How To Eventually Continue To Train Your Dragon

Success shouldn't be as subjective a word as it is. You murder an evil Nazi zombie space ape, you succeed. It consumes your flesh, forcing you to become part of it's undead extraterrestrial fascist simian army, you fail. Sadly, in the modern world, definitions are not as clear cut at that rather obvious and cliched example. Take, for instance, the movie business. Sometimes, success and failure is obvious. Making $1.5 billion off a $220 million budget is a success. Making slightly more than $10 million in two weekends off a budget of $70 million is a failure (though not as spectacular as movies can fail).

Then you have movies like How To Train Your Dragon 2. I liked it. I didn't fall as in love with it as I did the original, but there is plenty in the long awaited follow-up to make it a worthy successor. After four years of development, a $145 million budget and critical acclaim, the film made a sliver less than $600 million total during it's theatrical run (the November DVD release will no doubt add to that total), which is $100 million more than the original. Now, if you use math to determine success or failure, that would seem like a success, both financially and for the franchise, and we all know how much Dreamworks loves driving their franchises into the ground. But, this is funky Hollywood math-logic. Because the film made $40 million less on it's opening weekend in the US (it was competing against 22 Jump Street), Dreamworks panicked and began to back off of the series a little.

That trend continued yesterday when it was announced that How To Train Your Dragon 3 has had it's release date pushed back from summer 2016 to summer 2017, putting three years between it and this year's release, and a total of seven between the bookends of the franchise. It also calls into doubt the potential of a fourth film, which Dreamworks was teasing pretty heavily before the sequel's release earlier this year, and shut right the hell up about after that opening weekend. Dreamworks is hiding behind the fact that HtTyD3 is now no longer competing directly against Pixar's Finding Dory, almost certain to be a box office juggernaut. It's current placement puts it square in the middle of The Lego Movie 2 and another unknown Pixar film, which while making for a fantastic potential weekend, will likely see some additional shifting by one studio or another before 2017 rolls around.

Series writer/director Dean DeBlois has repeated said that he always envisioned the series as a trilogy, and at least Dreamworks will allow him to achieve that much of his dream. And, an additional year for production shouldn't hurt the film, as the extended break between the first two proved only to be beneficial in terms of quality. Certainly, rushing a film through production is rarely a boon. What worries me is Dreamworks' attitude in doing this. HtTyD3 has been in concurrent production with HtTyD2, meaning that a lot of the leg work is likely done. I have no doubt that DeBlois could have had a polished product ready to deliver for 2016. I worry that Dreamworks is buying far too much into the jaded and self destructive notions of "success" and "failure" that dictate a lot (too much) of the decision making in Hollywood. And that a solid, rich, and properly good series is being pushed to the edge of the corporate eyeline in favour of something new and dynamic and potentially billion dollar earning.

And that makes me sad.

Via Collider.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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