A direct-to-video sequel to Antz was in development at DreamWorks at the time of its release. Like the first film, it was planned to be produced by Pacific Data Images, and was also considered for theatrical release. By early 1999, when DreamWorks closed its television animation unit and merged the direct-to-video unit with the feature animation, the sequel was still planned, but eventually the project was cancelled.
In December 1998, DreamWorks and PDI announced their third computer-animated project titled Tusker, which was meant to follow Shrek. It would have been an original story chronicling a herd of elephants crossing southeast Asia. In their travels, they encounter a wide variety of dangers, including a band of marauding poachers. Tim Johnson and Brad Lewis, the co-director and producer of Antz respectively, were slated to direct and produce the project.
Jurassic Park: Chaos Effect
An animated series based on the 1997 film The Lost World: Jurassic Park was commissioned by Steven Spielberg himself, and was to be developed by DreamWorks under the supervision of Steve Lyons. The series would have been released after the film with the same name and would have involved hybrid dinosaurs similar to Jurassic World, but was eventually shelved due to a variety of internal conflicts.
A traditional animated feature film that was going to be directed by the Brizzi Brothers and Simon Wells of the story of a stray bear who joins a group of circus bears and changes their lives. The film's production was canceled when Wells went to direct The Time Machine and studio changes. As of 2012, some concept art was shown online of what the film's characters would've looked like.
While not announced by the studio, comedian Jerry Seinfeld, the producer, writer, and star of the 2007 DWA film Bee Movie, said that he has no interest to make a sequel to Bee Movie. During a Reddit AMA in June 2016, a fan asked if a Bee Movie 2 would be made. In response, Seinfeld stated,
I considered it this spring for a solid six hours. There's a fantastic energy now for some reason, on the internet particularly. Tumblr, people brought my attention to. I actually did consider it, but then I realized it would make Bee Movie 1 less iconic. But my kids want me to do it, a lot of people want me to do it. A lot of people that don't know what animation is want me to do it. If you have any idea what animation is, you'd never do it.
On June 16, 2007, author Neil Gaiman reported in his journal that he had pitched the idea of InterWorld to DreamWorks back in 1996, but the executives were confused on the concept. Along with Michael Raeves, they later published their work into the novel, in which DreamWorks Animation had optioned into producing an animated film.
In December 2009, it was reported that the studio had set screenwriters Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris (Kung Fu Panda) to write a film adaptation of the book, Gil's All Fright Diner, with Barry Sonnenfeld attached to direct the feature. In 2011, the book's author A. Lee Martinez wrote on his blog that he was working with DreamWorks on a project based on an original idea, and not on Gil's All Fright Diner. In March 2013, Martinez expressed uncertainty for any film adaptation: "Your guess is as good as mine. It's all a matter of convincing someone with the clout necessary to make it happen."
In the 2010s, several films were announced to be made that were to be released in the next 3–4 years following their announcements. Some of these films were eventually cancelled while others are claimed to be in development and waiting for a release. Most of these films were cancelled due to massive layoffs, creative differences, management changes, no updates on the features, and Comcast eventually buying DreamWorks in 2016.
In October 2010, it was announced that a film adaptation of the animated short Alma was in development with the short's director Rodrigo Blaas slated to direct and Guillermo del Toro was to serve as executive producer. In November 2011, it was reported that the studio has hired Megan Holley, a writer of Sunshine Cleaning, to write a script. Del Toro, who is also helping with the story and the design work, said in June 2012 that the film was in visual development.
In August 2010, DreamWorks Animation announced they were going to make their first live-action/animated project. The project was to be told from the point of view of the imaginary friends who had long been used as scapegoats by unscrupulous children looking for someone else to blame for their misdeeds. Eventually fed up, the imaginary people would come looking for revenge when the kids are grown up. Screenwriters Joe Syracuse and Lisa Addario were attached to write the script.
In December 2010, DreamWorks announced they had bought the film rights to the comic book series Maintenance from Oni Press. The film rights were first acquired by Warner Bros. as a potential project for director McG, but DreamWorks then got rights after Warner Bros. dropped out.
Me and My Shadow/Edgar Wright's Shadows
On December 10, 2010, DreamWorks Animation announced a project titled Me and My Shadow was scheduled for a March 2013 release date. The plot involved Shadow Stan who serves a shadow to Stanley Grubb, the world's most boring human. Wanting to live a more exciting life, he escapes the "Shadow World" and takes control of Stanley. With Mark Dindal slated as the film's director (who also developed the film's concept and story), the film was meant to combine traditional and CGI animation.
