DHX Media (the production home of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Littlest Pet Shop, and many many more) have recently signed an international distribution deal for a new CGI TV series called Endangered Species. Unfortunately, so far none of those distribution deals include the USA! “The series follows Pickle, Merl and Gull, a bunny, a squirrel and a seagull who might not seem high on the protected species list, but who are constantly on the verge of catastrophic extinction through comical misadventure.” Check out the article over at Animation World Network to find out more.
Animation World Network has a recent article about two more new animated shows that were presented at MIPCON this year — both of them produced by m4e in Germany. Wissper is “… a CGI animated TV-series aimed at young girls ages 4 to 7. Wissper is a perfectly normal little girl, but she has a very special talent: She is the only girl in the world who can talk to animals! Creatures of all shapes and sizes seem to instinctively know that when they have a problem, Wissper will find the solution. This makes Wissper’s house the first port of call for animals in distress.” The first set of episodes are supposed to premier world-wide before the end of December. And then, there’s Atchoo! Another animated series, this time targeted at slightly older boys and girls. You see, there’s this young boy named Teo, with an unusual attribute: When he gets excited or upset, he sneezes… and instantly turns into an animal. Different each time. “The series offers loads of comedy, gags and funny dialogues, but all the fun is aimed at communicating an important message, that difficulties, fears and diversity are not necessarily all bad, but can engender endurance and originality.” That’s what they said folks! Atchoo! is scheduled to hit the world in 2017.
And the embarrassment of riches for anthropomorphic animal movies that is 2016… continues! Once again Cartoon Brew brings us big news: Illumination (home of the Minions and the upcoming Secret Life of Pets) have announced a new CGI film called Sing, coming to theaters in December of 2016. “Of all the animal kingdom films, Sing might be the quirkiest of the bunch. Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri explained during an Annecy keynote earlier this year that conceptually ‘The starting point for the movie was, for me at least, looking at what the role of a producer is’. The producer in Sing will be a koala named Buster Moon, voiced by Matthew McConaughey, who runs a vaudeville-style theater. ‘He creates wonderful entertainment out of nothing’ Meledandri said at Annecy. If a paean to producers sounds like an unusual topic for an animated film, so does the fact that the movie will have over 85 songs in it. Here’s the set-up which allows that to happen: Buster’s theater has fallen on hard times, and he comes up with an idea to save it by staging a singing competition. Eventually, five lead contestants emerge: A mouse (Seth MacFarlane) who croons as smoothly as he cons, a timid teenage elephant (Tori Kelly) with an enormous case of stage fright, an overtaxed mother (Reese Witherspoon) run ragged tending a litter of 25 piglets, a young gangster gorilla (Taron Egerton) looking to break free of his family’s felonies, and a punk-rock porcupine (Scarlett Johansson) struggling to shed her arrogant boyfriend and go solo. Each animal arrives under Buster’s marquee believing that this is their shot to change the course of their life. John C. Reilly will also lend a voice as Buster’s black sheep pal Eddie.” Got all that? Whew! We’ll keep you informed as we learn more.
[We are so, so sorry for that one…] Earlier this year you may recall we mentioned an upcoming animated feature called Blazing Samurai. Well now thanks to Cartoon Brew we have a lot more information about it! “Arriving stateside August 4, 2017, from AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment’s Open Road Films, Blazing Samurai stars Michael Cera, Samuel L. Jackson, Ricky Gervais, George Takei, Gabriel Iglesias, Aasif Mandvi, Djimon Hounsou, Michelle Yeoh, Sandra Tsing Loh, Mel B., Heavenly Joy Jerkins, and Mel Brooks himself as a madcap array of cats and dogs comedically battling for samurai supremacy not in the Wild West but the faraway Japanese East. Co-directed by Alvin and the Chipmunks and Garfield animation supervisor Chris Bailey and veteran Disney animator Mark Koetsier, Blazing Samurai also features art direction from New Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show and Steven Universe’s Kevin Dart. Toronto, Canada-based CG animation and visual effects shop Arc Productions (Gnomeo & Juliet) is the lead animation house.” What’s more, Lion King / Mr. Peabody & Sherman director Rob Minkoff is on board as one of the producers. Quite a lot of big names attached to this project!
Once again Cartoon Brew provides: This time they have the first teaser trailer for the upcoming Angry Birds Movie, set to hit theaters in May 2016. Based of course on Rovio’s mega-hit downloadable game, the film boasts an impressive voice cast: Among them Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, and Peter Dinklage. “Industry veterans Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly, both first-time directors, are helming the project, and Jon Vitti (The Simpsons, The Office, The Larry Sanders Show) wrote the screenplay.” With animation by Sony Imageworks, of course.
From out of nowhere… Well, actually, from Mexico. Un Gallo con Mucho Huevos (A Rooster with Many Eggs) is the first animated feature film produced in Mexico to receive wide distribution in the U.S. This Labor Day weekend in was released in nearly 400 theaters in Spanish with English subtitles, though a version dubbed in English is due to arrive in a couple of weeks. Cartoon Brew has some extensive coverage of it. The story is pretty familiar: A young rooster lives on a farm (with anthropomorphic chickens and anthropomorphic eggs; go figure) which is hurting financially, and he must figure out a way to save it. Admittedly his solution, which smacks of real-life cock-fighting, might make some folks a bit uncomfortable — we’ll see. Distributor Huevocartoon (they have this thing for eggs…) have firmly set their sites on the U.S. animation market.
Now it seems that Amazon has gotten on the bandwagon of downloadable original programming for kids. Premiering earlier this month was their latest series called Wishenpoof, about a little girl with the power to make her wishes come true. From Marketwatch.com: “Created by Angela C. Santomero (Blue’s Clues, Creative Galaxy, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Super Why!), and produced by Out of the Blue Enterprises, Wishenpoof is an animated preschool series that revolves around Bianca (Addison Holley, Annedroids, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood) as she solves life’s problems in her own creative ways because with magic, or without, we all have the power to make good choices.” Bianca’s constant companion throughout her adventures is a plushie known as Bob the Bear. Wishenpoof is available as a free download to subscribers of Amazon Prime.
And once again Disney Junior keeps marching forward with Goldie & Bear, a new CGI series that is coming as a downloadable app in September and then a TV series later in the year. According to the article in Variety: “Each episode of the new program, which will debut on Disney Junior in November, includes two 11-minute stories that show Goldie and Bear — reunited after an infamous ‘porridge incident’ — in the midst of escapades with their neighbors in Fairy Tale Forest, all of whom have roots in familiar storybook figures. The protagonists might help Jack and Jill get up a hill or ask the Big Bad Wolf to consider others’ feelings before blowing down the houses of those who reside within.” The article also features interviews with Disney Junior folks and a preview video.
The Walt Disney Company found great success with their Palace Pets app — a down-loadable spin-off of the endlessly-profitable Disney Princess line, this time for younger kids. The idea is that each of the famous Disney Princesses has a cute funny animal pet, and they (the pets that is) often meet up and go on adventures together. Well the success of that app lead Disney to now create Whisker Haven Tales, a series of cartoon shorts airing on Disney Junior. Check out the Disney Wiki article to learn more about it, or take a look on YouTube for one of several official uploads from Disney Junior.