Ladies and gentlemen, whether or not you spent most of the week dissecting the trailer for Disney’s live-action remake of The Jungle Book or yelling at each other over the box-office success of Minions, I would like to divert your attention to an amazing turn of events for a certain stop-motion film.
In a report by Variety, StudioCanal (Europe’s largest film/TV production-distribution house) has confirmed that Aardman is currently developing a sequel to Shaun the Sheep Movie!
Not much else is known other than that Aardman will once again team up with Studiocanal (the native distributor for the first film) for the sequel.
This news comes just a month after Shaun the Sheep Movie had a disastrous US opening (the worst ever for Aardman). What saved it exactly? There are three reasons why moviegoers (particularly fans of the franchise) will get to see Shaun on the big screen again.
First, Shaun the Sheep Movie had the safety net of being released in the UK first. Over there, Aardman is still a well-known and beloved studio brand and thus the Shaun the Sheep franchise is more established and widespread in UK pop culture.
Second, despite a truly horrendous opening weekend in the US, Shaun the Sheep Movie was able to quietly collect $18 million total before disappearing entirely. It’s enough for Lionsgate (the US distributor for the film) to recoup their costs, even though it’s seemingly a case of ‘too little, too late’ (which I will touch on in a little bit).
Tying it all together, the third reason was that Shaun the Sheep Movie wasn’t that expensive to make, reportedly costing less than $25 million to make. The worldwide gross of the film (in total) was $82 million. So while Shaun the Sheep Movie still constitutes as a box-office bomb in the US, the worldwide total was still enough for Studiocanal to give the greenlight on the sequel.
Now that we know that a sequel is happening, should Lionsgate distribute that movie as well?
As we have previously established, Lionsgate did Shaun the Sheep Movie no favors with its marketing campaign (or lack thereof). That also speaks to the company’s admittedly terrible track record with animated films, whether it be with box-office returns or critical reception (the next one is Norm of the North, for example). This may not always be this way, as they are currently preparing an animated My Little Pony movie with Allspark Pictures for 2017.
At the same time, Aardman’s brand recognition in the US has diminished in recent time (not to dismiss the passionate US fans out there). But even that factor could have been balanced somewhat if Lionsgate had put a percentage of the marketing power they put behind their Hunger Games movies into Shaun the Sheep Movie.
Time will tell if Lionsgate gets to have another spin with the Shaun the Sheep franchise, or any Aardman movie for that matter (2018 will bring Early Man, a film marking Nick Park’s return to the director’s chair).
What do you think? Any thoughts on this development?
Edited by: Kelly Conley