DreamWorks Animation

A lot of animated kids' movies are good-to-great. A ton. And almost none of them ever need sequels. Ice Age, Finding Nemo, Rio, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Kung Fu Panda, Monsters, Inc., all those '90s Disney movies—nothing necessitated those brand-diluting follow-ups, or the follow-ups to the follow-ups to the follow-ups, even the good ones. In our near future, Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph, Shrek 17, the Despicable Me and How to Train Your Dragon and Hotel Transylvania threequels will all arrive, and there's no fucking point.

There are palatable, sometimes thrilling exceptions on the horizon: Zootopia 2, sure. Toy Story 4, why not. Big Hero 6, oh god please. (All Disney/Pixar, btw.) But the only one that matters is an all-but-guaranteed Godfather: Part II of the family viewing zone: the sequel to The Croods.

The Croods, a grand piece of original, non-adapted intellectual property released in March 2013 to the tune of $587.2 million globally/$187.2 in America, is warm, sharp, gorgeous and just...awesome. It was somehow the most vital Nicolas Cage performance since 2002 (Spike Jonze/Charlie Kaufman's Adaptation) or 2005 (The Weather Man; #crossbowcage). Where most kids' movies are content to sign like nine SNL performers/Golden Globe–winners/hot comedians/lovable young actors, chemistry and memorability be damned, The Croods managed to get Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds all in the same emotional voice-acting booth. Rounding out the believable, lovable and inseparable family (unusual for a genre obsessed with dead or estranged parents) were surprising, pitch-perfect choices like Catherine Keener, Clark Duke and Cloris Leachman.

The Croods is also fantastic for its animation (a cut above, in a field where the bar is uniformly high), its thought-out portrayal of a made-up "Croodaceous" era where humans coexist with a menagerie of beasts, its willingness to follow its own muse in lieu of a strict, typical quest or battle between good and evil. There was no need to hide my mid-movie nap from my daughter because, unlike even the really really good animated flicks, it never let me fall asleep—the first or second time.

Doesn't matter, though, as foolishness rears its head in Hollywood again: The Croods 2 has been pushed (for a second time) from Dec. 22, 2017—already way too far from the cinematic Cupid's arrow that hit us in March 2013—to 2018. Just some time in 2018! And this thing got the green light the month after the first one came out. And it's got Kat Dennings and Leslie Mann coming aboard, and the original writing/directing team of Kirk DeMicco (Space Chimps) and Chris Sanders (co-director of Lilo & Stitch, creator of the TV series adaptation, story credits on Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and How to Train Your Dragon). (And what a drag this delay must be for those guys. The Croods 2 is the only project that's publicly occupied both dudes' slates since The Croods. Sanders already had to wait eight years between directing Lilo and Dragon. DeMicco had to wait five between his debut and The Croods. And these guys are very talented!)

Fox, the DreamWorks Animation distributor till the transition to new owner NBCUniversal is complete, is behind the delay. "Since NBCU doesn't yet own DWA, Universal can't comment on any business matters involving DWA, or include any DWA titles on its roster," The Hollywood Reporter writes. Unmoved on DreamWorks Animation's slate? Trolls (Nov. 4), Boss Baby (March 31, 2017) and Captain Underpants (June 2, 2017). Ugh. In place of The Croods 2, Fox is dropping one of its own 20th Century Fox Animation flicks, The Story of Ferdinand, based on a 1930s children's book.

This is bad and it sucks. Three years between the first two Madagascars and Despicable Mes and Hotel Transylvanias and Rios? Two years between Despicable Me 2 and Minions, and those nightmare Smurfs movies? But we're waiting a half-decade for the next installment in the non-Pixar crown jewel of family entertainment, because companies are playing opaque games of release date musical chairs, probably in an effort to bank an extra $20 million or whatever? No.

Also, DreamWorks? We will accept a Home sequel as repayment for this Croods 2 BS.