Around the time I was wandering the hall of DWA's Lakeside building today, Jeffrey Katzenberg was on the phone about DreamWorks Animation's March movie release in three dimensions:
QUESTION: Do you think you're going to be able to hold onto the majority of your 3-D screens post the release of "Clash of the Titans?"
RESPONSE: So, on the 3-D screens issue, again I think ultimately it becomes the playability of the movies. We will have a very, very strong 3-D platform, to launch "Dragons" on. In particular, we have an exclusive arrangement for the vast majority of Imax screens. The only ones that are excluded are some of the ones that are in the educational market. And so, that platform is exclusive to us for a six-week run ...
How to Train Your Dragon will have a big opening if staffers opinions of the movie are right, because most people I've talked to really like the picture.
I guess we'll have to wait and see.
But Dragon is done. The focus of the board artists, animators, layout artists and surfacers I talked to today is now elsewhere.
"We're well into Kung Fu Panda: the Kaboom of Doom. We've got five sequences in work. There's still way more to do than we've already done, but it's moving right along ..."
I got a look at footage for DWA's Fall release Megamind, and the stuff looks good. Funny characters and attitudes abound. (Sadly, I didn't see enough to know how the picture fits together, so don't ask.) The animator who showed me said: "I think this feature is going to surprise people. It's witty and has lots of funny sequences and bits."
And a Puss in Boots story artist says story development has been robus. So robust that it's jumped ahead of another picture, coming out in 2011.
But don't think everybody is 100% satisfied. A development guy crabbed how the company needs more projects in work to keep the production pipeline filled. "There's a lot of movies going on here, but I think there should be more small teams taking properties the company owns, that are just sitting around, and seeing what they can do with them. Just throw up an outline board and see if it works. If it doesn't, move on to the next. If we're going to get up to three pictures a year and stay there, we're going to need more development."
But most aren't complaining. As a long-time employee said as I was walking out: "For me, there's always a picture to jump onto, always some kind of work. I like knowing I've got a job to come to."
Add On: DreamWorks Animation, in case you were wondering, had a pretty okay fourth quarter, business-wise:
... Reporting its fourth-quarter income for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2009, DreamWorks reported full-year revenue of $725.2 million and a profit of $151 million – up 12 percent and 10 percent respectively – driven by films including “Monsters vs. Aliens.” The company beat fourth quarter revenue forecast with $194.2 million. ...