When DreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon was released back in 2010, it exploded around the world like a ball of dragon’s breath. Not only did the movie completely stun critics – eventually leading to two Academy Award nominations – it also was a monster hit at the global box office, ultimately pulling in nearly $500 million. It was shortly thereafter that a sequel was announced, but it’s only this weekend that the film is finally coming to theaters. It’s been a long, fascinating road for the movie to get made, and we recently got to learn all about it.
In advance of How To Train Your Dragon 2’s release date, 20th Century Fox invited a group of film reporters to DreamWorks Animation Studios where we not only had the chance to sit down for an extended chat with director Dean DuBlois, but also tour around the facility. We learned multiple fascinating things about the new movie throughout the day, so read on to learn all about it!
The Empire Strikes Back Had A Very Important InfluenceAs far as blockbuster sequels go, there are few out there better than Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. As a follow up to the biggest science-ficition hit in history, the movie was under immense pressure to live up the original, and it succeeded by advancing its main characters and the entire universe in new and interesting ways. Wanting to create something as special and amazing as Empire Strikes Back has been the goal of many a filmmaker embarking on a sequel, and Dean DuBlois was no different in approaching How To Train Your Dragon 2.
Discussing his approach to mature themes while also being sure to make the animated movie age-appropriate for young kids, DuBlois told us that the first Star Wars sequel was something that had a very profound effect on him at a young age, and that it was that theatrical experience he was hoping to possibly recreate with his latest film.
"I never second guess an audience," DuBlois explained. "That’s my thing. I try to make the movie that I want to see, that I would have loved to see when I was 10 and that I would love to see now. There are examples of movies out there like that and for me, The Empire Strikes Back was the ultimate one. That was the best sequel I could think of, but it spoke to such a broad audience and I think that’s what we’re doing here. We’re trying to make a true four quadrant movie that speaks to the adults as much as the youngsters."
Going further, the writer/director explained that looking at How To Train Your Dragon 2 as simply a kids movie would actually be a mistake, and instead that it’s a movie that audiences of all ages will be able to get something meaningful from.
"We always try to entertain everyone in the audience, but not alienate or leave behind the kids, and I think an aspirational hero is a big part of that.