‘Trolls World Tour’ Fills Easter Void Left By ‘No Time To Die’

Dreamworks Animation’s Trolls World Tour is going where No Time to Die vacated: April 10. Originally the DWA pic, released via Universal, was to go April 17.

This is the first major studio move in the wake of MGM/Eon/Universal moving the global day and date release of the 25th 007 pic this morning, which Deadline exclusively broke. It also will ease fears among exhibition. While studios can sustain and weather macro shifts in their movie re-dates, having consistent product is the bread and butter for theaters. The DWA sequel is also sneaking for exhibitors at the studio-theater chain confab Cinemacon at the end of March.

This is great sigh of relief to distribution in the wake of No Time to Die‘s move to Thanksgiving. Easter has become a very rich weekend for movies with the 2015 and 2016 holidays delivering back-to-back record openings with Uni’s Furious 7 ($161.2M) and Warner Bros.’ Batman v Superman ($181M) for overall respective weekend grosses (for all titles) to $247.1M and an all-time Easter high of $278.5M stateside.

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So if No Time to Die needs to move, why is another big tentpole coming into the Easter space? First of all, it’s crucial that the Bond film truly launches around the world in an ideal scenario with all foreign markets, including 007 friendly Asia. That movie alone is the backbone to MGM unlike other majors who have a large slate of event pics and can weather sluggish periods. Next, animated family pics like Trolls World Tour have staggered overseas openings. They don’t always go day and date, as they capitalize on varying school holidays in other countries. That’s likely the distribution strategy here in moving Trolls World Tour up.

Trolls World Tour is directed by Walt Dohrn, who served as co-director on Trolls, which grossed $153.7M stateside and close to $347M WW, and is produced by returning producer Gina Shay. The film is co-directed by David P. Smith, co-produced by Kelly Cooney Cilella and executive produced by Dannie Festa, all of whom worked on the first movie. The sequel is written by Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger, Maya Forbes & Wally Wolodarsky and Elizabeth Tippet, from a story by Aibel and Berger.

In the wake of the first pic’s release in 2016, Trolls has become a booming franchise for DWA extending to spinoff TV series and merchandise. Timberlake’s dance song “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from the movie was dropped six months before its November release and ultimately sold over 7.6M units in the U.S. (3.3M).

Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake return. The pic follows their characters Poppy and Branch on an adventure that takes them well beyond what they’ve known before, discovering six different Troll tribes scattered over six different lands and devoted to six different kinds of music: Funk, Country, Techno, Classical, Pop and Rock. There’s hard rock royals Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom) and her dad King Thrash (Ozzy Osbourne) who want to destroy all other kinds of music to let rock reign supreme. With the fate of the world at stake, Poppy and Branch, along with their friends — Biggie (James Corden), Chenille (Caroline Hjelt), Satin (Aino Jawo), Cooper (Ron Funches) and Guy Diamond (Kunal Nayyar) — set out to visit all the other lands to unify the Trolls in harmony against Barb, who’s looking to upstage them all. Other voiceover stars: from the land of Funk are Mary J. Blige, George Clinton and Anderson Paak. Representing Country is Kelly Clarkson as Delta Dawn, with Sam Rockwell as Hickory and Flula Borg as Dickory. J Balvin brings Reggaeton, while Ester Dean adds to the Pop tribe. Anthony Ramos brings the beat in Techno and Jamie Dornan covers smooth jazz. World-renowned conductor and violinist Gustavo Dudamel appears as Trollzart and Charlyne Yi as Pennywhistle from the land of Classical. And Kenan Thompson raps as a newborn Troll named Tiny Diamond.


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