News & Notes
Sony Pictures Animation has laid out its slate through 2018, expanding its production output with five theatrical features, three TV series and one direct-to-video movie.
“We are meaningfully stepping up our level of production, while creating an environment that fosters the best talent,” says SPA President Kristine Belson. “Our goal is to enlarge our presence in the animation landscape with a uniquely diverse slate, and our strategy to get there is to let artists drive the movies creatively.” Features • Smurfs: The Lost Village, April 7, 2017 • Emojimovie: Express Yourself, August 2017 • The Star (Working Title), Dec. 8, 2017 • Hotel Transylvania 3, Sept. 21, 2018 • Spider-Man (untitled), Dec. 21, 2018 Series • Ghostbusters: Ecto Force, Early 2018 • Hotel Transylvania: The Television Series, 2017 • Cloudy with a Chance Of Meatballs, Direct-to-Video
Surf’s Up 2: Wavemania,
Nickelodeon has announced the title for the highly anticipated return of one of its cartoon classics will be Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie.
The made-for-TV movie, announced earlier this year, will feature 19 of the original voices from the beloved series, and Hey Arnold!’ s creator Craig Bartlett is serving as writer and executive producer. The two-hour Nickelodeon Animation Studios production will debut in 2017.
U.K. online channel BBC Three has commissioned two new adult animated short-form series from Wildseed Studios: Wolf Jenkins: Vietnam Vet and Tales of the Serengeti. ... Cartoon Network has greenlit season six of its global hit animated series The Amazing World of Gumball. ... TeamTO has confirmed it will be back in the production saddle for the second seasons of two high-profile animated series: Activision’s Skylanders Academy, recently greenlit by Netflix; and eOne’s preschool hit PJ Masks. ... London-based Rocket Pictures has tapped award-winning studio Mikros Image to lead digital animation work for Paramount Animation and MGM Pictures’ Sherlock Gnomes — the follow-up to Rocket’s animated feature Gnomeo
Not officially on shelves until Aug. 3, fans can experience this new tabletop trading card game at the con. The play mirrors the epic Team Tournament as seen in the Adventure Time “Daddy-Daughter Card Wars” episode (on air July 7 and DVD July 12). In the special follow-up to the fan-favorite 2012 “Card Wars” episode, Jake needs his daughter Charlie’s help to wins a double tournament against a longtime rival. Suitable for ages 10 and up, CWDT teams play as Jake and Charlie versus Grand Prix and Moniker, wielding decks against two opponents at once. The Doubles play also introduces special Teamwork cards to the fray. Pro tip: Pick up the DVD and get an exclusive card!
18- 22“Love & Peace” is the theme for the 16th Int’l Animation Festival of Hiroshima. [hiroanim.org] Montreal’s Animaze festival and conference also kicks off today. [lemiaff.com]
LLAIKA again pushes the boundaries for stop-motion and delivers scope, humanity and action in its fourth feature By Tom McLean.
AIKA has found unexpected success in the seemingly old-fashioned medium of stop-motion with its features Coraline, ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls — none of which it takes for granted as it prepares to release its fourth feature, Kubo and the Two Strings.
“We want to tell new and interesting stories,” says Travis Knight, LAIKA’s CEO and director of Kubo, which arrives in theaters Aug. 19 via Focus Features. “Animation is such an incredible visual medium, but it hasn’t been harnessed to tell lots of different kinds of stories. By the time I shuffle off this mortal coil, I want to hit a story in basically every genre there is.”
Kubo’s story certainly fits that bill. Set in Japan’s past, the movie follows a young boy with a unique storytelling talent who is rescued by his mother from family treachery and has to come to terms with his heritage while seeking a magical suit of armor needed to defeat a unique enemy. A fantasy story that’s hard to categorize, Kubo and the Two Strings delivers a rarefor-stop-motion scope in its sweeping story to make this arguably the Portland, Ore.-based studio’s best movie to date.
“We think we’re breaking new ground,” says producer Arianne Sutner. “We have a primarily exterior movie but, at its core, it’s really an intimate family story.”
The project has been in the works since ParaNorman was still in production, says Knight, who moves up from lead animator to making his directorial debut on the movie.
“There’s something on the surface of it that’s incredibly compelling for me,” he says.
The primary draw was a story that evoked the big, epic movie fantasies he loved as a kid — films made by the likes of George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Akira Kurasawa and David Lean — and the challenge of doing it in stop motion.
“What really got me excited about this film