The hits keep a-coming in what may be the most crowded week for trailer drops that I can remember. We now have our first look at DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. The flick, due on March 1, 2019, is going to be the first DWA release since they left 20th Century Fox and headed over to Comcast Corp. It has been nearly four years since the last How To Train Your Dragon movie opened in June 2014.
At the time, I pegged it as a possible break-out sequel (the first one had a 5x multiplier) and a “biggest movie of summer” contender in a somewhat weak crowd of comparatively B-level franchises. It earned a still-great $621 million worldwide on a $165m budget, but it slightly underperformed in North America with $177m from a $49m opening. Despite (or because of) rave pre-release reviews, the film ended up way under the $217m domestic figure of the first How To Train Your Dragon in early 2010 but did a heck of a lot better worldwide compared to the $494m-grossing original.
It was another in a long line of DWA releases to get tarred with negative press after a soft or soft-ish opening only to stick around for awhile and soar overseas. Nonetheless, the perception was that the film wasn’t as big as it could have been. This was perhaps due to the franchise’s availability on TV in episodic form (a common issue now that almost every DWA movie has become a TV show in some form or another) or due to the darker, more emotionally-draining story that was closer in tone to Toy Story 3 than Madagascar 2…..