Despite How To Train Your Dragon 2 passing the $600 million mark at the global box office this weekend and solidifying its place as the highest-grossing animated film of 2014, Dreamworks has announced that the third film in the franchise will arrive a year later than expected.
How To Train Your Dragon 3 was originally slated to open in theaters on June 17, 2016 but has been pushed almost a whole year to June 9, 2017. Dreamworks didn’t cite a reason for the change, though one just has to look at HTTYD 3‘s competition that weekend to see why. Disney/Pixar’s Finding Dory is set to open on that June 17 date in 2016, which likely factored heavily into Dreamworks’ decision to move Hiccup and Toothless’ next adventure around.
HTTYD 2‘s $600 million box office take is nothing to shake a stick at, but it’s far short of the $936 million that Finding Nemo pulled from audiences in 2003. Finding Dory is expected to out-perform its predecessor when it hits theaters, so it would make sense for Dreamworks to shift gears and avoid it all together. Why they decided to move ahead an entire year, rather than find another weekend in 2016 worth claiming, remains to be seen.
As of right now, HTTYD 3 is all alone on its shiny new 2017 release date. It faces stiff competition that month though, as The LEGO Movie sequel opens a week before on May 26th, while an Untitled Pixar Film is slated to hit a week later on June 16th.
Writer/director Dean DeBlois (who also wrote and helmed the first two films) is still set to direct How To Train Your Dragon 3, while Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett and other cast members are still expected to reprise their roles.