DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon 2 was not just one of the better-received sequels of the 2014 Summer Movie Season, it remains one of the best-reviewed films of this year in general, and just crossed the $600 million mark at the worldwide box office over the 2014 Labor Day holiday frame. It’s also the top-grossing animated motion picture of 2014 – having outperformed The LEGO Movieoutside the U.S. - in the absence of a new Pixar release this year (we’ll see how Disney’s Big Hero 6 does at the box office in November, though)
Yet, as was discussed during the 2014 Summer Movie Awards edition of the SRU Podcast, Dragon 2 didn’t seem to make as strong an impact on the public consciousness as certain other summer releases did. The 3D animated feature also suffered a significant drop-off at the U.S. box office, compared to its predecessor’s take in 2010 ($174 million vs. $216 million), despite a slight uptick in ticket prices – along with the increase in the number of 3D screenings available – over the four years between the films.
This is all worth taking into consideration, as How to Train Your Dragon 3 has now been pushed back by a year, from a planned launch during the 2016 Summer Movie Season to the same period in 2017. Still, the fact that Dragon 3 has been given a new official release date – as opposed to being shifted to a more vague frame (see: Sony having recently pushed Amazing Spider-Man 3 to “sometime in 2018″) – is a sign that DreamWorks remains confident about the property’s future - and with good reason.
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