April 28, 2010 / 6:36 AM / in 8 years

"Train Your Dragon" sequel in the works

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - After a shaky start, “How to Train Your Dragon” has earned enough box-office coin to ensure that it becomes a multimedia franchise, with the next movie headed for screens in the second half of 2013, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said Tuesday.

<p>Cast member Jay Baruchel rides a mechanical dragon at the premiere of the film "How to Train Your Dragon" in Los Angeles March 21, 2010. REUTERS/Phil McCarten</p>

A live arena show, something akin to “Walking With Dinosaurs,” also is in the works.

Also in development are a TV series and an online virtual world based on “Dragon.”

“It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish,” Katzenberg told analysts about “Dragon” during a conference call to discuss quarterly earnings.

“Dragon” is at $180 million in domestic grosses and on track to equal the box-office performance of “Kung Fu Panda,” which took in $215 million domestically and is getting a somewhat similar franchise treatment.

“Panda,” though, boasted a $60 million opening weekend compared with $44 million for “Dragon,” which cast doubt on a sequel for the latter. “It certainly had us a bit nervous,” Katzenberg said.

He noted that “Dragon” has such impressive legs at the box office because it is DreamWorks Animation’s best-reviewed film. It is in the “beloved category,” he noted.

The CEO also talked up “Megamind,” saying the November 5 release starring Brad Pitt, Tina Fey and Will Ferrell will do for the superhero genre what “Shrek” did for fairy tales.

He said “Scared Shrekless” is set as a Halloween special this year, and an unnamed “Panda” holiday special will run between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

DreamWorks Animation posted $21.7 million in net income in the first quarter, down 65 percent because the studio lacked a big home-video release in the quarter. Revenue fell 39 percent to $162.1 million.

“Dragon” contributed $59.7 million in revenue during the quarter, while last year’s “Monsters vs. Aliens” was good for $24.6 million.

The 2008 releases “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” and “Panda” contributed $19.2 million and $5.7 million, respectively, while library titles were good for $52.9 million.

The results beat Wall Street expectations, and the company’s stock was up fractionally in after-hours trading.

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