In January 2012, Bill Hader, Kate Hudson, and Josh Gad had joined the voice cast. Additionally, Alessandro Carloni had replaced Dindal as director and the release date was pushed back to November 2013. However, in June 2012, its release date was pushed back to March 7, 2014 with Mr. Peabody & Sherman taking its November 2013 release. In February 2013, Me and My Shadow went back into development with Mr. Peabody & Sherman re-assuming its original March 2014 release.
On November 19, 2015, Edgar Wright had signed to direct and co-write an animated feature for DreamWorks, in which the story was described as a "new take on a previously developed concept about shadows." In an interview with Collider published in June 2017, Wright explained that he and David Walliams had wrote three drafts, but the project is in limbo due to management changes at DreamWorks Animation.
The Pig Scrolls
On April 8, 2010, Pajiba.com reported that the studio was developing an animated feature film based on The Pig Scrolls. As a possible directing job, Barry Sonnenfeld was tasked to develop the film, while Kirk DeMicco wrote the most recent script revision.
In 2010, DreamWorks began production on Vivo, which was based off a concept by Peter Barsocchini. The film was to have centered on a monkey obsessed with music who embarks on a dangerous adventure from Havana, Cuba, to Miami, Florida. The film was cancelled by DreamWorks, but in 2016, the film was revived by Sony Pictures Animation with Kirk DeMicco as the director and Kristine Belson and Lisa Stewart as producers, and a November 6, 2020 release date.
In February 2011, it was announced that DreamWorks had optioned the rights of Berkeley Breathed's book Flawed Dogs. In September 2013, it was revealed that Noah Baumbach had been secretly writing and directing the project.
In January 2011, a computer-animated musical film adaptation of the Lidsville TV series was announced to be in development with Conrad Vernon slated to direct while Alan Menken would be composing the songs with Glenn Slater. Menken stated that, "The songs will be an homage to '60s psychedelic concept-album rock." However, in June 2016, Lidsville creator Sid Krofft told The Wall Street Journal that, "It was going to be like Hair or Tommy, a full-blown musical. But they went in a strange direction and it just didn't work."
In January 2011, it was announced that DreamWorks was fast-tracking a Bollywood-styled musical adaptation of The Ramayana, but told through the point of view of its monkeys. It would have follow two common monkeys who become unlikely heroes in a last ditch effort to stop an ancient, thought-to-be-mythical demon from conquering the world. Stephen Schwartz and A. R. Rahman were attached to compose the songs and score. The project underwent a series of working titles: Monkeys of Bollywood, Monkeys of Mumbai, Mumbai Musical, and Bollywood Superstar Monkey. In June 2011, Kevin Lima had signed on to direct the project. In April 2014, it was announced that Lea Michele and Rohan Chand were in talks to join the cast. The film was originally scheduled to be released on December 18, 2015, but its release date was pushed back to March 18, 2016 and March 10, 2017. In December 2017, Lima revealed that DreamWorks quietly cancelled the film in an interview with Den of Geeks UK stating,
It came very close. We were just going into production, we were just starting animation. I'd been working on it for two and a half years. All the songs were written. Stephen Schwartz and A.R. Rahman. We were just ready to start. I have to say that it's one of the great disappointments of my film career not seeing that one move forward. It had nothing to do with the movie, and everything to do with the politics of selling the studio. Seven of us I think lost movies at that moment in time. With the studio having written it off on their taxes, it means the only way to get it back would be to invest that kind of money again. And it’s tens of millions of dollars. I tried. I really tried. Stephen Schwartz and I took it around town, but when the price tag was revealed, everyone gasped. Ultimately, we couldn't find a buyer.
In March 2011, DreamsWorks announced they were producing an animated adaptation of the book My Unwilling Witch (The Rumblewick Letters) that would be titled Rumblewick. Tim Johnson and Jim Herzfeld were slated to write and direct the project. In September 2016, Brenda Chapman revealed she had worked on the project.
