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World Screen Newsflash

October 13, 2020

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DreamWorks Animation Delivers Series with Feature-Sized Fun for Kids & Families

The TV roster from DreamWorks Animation features many familiar faces for kids and families, with beloved characters from a bevy of the studio’s movie franchises in fresh, fun stories made especially for television. Pushing boundaries in terms of both animation and storytelling has been part of its mission from the very start, and this continues today in its newest IP.

“Going back to the early days at our studio, we wanted to change people’s perception of what TV animation could be, both in terms of the quality of the animation and in the level of storytelling,” says Peter Gal, chief creative officer of television at DreamWorks Animation. The first show to truly encapsulate that was Trollhunters from Guillermo del Toro, which has now become a trilogy of TV series (with 3Below and Wizards) and a recently announced film for Netflix, Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans. “We really did push beyond the type of animation that anyone else was doing for families, edging closer to feature-quality ***Image***animation and also telling bigger, more epic stories that used to only live in the world of features; we brought them into the world of television,” he adds.

That experience paid off as DreamWorks Animation moved into other ambitious projects, including the recently launched Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous. “This was a very special opportunity to take a massive piece of IP, one of the biggest family titles in the history of cinema, and bring it into animation,” Gal says of the series extension of the Jurassic Park franchise. Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous launched on Netflix in September and is stirring up “a lot of culture conversation; it’s in the top 10 every day on the platform. In terms of storytelling, this is an example of keeping the tone of the series very close to the tone of the features; not feeling like it needs to be dumbed-down for kids—we respect our audience too much. They want the scares, they want the big adventure that they know from the films, so we’re delivering that now in animation.”

Also sprung from a hit film franchise, TrollsTopia is coming soon to Peacock and Hulu. “This is a great case where the second film introduced an idea that propelled this whole franchise forward from a storytelling standpoint,” Gal explains. “Our Trolls had always believed that they were the only ones in the world, and when they discovered that there was this world filled with all different kinds of trolls and different musical traditions, it gave an opportunity for us to tell a story that we think is really relevant today, which is about people from different backgrounds learning to live together in harmony and respecting differences. There couldn’t be a better time for that message. One of the wonderful things about the franchise is that it wears its emotions on its sleeve; nothing in it is subtle, it’s really out there. We’re really excited that this series is coming out.”

The studio has also taken some major DreamWorks Animation titles and brought them into the younger space, making them more preschool-oriented. This is the case with DreamWorks Dragons: Rescue Riders, “which has been really successful for us,” says Gal. “We changed the design language of the Dragons franchise a little bit, made it accessible to a younger audience and changed up the storytelling.”

There’s also the preschool-targeted Madagascar: A Little Wild. “We took our core ‘Zoosters’ from the Madagascar films and made kid versions of them,” Gal explains. “The same character attributes and same emotional drive they have in the features as adults, we’ve brought into their kid versions. That’s been incredibly fun. We love this show. The music is fantastic, the storytelling is fantastic.”

Another innovative feature-to-TV adaptation is Fast & Furious: Spy Racers, which sprung from the high-octane adventures in the adult-focused Fast & Furious action films. A second season has just launched on Netflix. “Each of the seasons that comes is going to be based around a different region of the world,” Gal says. “The first started in L.A., the home of the franchise, and the second takes place in Rio. Once again, we’re really trying to channel what makes the adult features so exciting and bring it into the kids’ space.”

There’s a wealth of original IP that sits alongside these franchise extensions as well, he adds. “We develop from all different sources, from comics and graphic novels to classic literature as well as original pitches and internal pitches at the studio. The first thing that generally gets us excited is a really unique voice in animation—an artist and creator who has a distinct style and the right idea at the right time.” Gal cites as an example Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts, created by Radford Sechrist.

“We also really like championing voices wherever we find them,” he says, pointing to Archibald’s Next Big Thing is Here! from Arrested Development and Veep star Tony Hale, which imparts messages of mindfulness and embracing the present for its young viewers.

“We very much respond to originality,” Gal adds, highlighting The Mighty Ones, from Sunil Hall (Pickle and Peanut) and Lynne Naylor (Samurai Jack). Mixing mediums and/or genres is also appealing, as was the case with the live-action/animation hybrid Gabby’s Dollhouse, which has elements of crafting, comedy and adventure.

Overall, Gal says, “originality and uniqueness are key.” And this rings true throughout all the latest offerings from DreamWorks Animation.

See NBCUniversal Global Distribution’s Fall 2020 DreamWorks Animation Showcase here.

More from DreamWorks Animation


Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous

***Video***(Action/adventure/animation, 49x30 min.) Set against the events of Jurassic World, six teenagers’ once-in-a-lifetime camp experience on Isla Nublar is threatened as dinosaurs wreak havoc across the island.
Watch now on WorldScreenings.com


Gabby’s Dollhouse

***Video***(Animation/live action, 40x30 min.) Welcome to Gabby’s Dollhouse, the preschool show with a surprise inside! Join Gabby in her fantastical animated world full of adventure and adorable cat friends.
Watch now on WorldScreenings.com


The Mighty Ones

***Video***(Comedy/animation, 40x30 min.) Follow the hilarious adventures of a twig, a pebble, a leaf and a strawberry as they have fun living life large in their wild world.


Madagascar: A Little Wild

***Video***(Animation, 52x30 min.) Follow the loveable foursome as kids residing in their wildlife rescue habitat in Central Park Zoo. They’re small but they have big dreams of adventure.
Watch now on WorldScreenings.com


Where’s Waldo?

***Video***(Animation, 40x30 min.) Join Waldo and Wenda as they circle the globe on international travel missions, where they celebrate new cultures and solve problems through observation.
Watch now on WorldScreenings.com


Fast & Furious: Spy Racers

***Video***(Action/animation, 52x30 min.) Tony Toretto and his friends are recruited by a government agency to infiltrate an elite racing league that’s a front for a world-dominating crime organization.
Watch now on WorldScreenings.com


Rhyme Time Town

***Video***(Music/animation, 26x30 min.) Daisy the Puppy and Cole the Kitten guide young children through a colorful and adventurous world filled with nursery rhymes and imaginative play.
Watch now on WorldScreenings.com


Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts

***Video***(Adventure/animation, 30x30 min.) After spending her entire life living in an underground burrow, Kipo is thrust into an adventure on the surface of a fantastical post-apocalyptic Earth.
Watch now on WorldScreenings.com


Dragons Rescue Riders Heroes of the Sky

***Video***(Adventure/animation, 24x30 min.) Viking twins Dak and Leyla work alongside their dragon friends to defend and protect other dragons in exciting adventures around their home of Huttsgalor.
Watch now on WorldScreenings.com


Archibald’s Next Big Thing is Here!

***Video***(Animation, 24x30 min.) Follow Archibald as he “yes-ands” through life in this comedy about the importance of being present and celebrating the journey, not just the destination.
Watch now on WorldScreenings.com

Visit NBCUniversal Global Distribution’s Screening Room


NBCUniversal Global Distribution Contacts: Belinda Menendez, President & Chief Revenue Officer, Global Distribution and International; Don McGregor, EVP, Worldwide Distribution; Chloe Van den Berg, SVP, Head of Kids & Family Entertainment.

 

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