Thursday 13 June 2013

Fox Announces Colossal List of Animated Releases Up to 2018 - What's the Fallout?

Fox are gearing up for war, it seems. After Disney's ambitious 2016 - 2018 release schedule a couple of weeks ago, the studio, which distributes both DreamWorks' and Blue Sky's films, have announced an equally competitive release schedule, directly plonking down on the release dates on a rather high-profile Pixar films.

Fox unveiled a whopping list of 25 films (including Fox Animation, which makes the Alvin and the Chipmunks films, unfortunately) from this year until 2018. The Blue Sky films in 2016/17 match up to the ones we heard about a month ago, Anubis and Ferdinand. The full film listings for the next 5 years for Fox come via those great folks at Animation Fascination:
  • July 17, 2013 – Turbo (DreamWorks Animation)
  • March 7, 2014 – Mr. Peabody & Sherman (DreamWorks Animation)
  • April 11, 2014 – Rio 2 (Blue Sky Studios)
  • June 20, 2014 – How to Train Your Dragon 2 (working title) (DreamWorks Animation)
  • November 26, 2014 – Happy Smekday! (DreamWorks Animation)
  • March 27, 2015 – The Penguins of Madagascar (DreamWorks Animation)
  • June 5, 2015 – B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations (DreamWorks Animation)
  • November 25, 2015 – Peanuts CG animated film (Blue Sky Studios)
  • December 11, 2015 – Alvin and the Chipmunks 4 (Fox Animation)
  • December 23, 2015 – Kung Fu Panda 3 (DreamWorks Animation)
  • March 18, 2016 – Mumbai Musical (DreamWorks Animation)
  • June 18, 2016 – How to Train Your Dragon 3 (DreamWorks Animation)
  • July 15, 2016 – Anubis (Blue Sky Studios)
  • November 4, 2016 – Trolls CG animated film (DreamWorks Animation)
  • March 10, 2017 – Untitled Fox/DreamWorks Animation/Blue Sky Studios Animated Feature
  • April 7, 2017 – Ferdinand (Blue Sky Studios)
  • June 16, 2017 – Untitled Fox/DreamWorks Animation/Blue Sky Studios Animated Feature
  • July 21, 2017 – Untitled Fox/DreamWorks Animation/Blue Sky Studios Animated Feature
  • November 3, 2017 – Untitled Fox/DreamWorks Animation/Blue Sky Studios Animated Feature
  • December 20, 2017 – Untitled Fox/DreamWorks Animation/Blue Sky Studios Animated Feature
  • March 23, 2018 – Untitled Fox/DreamWorks Animation/Blue Sky Studios Animated Feature
  • June 29, 2018 – Untitled Fox/DreamWorks Animation/Blue Sky Studios Animated Feature
  • July 20, 2018 - Untitled Fox/DreamWorks Animation/Blue Sky Studios Animated Feature
  • November 2, 2018 – Untitled Fox/DreamWorks Animation/Blue Sky Studios Animated Feature
  • December 21, 2018 – Untitled Fox/DreamWorks Animation/Blue Sky Studios Animated Feature

A sequel to DreamWorks' early-2013 release, The Croods, is underway, as is
super-speedy-snail flick Turbo, which is out this summer.

We don't even know which of the three studios the untitled films come from, but just a skim up and down shows you the sheer depth of Fox's animation domination plan. Despite so many untitled gaps, we can speculate as to what they may consist of? DreamWorks have a lot in development, films like Me and My Shadow (which was pushed back following DreamWorks' cutbacks), Alma, Puss in Boots 2, The Croods 2, Captain Underpants (based on the super-popular kids' books. Which I still read.) and Larrikins. Blue Sky have had Spore in development for a while, and have a few more on the back-burner.

 Of note, Pixar had pegged a film for 17th June, 2016 (presumably Lee Unkrich's Día de los Muertos project), despite How to Train your Dragon 3 already being scheduled for the day after. The film hasn't budged. Fox have fired back though, making a very bold and possibly stupid move, releasing Blue Sky's Peanuts film on 25th November, 2015, the exact same day as Finding Dory. I know Peanuts is big in America, but I can't see this ending well. They're also releasing an untitled film against Pixar's 2017 untitled film, on 16th June that year.

It certainly seems like the two film giants are having a fairly high-stake row. This all leads into The Hollywood Reporter's recent article, discussing this summer's "Brutal Animation War". THR refer to the six big animated films due to release this summer, stating:

"In a normal summer, having Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University would be more than enough animated fuzzy-wuzziness to satiate audiences. But when you throw in Epic, Turbo and Planes (and Smurfs 2 for good measure), suddenly the high-stakes animation race has never been so crowded. By the time summer 2013 is done at the multiplex, Hollywood will have the answer to a billion-dollar question: Is there enough audience to go around?"

It's very easy to extrapolate this for the current argument, though: If this year's going to be tight, with somewhat spread out big releases, how in the hell are companies going to prosper when several studios are releasing several potentially big films on the same day?

DreamWorks and Pixar already have an established rivalry over the A Bug's Life/Antz fiasco (although the relationship seems friendly again now), and mutually-assured destruction isn't good for either company. Disney will win a few, Fox will win a few, but neither will come off better for it in the long run.

Alan Horn, Walt Disney Animation Studios chairman, added a cheeky note at the end: "Obviously, the more crowded the field, the more difficult it is for everyone," he says. "But this is a competitive business. From my perspective -- and I do believe this is reasonable -- the clear solution is for Jeffrey and Jim to stop making so many animated films."


Somewhat away from the matter at hand, Horn spoke about Planes and its Pixar-confusion, saying:

"Planes does take place in the same world as Cars, so it's not crazy to think there be may be some confusion. But the bottom line is that it's not a Pixar film … ultimately it's about whether audiences are going to enjoy themselves at the theater, and with this movie they will."


  1. As much as I love animation, I think it's starting to feel like a little bit of overkill. I'm not sure if there's enough money for all these projects to go around and I'd hate to see one of these studios fail.

  2. Kotomi Ichinose14 June 2013 at 13:13

    I'm beginning to worry this will become a race, where quantity is a bigger factor than quality. I mean, 25 animated features? Even spread out over five or so years and several different animation divisions, that's a lot to take on. And pitting the Peanuts against a movie like Finding Dory? I'm not sure if Fox is desperate, stupid, or a little of both. This is definitely both exciting and troublesome news.

  3. I just realized that Blue Sky will have released two movies called "Rio" and "Ferdinand". Teehee!

  4. Munir Abedrabbo14 June 2013 at 22:12

    Wow, a lot to look forward and a lot to skip in the future. It will be a lot of spending at the multiplex and I can't help but think that some of these films will end up being failures (both critically and commercially) because we are going to be saturated. Well, at least I can save some money skipping the Blu Sky productions ;)

  5. William Jardine15 June 2013 at 01:52

    Exactly the point, it seems as though both Fox and Disney are trying to scare one another off. I can't see a happy ending.

  6. William Jardine15 June 2013 at 01:53

    I can't see it staying on that day, it seems as though they're directly challenging Disney. I think, when they realise that ain't happening, they'll back down.

  7. William Jardine15 June 2013 at 01:54

    Well, I'm excited for most of the DreamWorks ones, and the Peanuts film, and... Alvin and the Chipmunks? Ha! Can't even say that with a straight face.

  8. Munir Abedrabbo15 June 2013 at 19:12

    The sad thing is that Me and My Shadow is nowhere to be seen in the slate. Perhaps one of the many untitled projects?