不要数落续集。动画电影系列继续表现出色，即使出到第三部或第四部也能征服票房。看看《怪物史莱克》（Shrek）和《功夫熊猫》（Kung Fu Panda），这两部动画电影都是梦工厂（DreamWorks Animation）出品，前者已经推出了第四部（终结篇），后者的第三部正在制作当中。如今，《马达加斯加3》（Madagascar 3）6月首周末票房达到6,030万美元，勇夺票房冠军，第二个周末继续占据首位，在美国斩获了2亿多美元，全球票房收入累计达到了2.7亿美元。
《财富》：你的职业生涯令人很感兴趣。最初你在纽约担任舞台剧演员，后来在1995年加入梦工厂，参与过动画电影《埃及王子》（Prince of Egypt）的制作，随后获得了晋升。你在这家制片公司里的日常工作是什么？
现在，我们正在制作其他的电影，比如《守护者的崛起》（Rise of the Guardians）。这部影片讲述了复活节兔（Easter Bunny）和牙仙（Tooth Fairy）这些儿童偶像的故事。它改编自比尔•乔伊斯的儿童著作《儿童守护者》（The Guardians of Childhood）系列，就风格来说与《马达加斯加3》大相径庭。
有趣的是，人们在观看《怪物史莱克音乐剧》（Shrek: the Musical ）这类作品时会想：“噢，他们只是想多捞点钱。”他们不知道我们投入了多少人力、付出了多少辛苦、战胜了多大的困难……我的意思是，制作续集不是为了捞钱而粗制滥造。
我想，我能给出的最好例子就是我们的《驯龙记真人演出》（How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular）。这部真人舞台剧脱胎自我们在2010年推出的电影《驯龙记》（How to Train Your Dragon）。目前，这部舞台剧已开始美国巡演之旅，门票已经售罄。它同时可允许3,000到6,000人观看【不久后将在洛杉矶斯台普斯中心（the Staples Center）等大型场地演出】。
有件事情我觉得很令人沮丧，那就是动画电影会遭受真人电影不会面对的那种审视。评论家们不会把《黑衣人3》（Men In Black 3）和《复仇者联盟》做比较，但在媒体上，我们所有的电影都会被拿来与其他的动画电影和皮克斯的电影做比较。从《马达加斯加3》和融合了不同动画风格的《我和我的影子》（Me and My Shadow）可以看出，我们的电影十分有趣，观众反响热烈。
Don't knock the sequel. Animated movie series continue to do well, conquering the box office even when they get into the third or fourth installment. Look at Shrek or Kung Fu Panda, both from DreamWorks Animation, up to their fourth (and final) installment and in-the-works third installment, respectively. And now Madagascar 3 is raking it in after a $60.3 million opening weekend in June and a No. 1 repeat on its second weekend. The film surpassed $200 million in the U.S. and $270 million worldwide.
Bill Damaschke, the 48-year-old chief creative officer at DreamWorks, oversaw creative production and development of the movie, as he does for all of the studio's feature projects. He is also heavily involved in all of its live theater productions. Damaschke stopped by the Fortune offices in late June. Below is an edited transcript of the conversation.
Fortune: You've had an interesting career arc: you started as a stage actor in New York and then joined DreamWorks in 1995, working on Prince of Egypt,and rose up the ranks. What's your day-to-day involvement at the studio?
Bill Damaschke: Our biggest project that's out now, obviously, is Madagascar 3. I was involved in the actual editing process, and I worked with the writers and animators in the early stages. It's a great, nervous feeling to let it go now and watch the response and see people enjoying it at the New York premiere.
Now we're focusing on other movies, like Rise of the Guardians, which is about childhood icons like the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. It's based on the Bill Joyce kids books [The Guardians of Childhood series] and there's a real contrast between that and Madagascar 3 in terms of the style.
What are the challenges of rolling out a new film like that, and introducing it to people who know the books as well as those who might not?
Well, we screened a few minutes of it at Cannes and everyone said, "Oh, it's the animated Avengers."
Is that frustrating?
No, I'm comfortable with that analogy as long as it doesn't come with the burden of having to perform on that level. [The Avengers had the biggest opening weekend in history, with $200 million in its first two days.] When a movie is that big, it's what everyone is talking about and thinking about, and it makes sense.
Is there a danger to doing sequels, a fear of overdoing it or annoying viewers?
As long as the movie stands alone, as well as being part of a series, it's okay. I don't think people get annoyed if each movie is actually good.
It's funny, people look at something like Shrek: the Musical and they say, 'Oh, they just want to make more money.' And if they even knew how many people it takes, how much work, how many hours, and what a challenge it is to pull off… I mean, it is not about cranking something out for money.
But when a profitable movie franchise turns into a play, and a video game, and all manner of other spinoffs, how do you keep each thing fresh and exciting?
I think the best example I can use is our How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular, which is a live arena show that came out of our 2010 movie [How to Train Your Dragon]. It's starting its U.S. arena tour right now, and this thing sells out. It allows for an audience of 3,000 to 6,000 people. [It's also scheduled to play soon in major venues like the Staples Center in L.A.]
It's a live show sort of like Yo Gabba Gabba, except that it tells a story. I don't know that audiences are used to going to a big arena to see a story. You certainly don't need to have seen or know about How to Train Your Dragon to go enjoy this. The show debuted in Australia in March and it comes to the U.S. this month, after doing really well in Australia and New Zealand, which is interesting because Madagascar 3 is also doing especially well in places like Russia. [Indeed, it is now the highest-grossing animated film of all time in Russia and the country's third-highest grossing movie of any genre.]
Internationally, do you think it's hard to compete with a studio like Pixar, which seems to get really wide acclaim for every new movie it puts out?
I think Pixar is great; I love their movies. I go see all the animated movies, the ones we make and the ones we don't, and I enjoy most of them, but I think our style is very different from Pixar's.
One thing I'll say that can be frustrating is that the live-action business doesn't have the kind of scrutiny that animation does. Critics don't compare Men In Black 3 to The Avengers. But in the press, all of our movies do get compared to other animated movies and to Pixar's movies. With Madagascar 3, and Me and My Shadow, which will combine different types of animation, I'd say we're doing really interesting things and that audiences are responding.