Shrek 5 Will Be A “Reinvention”

The first Shrek film was released in 2001, with three sequels that followed, the last of which hit theaters in 2010. But seven years after the series supposedly ended, DreamWorks Animation is already looking at a revival.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, The Boss Baby screenwriter Michael McMullers revealed the status of the fifth installment of the series:

“Shrek 5 is being developed. I finished that script, which I really, really, really love. It’s really personal to me. It’s got a pretty big reinvention behind it that I guess I can’t really reveal, but since DreamWorks was sold to Universal in that time for over $3 billion, I imagine they’re particularly interested in it stepping up and actually figuring out the future of the franchise in that way on the corporate level. Reinvention was sort of called for. There’s been four movies and a lot of material, so the characters are pretty beloved and they’re great characters, but you also have to think of a pretty new take at that point.”

The first Shrek, to be fair, was a groundbreaking children’s film — approaching fairy tale tropes with a winking humor and a great soundtrack. DreamWorks Animation at the time was the underdog company, releasing films that were blatant attempts to ride off the popularity of Pixar films (Antz came out the same year as Bug’s Life, Shark Tale a year after Finding Nemo), but Shrek was their first original venture. It was a not-so-subtle jab at Disney, where DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg used to serve as chairman.

Shrek was their biggest hit, spawning three sequels and a Puss in Boots spin-off. Shrek would be DreamWorks’ most critically acclaimed film until How to Train Your Dragon sparked a new era in creativity for the studio in 2010. So why not give it another shot?

Nostalgia is a powerful tool, but is it possible to be nostalgic for a franchise which supposedly ended in 2010? Who knows, but The Boss Baby‘s haul at the box office this past weekend will surely be a boost for McMullers’ Shrek 5 script.

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Scott Hart

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10 Comments

  1. Scott Hart

    Scott Hart

    DreamWorks Animation at the time was the underdog company, releasing films that were blatant attempts to ride off the popularity of Pixar films (Antz came out the same year as Bug’s Life, Shark Tale a year after Finding Nemo),

    I'm not so sure Antz was a rip-off of Bug's Life. They came out at the same time of the year, and it had to have been in production for about 4 years. IMHO, Antz was more original than BL. I also recall that Pixar had two different sets of closing credits they changed out after a period of time, trying to stifle the BO for Antz.

    However, back to the subject of the thread. I had become thoroughly tired of Shrek after the second film and can't get excited about a reboot. Maybe they'll change my mind.

  2. Johnny Angell

    I'm not so sure Antz was a rip-off of Bug's Life. They came out at the same time of the year, and it had to have been in production for about 4 years. IMHO, Antz was more original than BL. I also recall that Pixar had two different sets of closing credits they changed out after a period of time, trying to stifle the BO for Antz.
    .

    Any claims that "Bug's Life" ripped off "Antz" are nuts – as you note, those films were in production for YEARS, but "Antz" hit theaters less tha 2 months before "ABL".

    The change of closing credit "bloopers" occurred to push the box office of "ABL" but not due to "Antz". "Antz" was already done at the box office by the time "ABL" hit screens – there was no need for Pixar to compete with DreamWorks because "Antz" was essentially already out of theaters…

  3. Colin Jacobson

    Any claims that "Bug's Life" ripped off "Antz" are nuts – as you note, those films were in production for YEARS, but "Antz" hit theaters less tha 2 months before "ABL".

    The change of closing credit "bloopers" occurred to push the box office of "ABL" but not due to "Antz". "Antz" was already done at the box office by the time "ABL" hit screens – there was no need for Pixar to compete with DreamWorks because "Antz" was essentially already out of theaters…

    The original comment, not mine, implied that Antz ripped off BL. I was defending Antz as being original and very different from BL. As for the closing credits being changed, I dim and faulty memory thinks Antz and BL at least had overlapping times in the theaters.

  4. Johnny Angell

    The original comment, not mine, implied that Antz ripped off BL. I was defending Antz as being original and very different from BL. As for the closing credits being changed, I dim and faulty memory thinks Antz and BL at least had overlapping times in the theaters.

    Oops – I misread which film ripped off the other. Anyway, I was agreeing with you that neither ripped off the other – no way that could've happened given production schedules! 🙂

    That's why even something like "Shark Tale" seems unlikely to be a true "me too" production – it just takes too long to make movies like that. Granted, it's possible – likely? – that competing studios know what the others are doing and put films in the pipeline, but I don't think that qualifies them as true "ripoffs".

    We can find plenty of times where very similar competing movies hit screens at almost the same time – "Armageddon"/"Deep Impact", "Volcano"/"Dante's Peak", a spate of "old person in young body" flicks in the 80s, etc. These may show a lack of creativity but they're not examples of "me too" ripoffs.

    "Antz" and "ABL" did overlap slightly, but "Antz" was essentially box office toast by Thanksgiving when "ABL" debuted. It only made $6m of its $90m US total after "ABL" hit screens.

  5. I wish people would figure out the difference between a general audience picture and a children's film.

    Also, the only similarity between Antz and Bug's Life was the fact that they both used ants.

  6. John Sparks

    I remember when I was a Uniformed Fire Safety Officer with LAFD going from the set DANTE'S PEAK one week to the set of VOLCANO the next…good times!

    No, if they shot in LA for a month, you would get a new inspector (UFSO) every day.

    I remember being in a abandoned military hanger out in the valley and seeing hundreds of tables set up with 1000's of about 5 inch small trees that were going to be blown over by the blast of the Dante's Peak volcano.

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