The pandemic was tough on the movie industry with a number of bigger budget productions having to push back their timelines considerably or release films in less than advantageous windows. That was the state of the things with shutdowns throwing the things into turmoil. One of those movies was Clifford the Big Red Dog which was delayed more than a year and lost considerable momentum along the way. But such is the state of things that a poor showing the first time around doesn’t mean the end of a franchise and that’s going to be the case here. Deadline is reporting that Clifford the Big Red Dog 2 is coming down the pike from Paramount, a somewhat surprising turn of events considering how the first one performed at the box office.
Clifford the Big Red Dog 2 gets the green light following a number of question marks over the last year for the first movie. It was originally supposed to hit theaters back in November of 2020, but the entirety of the big-budget movie schedule seemed to get delayed and that pushed the timeline for this one back a year. It finally hit theaters on November 10th. But as has been the case with a number of other productions, the movie was also released simultaneously on Paramount+, the studio’s streaming service. This move, having become more commonplace over the last year or so, has had significant industry ramifications.
For starters, though the first movie might have looked like a disappointment by legacy Hollywood standards, we are in a new day and age with data and metrics around movie reception. Clifford the Big Red Dog 2 likely benefited some from Paramount knowing how the original performed on the streamer from their own internal metrics. And it stands to reason those numbers were good because the box office numbers haven’t been. There were initial reports that it was the most-watched original movie yet on the streamer. These days, that counts for quite a bit seeing as how companies can do their own math on what the popularity of a release means for a service. And it is a metric that exists outside the former box office bounds.
Though it hasn’t seen a full worldwide release yet, the first couple of weeks for Clifford the Big Red Dog have seen the flick pull in *only* $34.7 million in receipts. That stands in sharp contrast to the reported $64 million budget. But if Paramount knows that the flick has been a popular offering among its subscribers then Clifford the Big Red Dog 2 might be something of a no-brainer. That wouldn’t have previously been the case based on these box office numbers.
And one would hope that Clifford the Big Red Dog 2 would perform better with critics than the original. The first movie is sitting at 53% on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes with folks calling it clunky and formulaic though most agreed that it worked well for the younger crowd. And surely that’s the point with the sequel, to keep it enjoyable for those children out there.
Deadline is reporting that Paramount is hopeful it will be able to bring back much of the original creative and on-screen team for Clifford the Big Red Dog 2. That would include director Walt Becker as well as stars Jack Whitehall and Darcy Camp.