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Trolls World Tour is an American computer-animated adventure jukebox musical comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Universal Pictures.

The film is a sequel to the 2016 film Trolls, directed by Walt Dohrn with co-direction by David P. Smith, produced by Gina Shay, and written by Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, Elizabeth Tippet, Maya Forbes, and Wallace Wolodarsky, from a story by Aibel and Berger. The film will feature an ensemble voice cast including Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, James Corden, Ozzy Osbourne, Rachel Bloom, Anderson Paak, George Clinton, Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson, Sam Rockwell, Icona Pop, Ron Funches, Kunal Nayyar, Jamie Dornan, J. Balvin, and Kenan Thompson.

The film was theatrically released on April 10, 2020, but due to the impact on the film industry by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, the film was also released for digital rental on the same day. It set several streaming records, including becoming Universal's most successful day-one rental but despite received mixed reviews from critics.

The film's success led Universal to announce they would be looking into using streaming more often moving forward, and in response several theater chains, including AMC Theatres, announced they would no longer distribute the studio's films (presumably because they care more about their profits than about their customers' safety).

Plot

A celebration of the Techno Trolls is crashed by the Rock Trolls, led by Queen Barb. After Barb destroys his DJ station with her guitar's power, King Trollex is forced to surrender the blue string that powers Techno music. Poppy, still becoming adjusted to her new leadership as queen, receives a message from Barb that invites all Trolls to a party to unite their music. Her father reveals that there are different kinds of Trolls scattered through their land. The six primary tribes are each represented by a different style of music, Pop, Funk, Classical, Techno, Country and Rock, and each musical style is powered by a magical string kept by the leader of each tribe. Having separated their tribes following discord and disagreement over which style of music was the best, Poppy wants to help Barb unite the different forms of music, but both her father and Branch warn her not to trust Barb's intentions and to accept that the other Trolls are different. Poppy does not listen, and sends a cheerful reply to Barb via Debbie, Barb's pet bat.

Meanwhile, Barb gloats over her victory of snatching the Techno string, revealing her plan to string an enchanted guitar with all six strings, and play a power chord strong enough to destroy all other music, replacing it with rock.

Wanting to prove herself as a good queen, Poppy travels via air balloon to recruit the other groups of Trolls, Branch joining her in an attempt to express his feelings towards her. Biggie accidentally stows aboard the balloon, and joins them. Meanwhile, Cooper, who feels like the black sheep among the Pop trolls, goes on a journey himself to find Trolls who look like him and goodbye to the snack pack.

The balloon ends up in the land of Classical Trolls, which, to Poppy's horror, is in ruins. A single small flute named Pennywhistle tells Poppy their town had been decimated by Barb's armada, who captured all the citizens and stole the yellow Classical string. and Poppy decides to now unite the other Trolls to stop Barb. Branch and Biggie both urge her to return home to protect the pink Pop string, but Poppy reveals it hidden in her hair. They then travel to the Country Trolls' land, but after introducing themselves with a loud medley of pop songs, are jailed by an offended Delta Dawn. A Country Troll named Hickory, who claims he is moved by Poppy's motives, breaks them out, leading to a chase to a ravine, where the group falls into a river. Branch does not trust Hickory, even when the Troll builds a raft to take the group downstream. The conversation is interrupted by Chaz, a Smooth Jazz Troll who was hired as a bounty hunter to catch Poppy for Barb, who was incredibly offended by Poppy's reply letter. Hickory incapacitates Chaz, but Biggie, disillusioned by Poppy's poor leadership, decides to return home. Shortly after, the group is abducted by a space ship wielding magical soap bubbles.

Inside the spaceship, the group meets the Funk Trolls, and meets up with Cooper, who is revealed to have been a long lost identical twin prince of Funk all along. Cooper tells Poppy he finds comfort in identifying with both Pop and Funk, and his parents, King Quincy and Queen Essence, reveal to Poppy that long ago the original Pop Trolls had attempted to steal the strings and remix the other five music styles into Pop, forcing the other Trolls to each take one string and divide their tribes to save their music. Quincy explains to Poppy that differences are not bad, and trying to make all Trolls the same does not help the problem.

After the Rock Trolls hijack the Funk Trolls' ship to steal the purple Funk String, Cooper ejects the group and himself in bubbles, accidentally separating Hickory from the three. Branch and Poppy fight when Poppy refuses to return home to their friends, and Branch admonishes her insisting she cannot be a good queen if she is a poor listener and Cooper return home, and the two go their separate ways, heartbroken. Branch is soon captured by both K-Pop and Reggaeton bounty hunters. However, he eventually convinces them to stop capturing and fighting and save Poppy and all music.

