Two of Hollywood’s most dynamic animation powerhouses will team up for the first time ever to collide two franchises that together defined a generation’s perception of animation. Pixar Animation Studios and DreamWorks Animation SKG announced today plans for a one-hour crossover television special in which the worlds of Toy Story and Shrek will unite for To Far, Far Away and Beyond!.
The special, airing Christmas Eve 2013, involves Bonnie and family taking a vacation, but when Dad makes a wrong turn, they end up in Far, Far Away. Perceiving it to be an elaborate theme park, the family decides to stay. Things heat up when Bonnie accidentally leaves her backpack of toys in Princess Fiona’s castle, where Woody, Buzz, and their friends meet a disgruntled ogre who shares the truth behind the land. Shenanigans ensue as Shrek, Donkey, and the whole crew try to keep the illusion that their home is really a theme park so that Bonnie’s family doesn’t report the city to the ASPCA.
In an interesting production schedule, the special is completely split in half so that each studio pulls the weight equally. DreamWorks will provide the story and script for the first 30 minutes “to reel the audience in with pop culture jokes,” as one executive put it, while Pixar will develop the first 30 minutes of animation. On the flip side, the second half will be animated by DreamWorks but scripted by Pixar, “to ensure no one is left without an empty box of tissues by the time the credits roll,” as the same executive said.
Certainly no one expected two of the world’s directly competing animation studios to collaborate, but perhaps teamwork is the best plan of action when families are enjoying stories from both companies so much these days. If the special racks up impressive ratings, talks are already circling about the possibility of future theatrical crossover shorts with the same concept. Many fans are expressing utter puzzlement and are venting many questions following the unexpected announcement. Answers will come with time, but for now, have a happy April 1st.