DreamWorks' ambitious family animation slate: 12 releases by 2016

By Jeffrey Peterson

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Oct. 14 2012 4:26 p.m. MDT

This film image released by DreamWorks Animation shows the character Jamie, voiced by Dakota Goyo, left, as he awakens to find The Guardians, from second left, Tooth, voiced by Isla Fisher, Jack Frost, voiced by Chris Pine, North, voiced by Alec Baldwin, Sandman, and Bunnymund, voiced by Hugh Jackman in a scene from "Rise of the Guardians." The 3-D computer-generated fantasy tale is based on William Joyce's book series, "The Guardians of Childhood."

AP Photo/DreamWorks Animation

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DreamWorks Animation — the studio behind hits like “Shrek” and “Kung Fu Panda” — recently announced a staggering 12-movie slate to last through the first half of 2016.

At an average of three movies per year, this is by far the most ambitious lineup ever undertaken by an animation studio.

Thanks to recent films like 2010 Academy Award nominee “How to Train Your Dragon,” DreamWorks Animation has proven itself to be serious competition for their Emeryville counterparts, the animation geniuses at Pixar, who have averaged one feature per year since 1998 — an impressive feat in its own right.

With three times the output of their biggest rival, though, it has yet to be seen whether or not DreamWorks will be able to match the kind of quality Pixar has become famous for.

The big announcement comes on the heels of a recent deal with 20th Century Fox, which will be replacing Paramount as the studio’s distribution partner following the Nov. 21 release of “Rise of the Guardians.”

“What we are announcing today,” said DreamWorks Animation’s Chief Executive Officer Bill Damaschke, “is the result of the amazing work and devotion from DreamWorks Animation’s vast roster of directors, producers and artistic talent over many years. Every one of the movies in our lineup — whether it is an original film or a sequel to one of our beloved franchises — comes from the unique and special vision of our filmmakers, and we look forward to joining together with Fox to make them available to family audiences starting next year.”

In addition to some inevitable sequels to the studio’s big moneymaking franchises and one spinoff, the 12-movie lineup also features a healthy number of new properties that should bring some diversity to the animation table.

Here’s a complete list of DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming films, with information taken from MediaConnectionOnline.com:

“TheCroods” (March 22, 2013) — Featuring the voices of Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone and directed by Chris Sanders (“How to Train Your Dragon”) and Kirk DeMicco (“Space Chimps”), “The Croods” is a pre-historic adventure about a family of Neanderthals in the “Croodacious Era.”

“Turbo” (July 19, 2013) — Also starring Ryan Reynolds, directed by David Soren (“Merry Madagascar”), “Turbo” is about a garden snail who dreams of winning the Indy 500.

“Mr. Peabody & Sherman” (November 1, 2013) — An adaptation of the Jay Ward cartoon series about the world’s smartest person who happens to be a dog and his “pet” human named Sherman. It stars Ty Burrell from “Modern Family” as the gifted pooch.

“Me and My Shadow” (March 14, 2014) — Combining CG and traditional hand-drawn animation techniques, this film from first-time director Alessandro Carloni tells the story of the timid Daniel Grubb and his comically mismatched shadow named Dan.

“How to Train Your Dragon 2” (June 20, 2014) and “How to Train Your Dragon 3” (June 18, 2016) — Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson and the rest of the talented voice cast from the first film return in the next two adventures inspired by Cressida Cowell’s popular books.

“Happy Smekday!” (November 26, 2014) — Based on the book “The True Meaning of Smekday” by Adam Rex, “Happy Smekday!” will star Rihanna and Jim Parsons in a story involving the friendship between a girl and a renegade alien named J. Lo.

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