Poppy reunites with Hickory, showing him the Pop string. Hickory tries to urge her to return home, but suddenly is revealed to have been a Yodel Troll all along. He and another Yodel Troll, Dickory, had been hired to capture her for Barb, but Hickory had a change of heart. Before she can escape, Poppy is then captured personally by Barb, who takes possession of the sixth and final string.

Biggie and Cooper returns home and seeing it in shambles, feels remorse over abandoning Poppy. He gathers together their remaining friends to go rescue her and Branch, entering the land of the Rock Trolls.

Barb has Poppy imprisoned over a large concert stage where all the captured Trolls are the audience, and admits she empathizes with Poppy's attempts to be a good queen, as she is trying to make rock supreme to prove her own leadership. Barb uses her enchanted guitar during the concert to turn Branch, and the leaders of the other lands into rock zombies. Poppy seemingly is transformed into a rock zombie when she falls onto the stage, but upon grabbing Barb's guitar, it is revealed to have been wearing gumdrop earplugs. She admonishes Barb for being a poor queen by not taking time to listen to her people, and smashes the guitar. While it snaps the possessed trolls out of their rock zombie state, it destroys the strings, ending music, and causing all the trolls to lose their colors, much to Barb’s anguish.

Prince D hears his heartbeat over a microphone, and creates a rhythmic beat with it, other trolls joining in with clapping, stomping, and other forms of soundmaking, reviving the power of their music, and Poppy encourages everyone to sing together as their colors are restored. Realizing how important other forms of music are, and encouraged by her father Thrash, Barb joins in, regaining her colors, and eagerly accepts Poppy's offer of friendship.

Branch is finally able to profess his love to Poppy who reciprocates his feelings, and everyone performs together, all Trolls finally reunited while celebrating their differences.

In a mid-credits scene, Bridget and King Gristle arrive to the Pop Troll village, unaware of the events that have taken place, and worried they have missed the party.

Voice cast

Pre-Production

On February 28, 2017, Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Animation announced a sequel to the 2016 film Trolls, with Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake reprising their roles as Poppy and Branch.[1] In March 2017, podcasters the McElroy brothers began campaigning for roles in the film via a podcast titled "The McElroy Brothers Will Be in Trolls 2".[2] Following the campaign's success, DreamWorks confirmed in September 2018 that the McElroy brothers would make cameo appearances in World Tour.[3]

Production

The film will see the additions of Sam Rockwell, Chance the Rapper, Anthony Ramos, Jamie Dornan, Karan Soni and Flula Borg to the cast in May 2018. Corden, Stefani, Icona Pop, Funches, and Nayyar will also reprise their roles.[4] On June 12, 2018, the film was retitled as Trolls World Tour.[5][6] In October 2018, it was confirmed that Kelly Clarkson had joined the cast, and will perform an original song.[7] In June 2019, along with promotional posters, new cast members have been announced, which include: J Balvin, Mary J. Blige, Rachel Bloom, George Clinton, Ester Dean, and Gustavo Dudamel.

Along with Timberlake, Clarkson, Paak, Blige, and Clinton, songs will be provided by Chris Stapleton and SZA.

Post-Production

In June 2019, along with promotional posters, new cast members have been announced, which include: J Balvin, Mary J. Blige, Rachel Bloom, George Clinton, Ester Dean, and Gustavo Dudamel.

The first single from the movie's soundtrack, "The Other Side", by Timberlake and SZA, was released on February 26, 2020. The Trolls World Tour: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was released on March 13, 2020.

Release

Trolls World Tour was simultaneously released theatrically in the United States on April 10, 2020 by Universal Pictures.[8] It was previously set for the said release date, but was pushed up to February 14, 2020 before being moved back to April 17, 2020. Following the delay of No Time to Die, it was yet again pushed up to its current date.[1][9]

