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SYDNEY — DreamWorks Animation is turning its feature film, How To Train Your Dragon, into an arena show in partnership with Australian live entertainment group Global Creatures, with its world premiere in March 2012 in Melbourne ahead of a worldwide rollout, the partners announced Monday.
Global Creatures and its animatronic division, The Creature Technology Company are creating over 24 dragons for the show, including film favorites: Nadder, Gronckle, Nightmare, Toothless the Nightfury and Red Death, the single largest animatronic creature ever made by The Creature Technology Company.
The show builds on the success of live arena show Walking With Dinosaurs, which Global produced with the BBC in recent years.
Unveiling the deadly Nadder in Melbourne on Monday, DreamWorks Animation chief creative officer Bill Damaschke told The Hollywood Reporter that the show would be the first of its kind, featuring full scale, fire breathing dragons, projections, flying, stunts, circus performers and pyrotechnics.
“The complex animatronics, the cast of eighty including Viking warriors and villagers as well as world-class circus and acrobatic performers, all are quite ambitious,” he said of the $20 million-plus show thats been nearly five years in planning.
Following its March dates in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane the show will then travel to New Zealand then the U.S. in June, with plans underway to bring it to other markets.
“In our film, audiences around the world were transported to the mythical world of Vikings and dragons… and now, we are excited to immerse them in a one-of-a-kind live event in the How To Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular,”Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation CEO said in a statement.
“The innovative team at Global Creatures and the creative storytellers at DreamWorks Animation have done an inspired job in every imaginable way to present this story on an unprecedented scale that will take audiences to unforgettable new heights,” he added.
Director Nigel Jamieson has travelled twice around the world to cast the show, with key cast including the main Viking roles of Hiccup, Astrid, Stoick and Gobber to be announced shortly.
Global Creatures headed Australia’s Top 50 Entertainers list as compiled by business magazine BRW, with AUS$140 million ($150 million) in earnings last year in its debut on the list.
It created the Walking With Dinosaurs spectacular, which has toured globally with over 6.5 million admissions.
“We were inspired by the level of success of Walking With Dinosaurs and we believe that there’s a fascination with dragons and their mythology across cultures. We believe we can meet Walking With Dinosaurs level of success. With DreamWorks’ story telling and Global Creatures technology we’ll make a unique and new kind of live show,” Damaschke said.
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