. Two very different things.

      Now, DreamWorks has a distribution pact with Fox. And Fox OWNS Blue Sky.

      • Good to know. My mistake.

  • Alissa

    Kinda worried about the sheer quantity, but at least the titles are rather intriguing.

  • wever

    Nevermind the other films! I’m most interested to see how they’ll get away with ‘Smexday’ in a CG film!

  • Brett

    Is anyone at all concerned about over-saturation? It’ll be interesting to see if the market can support this many animated features on top of the releases by Pixar, Disney, Laika, etc.

    • wever

      I am. SO much. We all thought they were crazy for daring to pull out 2 films a year…… and they did it. For 4 years now. I just don’t want DreamWorks taking over the WOOOOOOORLD MUAHAHAHA!

  • Hopefully this doesn’t lead to a crash in over saturation of animated films being out there.

  • tamer

    While this sounds like a good thing on paper, am I the only one turned off by the designs in the picture attached to this post…I really don’t like the aesthetic of it…

    Let’s just hope this jam-packed schedule will lead to more good things from Dreamworks.

  • John

    Why are they taking so long to do Kung Fu Panda 3? Is it because they have to train the animators in China before they work on it?

  • Jen

    Guess Alma isn’t happening. :/
    Everything else looks great though. And I too am glad the majority of these aren’t sequels.

  • Sarah J

    I just hope that they don’t put quantity over quality. But when Dreamworks is good, they’re really good, and there are some movies on this list that I have high expectations for. The plus side with this list is that there’s variety. That’s what I like about Dreamworks, they’re more willing to try new ideas.

    • “That’s what I like about Dreamworks, they’re more willing to try new ideas.”

      Sigh… A few years ago, that comment would have had Pixar’s name in it instead of Dreamworks.

  • Glen

    Last Sunday, I saw a rough screening of dw’s Rise of the Guardians. Sorry to say it is an unmitigated disaster of a thing. Confusing, relentlessly UN-entertaining, and ugly.

  • Joe

    Didn’t the individual cartoon libraries Classic Media owned get sold to Dreamworks SKG? Whatever happened to the PB&J channel? Is it a reality or will it ever happen beyond satellite tv providers.

    By the way my dogs Peabody & Augie are anxious to see Peabody & Sherman on the big screen in our house.

  • AdamB

    Why is king fu panda 3 taking so long?????????