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DreamWorks Animation has announced plans to release five feature films every two years, up from their previous two films a year schedule. The company cites their “three very successful franchises” as one of the reasons to produce an extra film every other year. Apparently the plan is to release one or two sequels a year, as well as an original project, all of which will be produced in digital 3D. Check out the full schedule after the jump.

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Kung Fu Panda 2 on June 3rd 2011

We knew it was in the works, but DreamWorks Animation has officially announced that a 3D sequel to Kung Fu Panda will hit digital theaters and IMAX theatres on June 3rd 2011.

The sequel will follow Po, “the world’s biggest kung fu fan, as he continues his journey as the chosen one who fulfills an ancient prophesy while mastering the art of kung fu.” Jack Black and Angelina Jolie have both signed on to return, with “other original cast members” to be announced (my guess is that everyone important will be back for the sequel). Screenwriters/producers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger are also back for part 2. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dreamworks didn’t take a cue from Pixar and try to rerelease the original film in 3D before then. But that’s just speculation.

Paramount Home Entertainment have announced that a companion film/sequel to Kung Fu Panda will be released on DVD/Blu-ray on November 9th, bundled with the original film as part of a “Pandamonium Double Pack”. The companion film is titled Secrets of the Furious Five. While the slug-line “The Kung Fu Panda story continues” leads you to believe that the film is a sequel, THR reports that the film will delve into the back stories of the characters from the original film, and that Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman reprise their respective voice roles as Po and Master Shifu. Not much more is known at this time. A single disc version of Kung Fu Panda will also be available outside of the two movie pack.

I’ve never been a fan of Disney’s direct-to-dvd sequels due to the quality of the animation and story. I don’t see a day and date release for a direct-to-DVD Panda film as being a good idea. The film was very popular with children and critics, and the double pack release gimmick seems unnecessary and unneeded.

Update: Apparently Secrets of the Furious Five is only a 20 minute long short film. Basically, Dreamworks Animation is following Pixar’s lead and releasing a short film featuring the characters from the feature film along with the DVD release. But instead of releasing the short as a special feature, they are releasing it on a separate disc as part of a bundled two-pack. It all seems pretty deceptive if you ask me.

And for some strange reason, Paramount has also decided to release the DVD/Blu-ray disc on a Friday, instead of the traditional Tuesday. DVD titles have occasionally been released on Fridays to coincide with a particular theatrical release, or on Monday to coincide with a holiday. But releasing a major DVD title on a Sunday is said to be a first.

Madagascar 3 and Kung Fu Panda 2

DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg says that the computer animation studio is in talks for a Kung Fu Panda sequel, and  plans to have at least one more Madagascar film, if not more. Katzenberg told reporters on Wednesday that they are currently having conversations about a possible Kung Fu Panda 2, and to expect an announcement in the next 30 to 60 days.

Panda was one of the last DreamWorks Animated films that will be released in 2D, but the studio did some 3D tests with sequences from the film in preparation of the company’s three dimensional future. Katzenberg told /Film a couple weeks back that directors John Stevenson and Mark Osbourne were so impressed with the tests, that they had very early discussions about the possibility of re-releasing the film in 3D. But who knows if that would still be a possibility with the release of a 3D sequel.

Katzenberg also said that Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa will probably spawn a sequel: “There is at least one more chapter. We ultimately want to see the characters make it back to New York.” But does anyone really care about a third Madagascar film? While I certainly understand the New York return story being a neat third act of the series, I’d much rather see a spin-off following the adventures of the penguins.

source: THR


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Kung Fu Panda Sequel

Kung Fu Panda was the first non-Pixar computer animated film that I really enjoyed. When I saw the film a few months back, I said to one of my friends “This is gonna be huge, lets hope they don’t f**k it up by making a sequel.” Well guess what… A story crew has already begun early work on a Sequel, according to a posting on the TAG Blog. The original film has garnered great reviews across the board and made over $229.7 million worldwide in its first 19 days of release.