Thursday, May 28, 2009

DreamWorks Animations through 2012


"Variety reports that DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg will unveil the company's slate through late 2012 for the investment community in New York today, revealing five original projects and a handful of franchise follow-ups. All will be produced in 3-D.

How to Train Your Dragon is written and directed by Chris Sanders and Den DeBlois. It stars Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera and Johan Hill. Set in the world of Vikings and dragons, it centers on an awkward teen who befriends an injured dragon. Look for "Dragon" on March 26, 2010.

2010 will also bring a fourth installment in the "Shrek" series (now titled Shrek Forever After). The film, scheduled for a release on May 21, 2010, is directed by Mike Mitchell.

Among the highlights of today's presentation is the new title for "Master Mind"--Oobermind--for which Robert Downey Jr. will voice a supervillain who finds life a little dull after vanquishing good-guy rival Metro Man. The superhero-themed film, based on a spec script from Ben Stiller's Red Hour Films, will open Nov. 5, 2010. Tina Fey also voices a character.

The following year brings two projects. For the first, the company confirmed signing Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman for Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom, due out June 3, 2011. Longtime story executive Jennifer Yuh Nelson makes her feature directorial debut.

In its Nov. 4 slot, DreamWorks Animation has The Guardians, turning to a not-yet-published book series from children's literature-to-animation titan William Joyce, whose work has previously inspired Disney's Meet the Robinsons and 'Rolie Polie Olie'. Jeff Lynch is attached to direct the film, which unites characters every child knows — Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Jack Frost and the Sandman — to defend the world from a Bogeyman-like villain.

2012 gets crowded once again, as in Puss in Boots imagines events before the popular character's appearance in Shrek 2, while introducing all-new characters. Antonio Banderas returns, and Salma Hayek will lend her voice to love interest Kitty. Shrek the Third helmer Chris Miller is onboard to direct, with the film slated for March 30, 2012.

Just two months later, Madagascar helmer Eric Darnell offers up a third installment in the zoo-break series, which would relocate the critters from Africa to Europe via a traveling circus.

Katzenberg has staked out a third date that fall, Nov. 12, for an original feature, to be chosen from a trio of projects currently in development. The first option, caveman comedy The Croods, from directors Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco, was once intended to be an Aardman collaboration. Another, Truckers, is derived from Terry Pratchett's 'The Bromeliad Trilogy,' with Simon Beaufoy adapting a story of miniature creatures stuck living in a department store. Damaschke also cited a third option, tentatively titled 'Super Secret Ghost Project,' that asks what ghosts think about humans."

Huh. Out of all the obvious sequels coming, Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar whatever happened to Monsters vs. Aliens? Guess they're staying a TV series.

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