DreamWorks Animation Jeffrey Katzenberg has stated that there is likely to be a fourth installment in the Madagascar franchise. However, in June 2012, DreamWorks Animation's head of worldwide marketing, Anne Globe, said, "It's too early to tell. There hasn't been a lot of discussion about that."Eric Darnell, who co-directed all three films, spoke of the possibility of the fourth film, noting, "Two things have to happen. One is that the world has to want Madagascar 4, because if they don't want it, it doesn't matter what we do. And the other thing is even if the world wants Madagascar 4, we have to make sure that we have an idea that is incredible, that is great, that is unexpected. If the audience wants it and we have a great idea, we will see – maybe." On June 12, 2014, the film was scheduled to be released on May 18, 2018. In January 2015, Madagascar 4 was removed from the release schedule following corporate restructuring and DreamWorks Animation's new policy to release two films a year. In April 2017, Tom McGrath said about the film: "There are things in the works, nothing is announced yet, but I think they'll show their faces once more..."
Rise of the Guardians
Rise of the Guardians sequel
Following the release of Rise of the Guardians, the creators expressed hope that the strong A- Cinemascore average for the film and an enthusiastic word-of-mouth would gather support for the "chance to make a sequel or two." This includes co-producer and author of the book it was based on, The Guardians of Childhood by William Joyce, said he was in talks with the studio. He recalled, "There is something that we are proposing that we hope they will want to do."
In June 2013, it was announced that Tim Minchin would compose the songs and score for Larrikins, which was based on an original concept by Harry Cripps. The project was about a desert-dwelling bilby named Perry who leaves his home under a rock to go on a road trip with a music band in Australia. In June 2016, it was announced that Minchin and Chris Miller were to direct the film while Margot Robbie, Hugh Jackman, Naomi Watts, Rose Byrne, Ben Mendelsohn, Jacki Weaver, Josh Lawson, Damon Herriman, and Ewen Leslie were to voice characters for the film. The film was slated to be released on February 16, 2018. In March 2017, Minchin announced on his personal blog that that the project had been cancelled. Minchin wrote on his blog,
I've recently been working in 3 different continents, missing my kids a lot, sleeping too little and not playing piano enough. And then a couple of days ago, the animated film to which I've dedicated the last 4 years of my life was shut down by the new studio execs. The only way I know how to deal with my impotent fury and sadness is to subject members of the public to the spectacle of me getting drunk and playing ballads.
Shortly after the film's cancellation, Peter de Sève revealed some concept art for the film via Twitter. Certain characters from the film later appeared in the 2018 animated short film Bilby.
The Tibet Code
When DreamWorks Animation made its then-newest division called Oriental DreamWorks in China, a film was in the works that was based on the Chinese action novel The Tibet Code. However, its production was shut down due to problems at Oriental DreamWorks and the company could not come to terms with the producer who owned the rights to the book.
In September 2013, DreamWorks announced that they were developing an animated film about blue-footed booby birds. Writer-director Karey Kirkpatrick was slated to direct and co-write alongside his writing partner Chris Poche. The project was to be about a dim-witted blue-footed booby who learns that it "isn't the size of your brain, but the size of your heart that counts."
In April 2014, DreamWorks Animation was developing a live-action/CGI film based on the character Hot Stuff the Little Devil with Lizzie and Wendy Molyneux set to write it. It was going to be the second attempt for a DreamWorks Animation film to use live-action and computer-animation. It would have been the second DreamWorks animated film to feature characters from the Classic Media library; the first being Mr. Peabody & Sherman. Since then, there has been no further news on the project.
Another animated feature film that was going to be made by Oriental DreamWorks, their first animated feature was going to be called Zodiac about an anthropomorphic kitty in a modern society with anthropomorphic animals trying to make sure he becomes the first cat on the Chinese zodiac while also discovering a sinister conspiracy, set to be released in 2014. However, while the film's storyboards were released online, the film's production was canceled due to some problems at Oriental DreamWorks.
In February 2014, in an interview with Fox Business Network, Katzenberg hinted that a fifth film may still be made. "We like to let them have a little bit of time to rest," he said of the characters. "But I think you can be confident that we'll have another chapter in the Shrek series. We're not finished, and more importantly, neither is he." On June 15, 2016, after NBCUniversal purchased DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion, NBCUniversal chief Steve Burke discussed plans to revive the franchise, as well as other DreamWorks films. In July 2016, The Hollywood Reporter cited sources saying that the fifth film was planned for a 2019 release. In September 2016, Eddie Murphy confirmed that the film was expected to be released in 2019 or 2020, and that the script had been completed. The story for the film was written by Michael McCullers, based on his own idea, with an intention to reinvent the series. However, in November 2018, Variety reported that the movie had been scrapped in favor of a reboot of the Shrek and Puss in Boots franchises produced by Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri, however the original voice cast may still return.