NEW YORK – “How To Train Your Dragon 2” opens Friday, and those behind the sequel to Dreamworks’ $500 million hit hope the fiery breath of Toothless and his dragon friends is hot enough to melt the $1 billion record take of Disney’s 2013 animated smash hit, “Frozen.”
“There’s a new bar set, and everybody feels it throughout the industry,” “Dragon 2” writer/director Dean DeBlois told FOX411 at the film’s premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in April. “I applaud them, that’s great for them. Disney really needed a hit of their own, not just Pixar, so I think it’s nice that their hard work is being celebrated.”
“At the same time, of course, it comes into our meetings as well,” DeBlois said. “Jeffrey’s like ‘I want this to be our billion dollar movie.’ That’s all well and good, and I hope it is too.”
The “Jeffrey” DeBlois is referring to is DreamWorks honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg, who had similarly nice things to say about rival animation studio Disney’s megahit.
“It’s fantastic that ‘Frozen’ broke that barrier, but honestly, I’m now looking forward to someone breaking the $1.5 billion barrier in animation," He said. "And then the $2 billion (barrier). There’s no limitation to it.”
But Katzenberg was clear that he didn’t think “Dragon 2” needed to surpass “Frozen” to be a considered a success “any more than saying because ‘Avatar’ did $3 billion, that ‘Avengers’ doing $1.5 billion is a failure. It’s a triumph.”
DeBlois said following box office numbers is par for the course in Hollywood.
“Every film that succeeds or fails becomes a bit of a noose around our necks,” he explained. “There’s certainly hope and anticipation that the film will be successful, but we don’t know. Nobody knows.”
One key player who isn’t worried? “Dragon 2” star Jay Baruchel, who provides the voice for Hiccup.
“I think that anybody whose heart pumps blood will like this movie,” Baruchel said.
Which, if all those with blood-pumping hearts see the film, would add up to a lot more than $1 billion.