Paramount has started development on a sequel to the family film “Clifford the Big Red Dog,” the studio announced Tuesday.
Released simultaneously in theaters and on Paramount+ on Nov. 10 to take advantage of kids off from school for Veterans’ Day, “Clifford” earned an extended opening weekend total of $22 million and has grossed $34.6 million through Monday. The film was previously set for a mid-September release in theaters only but was moved to November with a day-and-date release strategy on Paramount+.
Paramount has touted the film’s strong performance on streaming, as “Clifford” has become the highest-watched original film to launch on Paramount+ to date. Paramount has defended its day-to-date move on “Clifford” as a way to make the film available for families who aren’t ready to return to theaters as the CDC has only recently approved the use of COVID vaccines for kids ages 5-11.
“We know that segments of the family audience are not ready to come back to theatres given where we are with the current state of the pandemic,” Paramount Pictures domestic distribution president Chris Aronson said on opening weekend. “Until vax levels amongst children are more robust, this release strategy is very successful because it gives families a choice of seeing the film in theaters or on Paramount+, while also priming the exhibition pump, which we very much believe in.”
Paramount did not say whether the “Clifford” sequel would be a theatrically exclusive title, something that Universal pledged on Monday upon announcement that it would make a third “Trolls” film with DreamWorks. Universal was the first studio to experiment with releasing films intended for theaters on streaming and on-demand with “Trolls: World Tour,” having announced the film’s departure from theaters at the very start of the COVID-19 shutdown.
“Clifford” was made in partnership with eOne, which is handling distribution in Canada and the U.K., and Scholastic, which publishes the “Clifford” children’s books upon which the film is based. The film has yet to begin its theatrical run overseas, releasing the film in France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and Brazil among other markets in the first week of December.
For the record: A previous version of this story listed that “Clifford the Big Red Dog” premiered on HBO Max. It aired on Paramount+.