Dragons bring fire and fangs to Cannes film fest

Fri May 16, 2014 12:41pm EDT
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By Alexandria Sage

CANNES France (Reuters) - Dragons and Vikings invaded the Cannes film festival on Friday, with the eagerly awaited second installment of "How to Train your Dragon" set to breathe fire on the French Riviera.

Due to hit screens on July 2, hopes are high for the 3D "Dragon 2", written and directed by Canadian animator Dean DeBlois, given the $495 million in global box office receipts the first film of the trilogy has grossed.

Fans wearing Viking helmets with huge horns could be seen meandering across La Croisette, Cannes' palm-lined boulevard, ahead of the film's global premiere on Friday night at the festival and the walk up the red carpet for cast members, including Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera and Cate Blanchett.

"It's super-exciting to be here and there's no better way to roll out the film, there's no splashier, more prestigious way than to take it to the Palais (theater) and have an audience full of well-dressed folks judge it accordingly," DeBlois told Reuters.

The first "Dragon" became a breakout hit through word of mouth. It earned a nomination for best animated film at the 2011 Academy Awards and represented another feather in the cap of DreamWorks Animation, the studio now in its 20th year.

"We have had a 20-year love affair, we have loved being part of Cannes and Cannes has loved us back," DreamWorks Animation head Jeffrey Katzenberg told a news conference.

He cited other DreamWorks films that have passed through the festival including "Shrek" and "Madagascar": "We have so many lovely memories here."

In a positive early review, Hollywood trade paper Variety called the second "Dragon" DreamWorks' "strongest sequel yet."   Continued...

A figure of Toothless the Dragon character walks on the Croisette during a photocall for the film "How to Train Your Dragon 2" at the 67th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes May 15, 2014.  REUTERS/Regis Duvignau