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Chris Meledandri Talks 'Shrek 5', 'Sing 3' and More

CEO and co-founder Chris Meledandri is doing the rounds to promote the imminent release of The Super Mario Bros Movie. As well as talking about the eagerly awaited video game movie he has also been teasing other upcoming projects.

Since Universal acquired DreamWorks Animation, Meledandri now oversees that studio too. And he has been talking about the return of its biggest franchise: Shrek. Following the success last year of the spin-off/sequel Puss In Boots: The Last Wish, it looks like we are getting a new entry in the mainline Shrek franchise. It is variously described as Shrek 5 and a reboot, so it's not entirely clear what shape the new movie will take.

Sequel or reboot either way it seems likely that the original cast- including Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy is keen to return. 

"It’s not that dissimilar to the process that we went through with Mario, where you look at what the core elements are that audiences have loved, and you do your very best to honour those core elements,” Meledandri told Variety. "And then you’re hard at work to build story elements and new characters that take you to brand new places. The original cast is a huge part of that."

He notes that no contracts have been signed yet but that negotiations have been going well. “We anticipate the cast coming back. Talks are starting now, and every indication that we’ve gotten is there’s tremendous enthusiasm on behalf of the actors to return,” he added.

When quizzed about the possibility of a Donkey spin-off- an idea floated by Eddie Murphy in interviews- he said that he could support a movie on his own "without question." 

Outside the Shrekiverse Meledandri has been talking about new instalments in Illumination franchises. These include Sing 3 and new entries in the Secret Life Of Pets series.

The studio is developing multiple scripts set in the Pets universe. One of them features one of the primary characters from the first two films and introduces a set of new characters. The other is an ensemble. "We’re developing a couple of scripts in The Secret Life of Pets world", he said. "While we’re not ready yet to start a film, we’re absolutely continuing to develop in that franchise." Sing 3 is described as being deep in development. He says it will feature characters from the previous films but take them into a new world.

Finally, Meledandri has been talking about Illumination's new original film Migration. Due out this Autumn, it follows a family of ducks who disagree on whether to leave the safety of their pond in New England and explore the wilder world. The film is written by The White Lotus writer Mike White and directed by Ernest and Celestine's Benjamin Renner.

The film will apparently be quite unlike anything Illumination has done before."The film is very beautiful and has a painterly quality that is quite different from anything we’ve done at Illumination," Meledandri said. "The story is told with humour and heart. It’s a remarkably human story with characters who are very relatable and end up wrestling with issues that we all understand, even though they are ducks. And their qualities as ducks are incredibly well executed, from the smallest detail on a feather to their movements and their flight. So it’s a movie that transports you into this world up in the sky, but at the same time it’s very true to who we are."

A trailer for Migration will be released with The Super Mario Bros Movie.