Tuesday, January 21, 2014

At DreamWorks Animation

I spent a large part of the morning walking through DWA's Glendale campus, mostly in the big Lakeside Building nestled beside the cement-lined L.A. River. One employee noted:

"Mr. Peabody and Sherman is in the 'final tightening' phase. They're testing it, gauging reactions, doing one more comedy pass before its' Marc release date ..."

What was news to me was who was in-studio last week.

"Steven Spielberg was in last Wednesday to give notes on How To Train Your Dragon 2. He liked the first Dragons a lot, and one of his kids is really crazy about the original. Steven's's been involved with the new movie for awhile, he's seen it three times.

"Everybody thinks we've got a terrific film, but the third act needs to be a little bigger, have a little bigger climax and a larger celebration at the end. We're supposed to get a meeting about Steven's notes tomorrow or the next day." ...

This is a year of opportunities for DWA.

The studio has three movies out this year: Mr. Peabody and Sherman, How To Train Your Dragon II, and Home (formerly Happy Smekday). Pixar has no releases, Walt Disney Animation Studio has Big Hero 6 in November, and Disney Toon Studio brings out a sequel to Planes over the summer. Illumination Entertainment/Universal releases Minions in eighteen months.

So DreamWorks Animation has a relatively clear field, and the general consensus seems to be that How to Train Your Dragon II is the favorite for becoming an animation blockbuster this year.

All the scuttlebutt I've heard regarding the movie from crew has been positive. The only caveat would be that when you're immersed in a film for a long time, it's sometimes tough to own a clear-eyed perspective. (Seeing the forest for all the overgrown trees, and all that.)

But time grows short. In six months we'll see if Dragons Deux becomes a blockbuster ... or something else.


LeftyMcKay said...

It wouldn't be a DreamWorks movie without some sort of celebration at the end. *YAWN*

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