Universal Pictures will be releasing a live-action adaptation of DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon” into theaters on March 14, 2025. Three-time Oscar nominee Dean DeBlois, who co-directed the 2010 blockbuster hit with Chris Sanders, and directed both the sequel in 2014 and the threequel in 2019, will write, direct and produce this live-action offering.
The “How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy, based on the book series by Cressida Cowell, is one of the artistic milestones of the Katzenberg-founded animation studio, with total global grosses of $1.6 billion and three Best Animated Feature Oscar nominations.
Strong grosses – over $520 million global – for “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” in early 2019 as the animated sequels like “The LEGO Movie 2” and “The Angry Birds Movie 2” showed that Toothless and Hiccup were marquee characters with some generational nostalgia pull. Puss in Boots is also a marquee character with generational nostalgia appeal, as the Oscar-nominated sequel is about to pass $400 million at the worldwide box office.
While Disney has turned the live-action redo into its own sub-genre/franchise with “The Little Mermaid” arriving in theaters this Memorial Day, though those films tend to focus on older Disney cartoons. The newest one thus far remade theatrically is “Mulan,” which originally debuted in the summer of 1998. A live-action “Lilo and Stitch” movie is in development, allegedly for Disney+, which is ironic as the directors of that 2002 animated film were Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders.
DreamWorks Animation’s first “How to Train Your Dragon” opened in April of 2010, a month after Tim Burton’s live-action “Alice in Wonderland,” meaning this remake will celebrate its predecessor’s 15th anniversary.
If this works, commercially it may well open the floodgates for live-action remakes for DreamWorks franchises like “Shrek” and “Kung Fu Panda,” as well as give Disney an unofficial license to put the newer likes of “Tangled,” “Moana” and “Frozen” into the remake sandbox.