The film was released in Malaysia and Singapore in early March 2020. It was to be released on March 20 in the United Kingdom, but due to coronavirus concerns as well as the film industry's effect of the pandemic, it was pushed back a few weeks; the new release date is now April 10. On March 16, Universal announced that the film would be available for rental on digital platforms the same day as the film's theatrical release as a result of the pandemic.[10] This move was met with swift and intense backlash from John Fithian, chief of the National Association of Theatre Owners, saying in full: "Only Universal, and only on Trolls, did one studio skip the theatrical model and go straight to the home. Universal continues to advertise to consumers that Trolls will be released simultaneously to theaters and the home on April 10. And they are lying to consumers. Universal knows that theaters will still be closed on April 10, so unlike every other distributor who must simply delay their releases in that time period, but still understand that theatrical release is essential to their business model, Universal on Trolls didn't make that decision. Exhibitors will not forget this. With the exception of Universal, every studio has gone overboard to reassure exhibitors that the theatrical model works for them, and that they look forward to releasing their movies theatrically once the virus is done. And every one of those studios called their exhibition partners and talked through their plans for delayed release before they announced them. Only Universal on Trolls undermined the theatrical model. And Universal told no exhibitor about their plans on Trolls until approximately 20 minutes before their announcement. Exhibitors know who their partners are. And every other studio has demonstrated true partnership and belief in the theatrical model during this time of crisis for all Americans, and indeed all moviegoers around the world."[11]

Marketing

On June 19, 2019, DreamWorks released 22 character posters for the film, along with promotional film stills. On June 20, the first trailer was released.[12]

A second trailer was released in November 14, 2019. A third trailer was released on March 6, 2020, featuring the new release date.

Reception

Box office

As of April 13, 2020, Trolls World Tour has grossed $60,000 in the United States and Canada, and $1.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $1.9 million.

In the U.S., the film made about $60,000 in its opening weekend from 25 drive-in theaters. Following its debut digital streaming weekend, it was reported by FandangoNow that the film had set the record for most streams on a release weekend by the company. The film also finished number one for Amazon Prime, Comcast, Apple TV, Vudu, YouTube, and DirecTV Now, with Universal reporting it was purchased 10-times more than Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which had made $2-3 million on its first day. The film made at least an estimated $40 million over the weekend, with Universal still to report official figures. Deadline Hollywood estimated that due to the film's approximate $90 million production cost, plus another $30 million spent on marketing (although rival studios claim Universal spent more than that), the film could break-even if 9–12 million people rent the film, resulting in about $200 million in revenue.

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 70% based on 105 reviews with an average rating of 6.17/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "A fun follow-up for fans of the original, Trolls World Tour offers a second helping of colorful animation, infectious energy, and sing-along songs." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 51 out of 100, based on 27 critic reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".

Trivia

  • Trolls is the fifth DreamWorks Animation film to become a franchise, after Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and How to Train Your Dragon.
  • This is the first DreamWorks Animation film to be released in April.
    • This is also Universal Pictures' second animated theatrical film to be released in April after 2011's Hop.
    • This also marks DreamWorks Animation's second trilogy to have each installment distributed by a different studio over the years. (Fox distributed the first movie in 2016)
  • This is DreamWorks Animation's fifth musical film, following The Prince of Egypt, Joseph: King of Dreams, The Road to El Dorado, and the first film, Trolls.
  • However, it was pushed up to April 10, 2020, although it was revealed that it will just be released on digital platforms instead on that day.
  • Because at one point promotional artwork showed Branch and Poppy together with the Valentine's release date below them, fans have speculated the sequel may be about an official love story between Branch and Poppy. However, so far this is just fan speculation and has not been confirmed in any official way by DreamWorks.
  • The film was first titled Trolls 2, but in June 12, 2018, it was retitled Trolls World Tour.
  • This is the second DreamWorks Animation sequel not to have its music score composed by the same composer as its predecessor after Penguins of Madagascar (which was composed by Lorne Balfe); Christophe Beck composed the music score for the first film while Theodore Shapiro takes over for this film, making it the second DreamWorks Animation film to be scored by the aforementioned composer after Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.
  • The scene in the first teaser when Poppy sings The Sound of Silence is an alternate shot from the original film.
  • This film is expected to mark the first time the new MPA logo would appear in the end credits for a DreamWorks Animation film or a Universal Pictures animated film.
  • Due to a Hulu and DreamWorks deal, it was streaming on Hulu. [13]
  • This is also the sixth DreamWorks Animation film with a non-human cast after Shark Tale, the Kung Fu Panda films, and the original film of Trolls.
  • This was the first Universal Pictures release to be available for rental on digital platforms on the same day as its theatrical release.
  • Instead of having a nationwide theatrical release, it was also the first Universal Pictures release to have a promotion for McDonald’s.
  • This is another DreamWorks Animation film that doesn't show any death scenes.
  • The film celebrates Dreamworks Animation's 25th anniversary.

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