DreamWorks Animation, Universal Set 'Spirit Riding Free,' 'The Bad Guys' Feature Films

Spirit Riding Free - H Publicity 2017
Courtesy of Netflix

The two new animated pics are slated for release in 2021, while 'Spooky Jack' has been pushed back.

Frontier adventures and bad guys trying to be good will come to the big screen in two new Universal and DreamWorks Animation pics scheduled for 2021. 

An as-yet untitled feature, based on DreamWorks Animation's Netflix series Spirit Riding Free, will follow an epic adventure of a little girl in a small frontier town who forms an unbreakable bond with a wild mustang named Spirit. The two embark on a rescue mission when Spirit's herd is captured. The Netflix effort was inspired by the 2002 animated feature Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, voiced by Matt Damon.

The film will be directed by Elaine Bogan (Tales of Arcadia: Trollhunters, Dragons: Race to the Edge), co-directed by Ennio Torresan and produced by Karen Foster. It is scheduled for a May 14, 2021, release. No voice cast has been announced.  

The second pic, The Bad Guys, follows the tale of five notorious criminals — Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Shark and Ms. Tarantula — attempting to turn a new leaf after a lifetime of pulling off legendary heists. The animated comedy, based on the best-selling series of books of the same name, will be the feature directorial debut for Pierre Perifel, with a script by Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder, Get Hard) and Hilary Winston (Community, My Name Is Earl). The film is being produced by Damon Ross and Rebecca Huntley and is set for release Sept. 17, 2021. 

DreamWorks and Universal have, meanwhile, pushed back the release of the previously announced Spooky Jack, a collaboration with horror master Jason Blum that was initially slated for September 2021. It is now undated. 

The announcement of the two new animated features comes as DreamWorks Animation is celebrating its 25th anniversary, under new president Margie Cohn.

DWA and Universal have had two successful box office hits this year: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World has grossed more than $500 million worldwide, while Abominable has earned more than $77 million globally since its Sept. 27 release.