Over the last several years fans of animation have been treated to quite a few groundbreaking and universally lauded films. Movies like Toy Story 3, Despicable Me (and its sequels), The Secret Life of Pets, Inside Out, and Zooptopia, just to name a few, were all unmitigated successes at the box office, and were enjoyed by critics and fans alike. But it may surprise you that none of these incredibly successful films have yet launched a franchise as successful in animation as Shrek (and its sequels/spin-offs). In fact, Shrek 2 was the highest grossing animated movie (domestically) for 12 years until that record was broken by Finding Dory this summer.
All in all, five Shrek films have been released (if you include the spin-off Puss in Boots) grossing a combined $1.4 billion domestically, and $3.5 billion worldwide. The last film in the Shrek proper series was Shrek Forever After. That film became the lowest-grossing of the four Shrek movies domestically, though was still a huge success worldwide. And despite indications that franchise fatigue had set in, after NBCUniversal bought Dreamworks Animation, a fifth Shrek film was quickly announced. And we are now learning that the writer of Shrek 5 is someone with a long rooted history in both comedy and animation.
The Hollywood News is reporting that Michael McCullers will be penning the script for Shrek 5. The veteran writer got his start as a writer on Saturday Night Live before co-writing all three Austin Powers scripts with fellow SNL alumn, Mike Myers (who, of course, provides the voice for Shrek himself). McCullers also wrote and directed the Tina Fey-starring Baby Mama, and was recently tapped to write the Adam Sandler-led animated threequel, Hotel Transyvlania 3.
The Hollywood News uncovered McCullers role as Shrek 5‘s writer while speaking with Trolls‘ directors, Walt Dohrn and Mike Mitchell. With regards to Shrek 5, Mitchell, who directed Shrek Forever After, stated, “They’ve got a pretty good story. It’s being written by Michael McCullers who wrote all of the Austin Powers films. He came up with a really great idea that they’re exploring.” While Mitchell and Dorn are not yet confirmed to be involved in the project, Dorn did add, “There’s more story to tell there and we’re ready to help tell it for sure.”
While it has been over six years since Shrek Forever After came count, and could reach a decade by the time we see Shrek 5, it still makes sense for NBCUniversal and Dreamworks Animation to be planning another film with the lovable green ogre. With the growth in the international box office, and the string of animated successes as of late, Shrek 5 appears to be a sure fire success. After all, a long gap between animated releases might mean nothing – just look at Toy Story 3.
The announcement of McCullers as the writer is intriguing given his penchant for comedy. The Shrek films have always been at their best when bringing the humor – and with comedy legends like Myers and Eddie Murphy lending their voices, the laughs should keep on coming. With McCullers once again teaming with Myers, there may be hope yet that the franchise returns to form with its fifth go-round.
We will keep you up to date with more news regarding Shrek 5 as it develops.