DreamWorks Animation has been developing a sequel to the 2013 animated feature The Croods ever since that film proved to be a smashing box office success, but now over three years later, the studio is calling quits. Per Variety, DreamWorks Animation has opted to scrap plans for The Croods 2 despite the fact that they just hired new writers for the project, brothers Kevin and Dan Hageman, in August. The film was slated for release on December 22, 2017 before DreamWorks Animation moved from 20th Century Fox to Universal Pictures, but the report notes that The Croods 2 had been a troubled project for a while, with doubts being raised even before the move to Universal.
Directed by Kirk DeMicco and Chris Sanders, The Croods was a prehistoric-set family comedy that boasted an A-list voice cast including Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, and Catherine Keener. It grossed $587.2 million worldwide and came at a time when the studio was ramping up its output, churning out films like Rise of the Guardians, Turbo, and Mr. Peabody & Sherman that failed to break out big. The Croods was seen as a lucrative franchise alongside the stalwart Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon series, but apparently the studio had trouble finding the right story to continue on.
DreamWorks Animation was acquired by NBCUniversal back in April of this year, raising questions as to how Universal would approach Jeffrey Katzenberg’s animation studio given that the Universal-owned Illumination Entertainment is in the midst of proving itself as a hit-maker in the same leagues as Pixar and DWA. This summer Illumination had massive success with The Secret Life of Pets, its first hit film outside of the Despicable Me brand, but its still unclear if Universal plans to further differentiate the two animation studios.
So far this scuttling of The Croods 2 is the only major change, but just before the sale to Universal Katzenberg announced his intention to scale back the studio’s output and focus on quality over quantity. Universal is in the midst of reviving the Shrek franchise at DWA, and Edgar Wright is seemingly still attached to write and direct the original animated feature Shadows, set for release in 2019.
In the near future, DreamWorks Animation has The Boss Baby and Captain Underpants coming in 2017, followed by the Australia-set Larrikins and the highly anticipated How to Train Your Dragon 3 in 2018.