Our favorite ogre is back! As if we knew that many. NBC Universal chief Steve Burke revealed that the idea of a Shrek revival is in the works, providing ample opportunity to extend the franchise to different platforms.
The Shrek franchise, based on William Steig's picture book Shrek!, has been DreamWorks Animation's biggest moneymaker since its launch in 2001. Shrek is also the 12th highest-grossing franchise and the highest-grossing animated franchise of all time. Shrek will only continue to grow with each layer of brand stretching that is added to its collection (like an onion).
Thus far, the franchise has led to the creation of four official movies, in addition to holiday specials, shorts, a musical adaptation, and a video game. Shrek even led to the spin-off Puss in Boots (2011) featuring Antonio Banderas, which appears as both a film and a TV series.
There is an upcoming movie sequel, Puss in Boots 2: Nine Lives & 40 Thieves, which was removed from the release schedule in January 2015 following corporate restructuring. Another factor that delayed its release is DreamWorks Animation's new policy to release two films a year. It is unclear as to whether this Shrek reboot will have an effect on the Puss in Boots sequel.
During an investor gathering at the Sixth Annual TMT Symposium, Burke admitted:
"Comcast hopes to breathe new life into Shrek and crank out as many as four animated movies a year following its acquisition of DreamWorks Animation."
Burke told the Guggenheim Partners that the aim is to exploit the fictional characters in order to make a profit by brand extension. In other words, they could increase their profit by turning the movie's low single-digit returns into a "different kind of business."
Besides creating more adaptations and sequels, examples include producing licensed merchandise revolving around the iconic protagonists. This opens a world of endless opportunities, as pretty much everything can be branded by the franchise: video games, toys, bicycles, clothing, costumes, home decor, kitchen supplies, bedding, electronics, school supplies, food, drinks, and so on.
Another option that is guaranteed to make more money is the emergence of Shrek-themed amusement parks such as Shrek's Adventure, which opened in London (next to the London Eye) last summer. They could continue to expand by opening new branches across the globe, particularly in Beijing, China, where they already have a presence.
DreamWorks Animation (DWA) has been enduring some noticeable transitions since Comcast recently struck a deal to purchase the company for the hefty price of $3.8 billion. This new collaboration will give them an extra push in their rivalry with Disney, which acquired Pixar for $7.4 billion back in 2006.
Burke hopes that the deal will make a turn for profit in the near future, saying that the acquisition advances Comcast's "consumer products agenda by five years." The pressure is on for DWA to release phenomenal films now that the company has $250 million worth of overhead costs and is only releasing two movies per year.
Film producer Christopher Meledandri, the founder and CEO of Illumination Entertainment, will have creative control over the project. His goal is to help come up with the best tactic to not only resurrect Shrek, but to "take a lot of the existing DreamWorks franchises and add value as we create new franchises.”
If this is the case, then we can definitely get excited for the Shrek reboot, along with all future possibilities. Many DWA franchises are already extraordinarily successful, with legends such as Ice Age, Toy Story, Kung Fu Panda, and Despicable Me.