“The Bad Guys”, opening April 22nd, is the 42nd DreamWorks Animation feature to be released theatrically and the 44th DWA movie overall. I was a newborn when “Antz” and “The Prince of Egypt” opened in late 1998, and I didn’t see “The Road to El Dorado” and “Joseph: King of Dreams” (DVD) when they came out in 2000. But I have a close connection to pretty much every other DreamWorks film.
I saw “Chicken Run” and “Shrek” at the Drive-Ins. I remember “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron” playing on a TV at a summer camp. The marketing / promotion for “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas” was massive in 2003, but the film was a box office flop.
I can still picture going to see “Shrek 2” at a section of a multiplex complex that no longer exists. I also recall seeing “Shark Tale” at that same theater but leaving it not quite as impressed. The detailed NYC scenes in “Madagascar” blew me away. “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” was a joy on an otherwise rainy day.
“Over the Hedge” was fun, and it was fascinating to learn about Garry Shandling’s care for the script and his character Verne’s dialogue in Judd Apatow’s “Zen Diaries” documentary. I could’ve attended an advance screening of “Flushed Away” but I believe I was at an Eagles game that weekend.
Saw “Shrek the Third” at the opening night of a Bow Tie Cinemas location near me in May 2007. Attended a local press screening of “Bee Movie”, which featured a teaser trailer and poster in the lobby of “Kung Fu Panda”. Saw “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” at the opening night of an area IMAX screen. “Monsters vs. Aliens” was a 3D Saturday morning screening. So was “How to Train Your Dragon” a year later. I read kids a brief “Dragon” movie tie-in book afterwards.
DreamWorks gave me plenty of passes for friends at school to attend “Shrek Forever After” Saturday morning screening. “Megamind” was a Friday night. “Kung Fu Panda 2” opened on a Thursday, so I had to see it then. “Puss in Boots” was originally set to open on Nov. 4, 2011, then — at the beginning of October — it was moved-up a week to Oct. 28. I saw it on Oct. 22. I dressed-up as Megamind and Puss in Boots during my weekly TV segment during Halloween weekend those years.
Did trivia before packed Saturday morning “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” screening in 2012. DWA sent me several “Afro Circus” Marty the Zebra wigs. “Rise of the Guardians” was the final Paramount release — and bound for an Oscar nomination, but it didn’t happen.
Saw “The Croods” (the first 20th Century Fox DWA release) on St. Patrick’s Day, a Sunday afternoon. “Turbo” screening took place just hours after I said goodbye to my YNN TV segment after five years, on July 13, 2013. Went to “Mr. Peabody & Sherman”, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” and “Penguins of Madagascar” as soon as they opened. Waited a week to check out “Home”, and it ended-up being better than I expected.
Went to “Kung Fu Panda 3” screening on the 20th Century Fox lot in January 2016. Interviewed the directors at in-person junket the next day and bumped into Bryan Cranston in the hallway. Gave away plenty of “Trolls” wigs to families before that screening. Went to “The Boss Baby” screening on a Saturday morning and then a few hours later saw Sony’s “Smurfs: The Lost Village”. Two months later, I laughed harder and more often during “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” than anyone else in the theater.
It was cool seeing “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” (DWA’s first Universal release) three weeks before it opened at a Fandango-sponsored screening. And I got to check-out 30 minutes of “Abominable” AT DreamWorks in Summer 2019 before seeing the entire movie that September. And since COVID emerged, I’ve now seen and interviewed the makers of SIX DreamWorks films at home: “Trolls World Tour”, “The Croods: A New Age”, “Spirit Untamed”, “The Boss Baby: Family Business”, “Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans” (a straight to Netflix feature) and now “The Bad Guys”.
Looking forward to this Fall’s “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”, next year’s “Trolls 3” and more DreamWorks Animation films in the pipeline.