There's been an interesting misconception around DreamWorks' “How to Train Your Dragon 2” that seems to need correcting. Most eyes tend to be on domestic box office tallies, so the film's $176.8 million haul feels like a failure stacked against the 2010 original film's $217.5 million. But globally, “Dragon 2” blew past the original's $494.8 by over $100 million, settling in at $618.8 million, enough to make it the highest grossing animated film of the year.
And now, it's breaking records at home, too. Variety reported earlier this week that the sequel has sold two million units on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD, making it 20th Century Fox's top Digital HD family title ever.
It just seemed like a stream of facts worth embossing as the Oscar season heats up and the Best Animated Feature Film race finds its stride. A lot of love has been thrown “The LEGO Movie's” way (the film made nearly 50% more than “Dragon 2” stateside but didn't come close to the sequel's worldwide tally). I'm a fan of that romp as far as it goes; it just doesn't match “Dragon 2” for scope, craft and story. But I've already made the case for Dean DeBlois' film in the Best Picture race, let alone the animated feature scramble.
It's an interesting year for the animated features. All of the movies that seem to have a real fighting chance also have perceived knocks against them. “Big Hero 6” (which is delightful in a Saturday morning kind of way) has the Marvel stigma. “The Boxtrolls” (gorgeously designed and wrought) didn't capture critics the way Laika's previous films have. The GKIDS movies are, well, low profile, shall we say. “Dragon 2” has this misconception regarding its financial success and “The LEGO Movie” is dealing with brand stigma as well.
Most expect “LEGO” to pull out the win for ingenuity in a sea of brand and aesthetic familiarity. But my fingers will be crossed for DreamWorks' best film and franchise to date, a thrilling piece of work that still rates as one of the very best films – period – of the year.
“How to Train Your Dragon 2” is now available on DVD/Blu-ray.