'Croods 2' Release Delayed Amid DreamWorks Animation Sale

'The Croods'

The shuffling comes as NBCUniversal finalizes its acquisition of the animation company founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg.

DreamWorks Animation's The Croods 2 may have to hibernate for a bit longer.

The animated family film had been set to hit theaters Dec. 22, 2017, but Fox has moved the film off of that date as NBCUniversal finalizes its deal to buy Jeffrey Katzenberg's DWA and make it part of the Universal fold. Katzenberg will step down as CEO to pursue new ventures once the pact closes later this month or next.

Croods 2 will now be released by Universal in 2018. Fox is still keeping the Dec. 22, 2017, date, but for one of its home-grown animated films, The Story of Ferdinand, based on the classic 1936 children's book. (Ferdinand was previously set to open July 21, 2017.)

Fox never had an ownership stake in DWA. Rather, the studio has been DWA's distribution and marketing partner since 2013. While that deal technically runs through 2017, there has been speculation as to whether Fox would indeed release all of the remaining DWA titles on its slate, considering the company will soon be owned and operated by another major Hollywood studio.

Since NBCU doesn't yet own DWA, Universal can't comment on any business matters involving DWA, or include any DWA titles on its roster. That's why Croods 2 still is technically on Fox's release calendar.

The three other DWA movies that will still go through Fox are Trolls (Nov. 4), Boss Baby (March 31, 2017) and Captain Underpants (June 2, 2017), although insiders say there were discussions about moving the latter to Universal/NBCU.

The first Croods, released in March 2013, grossed a strong $587.2 million at the global box office.

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