Already one of the best films of the year, How to Train Your Dragon is pushing DreamWorks Animation off to a flying start, with strong weekends at the box office and even stronger critical response.

As of today, How to Train Your Dragon has brought in over $370 million at the worldwide box office and was #1 this past weekend, its fifth weekend out. The automatic and obvious response of the studio is to start development of a sequel, and according to their first quarter financial results, that’s exactly what they’re doing.

In their press release from earlier today, DreamWorks placed their strong financial results on the success of How to Train Your Dragon and labeled it their “next franchise.”

“2010 is off to a strong start, thanks in large part to the performance of How to Train Your Dragon, which – having grossed nearly $375 million to date in worldwide box office – has become DreamWorks Animation’s next franchise. We plan to release the sequel theatrically in 2013,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation. “3D continues to have a tremendous impact on the industry at large and we are now looking forward with great anticipation to bringing Shrek Forever After, the final chapter in our beloved Shrek series and the first in 3D, to audiences across the globe next month.”

While I really did love How to Train Your Dragon, I don’t know what the sequel could be about. We already know how to train your dragon, we’ve already had the relationship and discovery. We’ve met the big (like, really big) bad villain and now the dragons and vikings are best pals.

The first film took audiences on a complete journey with plenty of heart and lessons to be learned. How can they recapture that sense of discovery, while presenting something not only new and fresh, but on the same level of quality? I hope it can be done and we’ll find out in three years.

As for it being their next franchise, I’m all for it. I loved Shrek 1 & 2 but really had bad feelings for the third. I don’t know if it scarred me or if the trailers for Shrek Forever After (Shrek: The Final Chapter?) are actually that unexciting, but I have little to no feelings about the fourth green ogre Mike Myers movie.

What do you think the How to Train Your Dragon 2 could be about? I imagine it’ll have a different title entirely.

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: PR Newswire