Gra­ham Annable TheBox­trolls

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Key mo­ment of in­spi­ra­tion: Snatcher’s huge tongue in the fore­ground. We could have shot the se­quence of Snatcher eat­ing the cheese nu­mer­ous ways but both Tony and I felt very in­spired to get right up close and showcase what a gross and fun mo­ment it could be. Tough­est chal­lenge in mak­ing the movie: The tough­est chal­lenge by far was the dance se­quence. Tony and I had no idea how much this se­quence would push ev­ery depart­ment to its max­i­mum. It took all 18 months of our shoot­ing sched­ule to cre­ate a lit­tle less than two min­utes of ac­tual dance footage. Piv­otal scene: Eggs and Win­nie hav­ing an im­por­tant yet quiet con­ver­sa­tion about fa­thers in the nook. This se­quence is such an un­der­stated beau­ti­ful character mo­ment. It felt so piv­otal to me be­cause it al­lowed the movie to breathe and give it true heart. On the state of the an­i­ma­tion business: There is so much an­i­ma­tion in the world right now that I think we live in an in­cred­i­ble time for this in­dus­try.

Stu­dio: An­i­mal Logic, Warner Bros. Distrib­u­tor: WB Direc­tors: Phil Lord, Chris Miller Re­lease Date: Feb. 7 Box Of­fice: $468.1m ($257.8m) Synop­sis: Mild-man­nered minifig Em­met’s well-or­dered but lonely life is turned up­side down when he dis­cov­ers a leg­endary miss­ing piece and is taken in by a group of rene­gade Master Builders bent on sav­ing the LEGO worlds from the evil Pres­i­dent Business and his sin­is­ter su­per­weapon. The Odds: The high­est-gross­ing an­i­mated film of the year also con­quered crit­ics, be­com­ing the movie of early 2014. The cre­ative CG take on the build­ing power of LEGO bricks was vis­ually stun­ning, and Lord and Miller up­held their rep for eye-wa­ter­ing com­edy. Stu­dio: DreamWorks An­i­ma­tion Distrib­u­tor: Fox Di­rec­tor: Rob Minkoff Re­lease Date: March 7 Box Of­fice: $272.9m ($111.5) Synop­sis: Ge­nius ca­nine Mr. Pe­abody, his boy, Sher­man, and ri­val class­mate Penny get caught up in a whirl­wind romp through his­tory in the WABAC ma­chine after a joyride to an­cient times goes wrong — with dire con­se­quences for the space-time con­tin­uum. Pros & Cons: The pop­u­lar­ity of Jay Ward’s in­ter­sti­tial toon stars of the mid-20th cen­tury drew au­di­ences to this CG up­date, but crit­ics gave the film a luke­warm re­cep­tion. Some got into the spirit of the off-kil­ter ad­ven­ture, while oth­ers felt the story got off to a slow start and was more sac­cha­rine than its short-for­mat in­spi­ra­tion.

Stu­dio: Reel FX Distrib­u­tor: Fox Di­rec­tor: Jorge Gu­tier­rez Re­lease Date: Oct. 17 Box Of­fice: $26.2m ($17.8m) Synop­sis: In­spired by Mex­ico’s Day of the Dead cel­e­bra­tion, this col­or­ful ad­ven­ture fol­lows dreamer Manolo and his ri­val in love, a haughty town hero named Joaquin, as they jour­ney through mag­i­cal other worlds after two pow­er­ful gods make a wa­ger on which of them will win the love of beau­ti­ful Maria. Pros & Cons: Crit­ics over­whelm­ingly lauded the film’s vi­brant, in­tri­cate CG an­i­ma­tion. And while it is a big step for­ward from Reel FX’s de­but fea­ture, Free Birds, some found the story and di­a­log fail­ing to mea­sure up. Stu­dio: Stu­dio Ghi­bli Distrib­u­tor: GKIDS Di­rec­tor: Isao Taka­hata Re­lease Date: Oct. 17 (limited) Box Of­fice: $24.6m (Ja­pan) Synop­sis: Adapted from Ja­panese folk tale “The Tale of the Bam­boo Cut­ter,” Kaguya cen­ters on a tiny girl dis­cov­ered in a shin­ing stalk of bam­boo by an old bam­boo cut­ter and his wife. The girl rapidly grows into an ex­quis­ite young lady who en­thralls all who en­counter her — but ul­ti­mately she must con­front her oth­er­worldly fate. Pros & Cons: Taka­hata has not helmed a film in years, but he is any­thing but rusty. The film’s achingly beau­ti­ful water­color and ink-style an­i­ma­tion and ex­pertly adapted story have al­ready earned it a nom­i­na­tion for the cov­eted Ja­pan Academy Prize for an­i­ma­tion, and Western crit­ics are jumping on the band­wagon.

Stu­dio: Car­toon Sa­loon Distrib­u­tor: GKIDS Di­rec­tor: Tomm Moore Re­lease Date: Dec. 19 (limited) Synop­sis: In­spired by old Ir­ish folk leg­ends of the Selkies — mag­i­cal be­ings who are hu­man on land but take the form of seals in the wa­ter — this in­die cen­ters on young Ben and his lit­tle sis­ter Saoirse, who is mute. When their dis­traught wi­d­ower fa­ther sends them to live in the city, they must find their way home and dis­cover how to bring their mother’s legacy to life with Saoirse’s spe­cial gifts and a magic flute. Pros & Cons: Moore’s long-awaited follow up to the Os­car nom­i­nated The Se­cret of Kells is gar­ner­ing pos­i­tive early reviews for its gor­geous art­work, nu­anced char­ac­ters and del­i­cate bal­ance of real world emo­tion and old world fan­tasy.

[Box of­fice fig­ures as of 10/21 sourced from Box Of­fice Mojo] Stu­dio: EuropaCorp Distrib­u­tor: Shout! Fac­tory Direc­tors: Mathias Malzieu, Stéphane Berla Re­lease Date: Feb. 5 (France), Sept. 24 (U.S.) Box Of­fice: $3.4m Synop­sis: Jack is born on the cold­est day of the year, the tem­per­a­ture stop­ping his heart. A clever mid­wife re­vives him with a clock­work heart, but in or­der to sur­vive he must learn to con­trol his emo­tions — some­thing that proves dif­fi­cult when he falls in love with a young street mu­si­cian. Pros & Cons: Malzieu’s adap­ta­tion of his novel and con­cept al­bum has had au­di­ence eye­balls pop­ping all over the globe with its haunt­ing CG de­sign and fan­tas­ti­cal plot. But those ac­cus­tomed to U.S. block­busters may strug­gle with the very Euro ap­proach to sto­ry­telling.

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