Another 'Madagascar' sequel likely

DreamWorks previewed 'Escape 2 Africa' Wednesday

DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg expects at least one additional "Madagascar" sequel, the executive said Wednesday during a preview of the upcoming "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa."

The animation studio also has begun talks aimed at creating a sequel to its summer hit "Kung Fu Panda."

Katzenberg and "Escape 2 Africa" directors Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath introduced about 30 minutes of the computer-animated sequel to 2005's "Madagascar," which continues the story of a group of Central Park Zoo animals trying to make their way back to the Big Apple. The movie opens Nov. 7.

Calling it the "second chapter in one story," Katzenberg said, "there is at least one more chapter. We ultimately want to see the characters make it back to New York."

DWA previously said that all features after "Escape to Africa" would be made for stereoscopic 3-D release.

"Escape 2 Africa" includes the 2005 film's cast and creative team. That includes the directors, who started developing the project four years ago.

The returning voice cast includes Ben Stiller, David Schwimmer, Chris Rock and Jada Pinkett Smith, and new cast members including late actor-comedian Bernie Mac.

"It's been a very hard week," Katzenberg said. "We love Bernie. He made an amazing contribution to this movie."

Mac voices Zuba, the father of Alex the Lion (Stiller). Said Katzenberg: "There is a heart and soul that he brought to Zuba."

The featured clips included the sequence where the animals leave Madagascar in an abandoned plane but land in Africa, where Alex is reunited with his parents.

In other clips, the penguins use creative methods to collect parts needed to repair the plane; and Melman the Giraffe admits to Julien, a lemur, that he has feelings for Gloria the Hippo.

The directors discussed how technical advancements contributed to the animation, which includes detailed environments, large crowds and sweeping camera moves.

"It is a testament to software and computing power and how it has advanced, and to the talent of the people at the studio," Darnell said.

"Madagascar" made more than $530 million in worldwide boxoffice. It was DWA's highest-grossing nonsequel until "Kung Fu Panda" recently topped $560 million.
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