Dreamworks celebrated a successful Labor Day weekend by announcing that How To Train Your Dragon 2 had crossed the $600 million mark at the global box office, making it one of the highest-grossing films of the year and the top-earning animated film of 2014.
Unfortunately, that celebration was cut short as the studio also announced that the third film in the franchise, which was expected to hit theaters on June 17th, 2016 has been delayed a whole year to June 9th, 2017.
The studio was mum about its reasoning for the delay, though the fact that HTTYD 3 was sharing a release date with Disney/Pixar’s Finding Dory surely played a part. The How To Train Your Dragon franchise may be one of the biggest tentpoles at Dreamworks’ disposal, but HTTYD 2‘s $600 million box office take doesn’t quite hold a candle to Finding Nemo‘s $936 million, meaning that Toothless and Hiccup besting Dory and her aquatic pals at the box office in 2016 was highly unlikely.
Pushing the film a whole year still seems a bit drastic though, so perhaps there’s more going on here than meets the eye. As of right now, How To Train Your Dragon 3 has that June 9th date all to itself, but it faces stiff competition that month with The LEGO Movie sequel opening on May 26th and an untitled Pixar film slated for June 16th.
The same creative team form the first two films – writer/director Dean DeBlois and producer Bonnie Arnold – are still expected to bring How To Train Your Dragon 3 to life, with Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett and other cast members set to reprise their roles.
We’ll keep you posted when we hear more.