What began as a short children's story by William Steig has evolved into one of the most successful and beloved film franchises in the history of entertainment.
With stunning advancements in technology, the look and feel of the “Shrek” films have changed dramatically over the years. As for Shrek himself, he has made some new friends, walked into some new responsibilities and developed a new outlook on life.
Yes, our green hero has come a long way from his solitary days in the swamp.
As the filmmakers see it, they never had to lead Shrek anywhere. He has always been making his own way - marching down a trail that everyone can follow. The story of “Shrek the Third” is “the natural progression of this guy's life and his development as an adult,” explains producer Aron Warner.
“Shrek and Fiona fell in love and got married in the first film. In the second movie, they met the parents and got to know the family. And so it seemed there was a natural next step for them,” continues director Chris Miller. “But as it turns out, it's not a natural step for Shrek, because he's convinced that he would not make a good father.”
The man who gives his voice to Shrek is thrilled to see that, while the lovable ogre is as irascible as ever, he has also evolved since the first film. “What's great about the third `Shrek' is that it's the continuing adventures of somebody who has to learn to believe in himself,” says Mike Myers. “In the first film, he didn't think that he was worthy of falling in love, in the second he didn't think he was worthy of being a husband and now he's struggling with worthiness because he's afraid of being a king and a father. So it's a really great story of how, throughout all the different periods of your life, you really have to rely on yourself, believe in yourself and not listen to what other people think about you.”
Eddie Murphy, who has been bringing the film's lovable Donkey to life from day one, is elated by the fact that “each movie gets better and better. The characters get more developed, and the stories get more complex.”
Making fans of critics and audiences worldwide, the “Shrek” franchise has amassed an astonishing $1.4 billion in box office receipts and has sold more than 90 million DVDs to date. The original “Shrek” had a happy ending, indeed, as it tallied $479 million in global box office receipts and has sold more than 50 million DVDs. The first film capped off its triumphant run by winning the first-ever Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2002.
But that was just the start of a tremendous story for this humble fairy tale. Picking up where the first movie left off was the multi-sensory, multi-media experience that was Shrek 4-D. The film's stellar cast reprised their roles in a unique Universal Studios in-theater sensory immersion that expanded Shrek's world and bridged the story between the first adventure and the phenomenon of “Shrek 2.”
When “Shrek 2” was unleashed on theaters on May 19, 2004, it posted the largest five-day opening of all time. This magical monster-hit went on to become the third highest-grossing film of all time with a total worldwide box office of $920 million, and the subsequent “Shrek 2” DVD has gone on to sell over 40 million copies.
Later in the year, on the heels of the release of “Shrek the Third,” there will be an original animated holiday special on ABC entitled “Shrek the Halls,” starring Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas. And next year, the saga will take on a new life in the Broadway-bound show “Shrek: The Musical.”