DreamWorks Animation has slowly been making a name for itself as the other animation studio known for delivering animated films that are equal parts thought-provoking narrative and kid-friendly entertainment. With films like How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda, and Shrek under its belt, there’s no denying that DreamWorks has become a reputable powerhouse, second only to Pixar, in the animation business.
However, in recent months, DreamWorks has struggled to find a distributor after deciding that the new deal Paramount Pictures was proposing – one that saw them divvying out more than 8% of their revenue to the studio – wasn’t a viable option. Fortunately for DreamWorks, 20th Century Fox has stepped up to the plate.
Fox is already responsible for a slew of animated features, including Blue Sky Pictures’ Ice Age series and last year’s Rio. They would also be responsible for any future Simpsons Movie sequels (should Matt Groening choose to follow up his half-billion dollar grossing film) or any Family Guy-related content. Needless to say, their animation plate wasn’t empty, but the opportunity to work with DreamWorks Animation obviously proved too important to pass up.
That’s probably because DreamWorks is responsible for some of the more profitable animated films to release in this decade, and have lined up several lucrative franchises to ensure a sustainable future. A Puss in Boots sequel, a Kung Fu Panda sequel, and a How to Train Your Dragon sequel are all in various stages of development, and will almost definitely do gangbusters at the box office.
Brands have become the name of the game in animated features. Kids, and to a lesser extent their parents, are very loyal to particular film franchises, favoring a known property over something brand new. Look at Pixar, once a staple of new and inventive animated films, and how they are now reverting back to their more successful films for sequel opportunities. It’s extremely important these days to find an approachable entryway for families – be it Dr. Seuss, a book series, or a spin-off – and then try and tell a compelling story from there.
DreamWorks Animation’s final feature distributed by Paramount is Rise of the Guardians, and features the voices of Alex Baldwin and Hugh Jackman – out on November 21th, 2012.