Considering the grosses after just two films ($1.3 billion), this shouldn’t be a surprise. DreamWorks Animation is giving the go-ahead for a third “Kung Fu Panda” film which was likely a no-brainer as last year “Kung Fu Panda 2” more than confirmed audiences are in love with the franchise. Voiced by Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman, Seth Rogen and Lucy Liu, there’s no word on who will direct the third installment, but so far there’s been a different group of filmmakers for every film, with only producer Melissa Cobb and screenwriter Jonathan Aibel remaining as two of the major above-the-line creative forces.
“Right now we have 10 movies in production and eight or nine in pre-production or advanced form of script development,” DWA chief Bill Damaschke told audiences at Comic-Con today. And one of the new ones? A “Madagascar” spin-off called “Penguins of Madagascar” set for a 2015 release that will be directed by Tom McGrath, the voice actor and animator who co-directed all three animated animal films with Eric Darnell. Those three films have a combined worldwide total of $1.5 billion so DWA clearly are no dummies and will keep that gravy train running as long as it can. Expect ‘Penguins’ to spawn its own trilogy unless it somehow falls flat with unpicky kids.
Other DreamWorks Animation pictures in the hamper are “Rise of the Guardians” (November 20, 2012), “The Croods” (March 22, 2013), “Turbo” (July 19, 2013), “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” (November 8, 2013), “How to Train Your Dragon 2” (June 20, 2014), “Happy Smekday!” (due late 2014) and a fantasy comedy called “Me and My Shadow,” voiced by Bill Hader and “Book of Mormon” actor Josh Gad that has been set for a March 14, 2014 release.