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Movie News

Many of the Usual Suspects

Thanks to Animation Scoop we found out about The Bad Guys — a new feature film currently in production at Dreamworks Animation, slated for a 2021 release. “After a lifetime of pulling legendary heists, five notorious bad guys — Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Shark and Ms. Tarantula — attempt their most challenging job yet: Going good. Nobody has ever failed so hard at trying to be good as The Bad Guys… Based on the bestselling Scholastic blockbuster book series by Aaron Blabey, which has more than 8.2 million copies in print worldwide, The Bad Guys is directed by Pierre Perifel (director, DWA award-winning short Bilby; animator, the Kung Fu Panda films), making his feature-directing debut, from a script by Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder, Get Hard) and Hilary Winston (NBC’s Community and ABC’s Happy Endings).” Got all that?

image c. 2019 Dreamworks Animation

New Animation from California

Gas Money Pictures is a new animation production studio in Southern California. Currently they have several nearly-completed 2D projects, plus several more in development. And wouldn’t you know it, several of the things they’re working on happen to be very anthropomorphic. Check out Mr. Wiggles Saves The World: “An all-ages family show about a friendly alien who finds himself trapped in the family dog while trying to literally save the world.” Straightforward enough. There’s also Little Blue, an animated feature film about a family dog, and something called Punk Rock Possum. Their web site has information about all this and more, plus they have a Vimeo page where you can see their works in progress.

image c. 2109 Gas Money Pictures

Little Dog in a Strange, Strange World

Another announcement we found at Animation World Network: “GKIDS, producer and distributor of animation for adult and family audiences, has acquired the North American distribution rights for the animated feature Marona’s Fantastic Tale, by film from director Anca Damian… The film features Marona, a mixed-breed Labrador, who after an accident reflects on her past homes and experiences. Journeying back through her memories she reflects on the deep impressions she has made on her owners’ lives. With Marona’s unfailing love and empathy she had provided lightness and innocence to her families. Marona’s Fantastic Tale is a beautiful and emotional story of an average dog and her extraordinary life.” The picture below doesn’t really do justice to how weird and artistically adventurous this 2D film is. Check out the trailer instead!

image c. 2019 GKIDS

Your Childhood Is Not Safe…

Seriously, are we the last ones to know about this…? If so we’re embarrassed. Following the latest… trend (?), Hollywood is making a big budget, live action adaptation of Hanna-Barbera’s 60’s and 70’s icons The Banana Splits… as a horror movie. No, we are not joking or insane. Check out this from MovieWeb.com: “The upcoming horror thriller centers on a boy named Harley who attends a taping of The Banana Splits TV show with his brother Austin, mother Beth, and father, Mitch. It was supposed to be business as usual for the producer of the series, Rebecca, and a fun-filled birthday for young Harley. But things take an unexpected turn… and fittingly the body count quickly rises. Will Harley and company survive? And if so, what will be left of them?” It seems that a review copy of the film is already making the rounds — and the MPAA have given it an R rating for “horror violence and gore”. Honestly, what can we even say…? (Does it surprise anyone that the Syfy Channel has a hand in this?)

image c. 2019 Hanna-Barbera

He’s Big, He’s White, He’s Lost

Just today we got the first full trailer for Abominable, the new animated feature from Dreamworks and Pearl, their production partners in China. Animation Scoop has the video. “When teenage Yi (Chloe Bennet, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) encounters a young Yeti on the roof of her apartment building in Shanghai, she and her mischievous friends, Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and Peng (Albert Tsai), name him ‘Everest’ and embark on an epic quest to reunite the magical creature with his family at the highest point on Earth. But the trio of friends will have to stay one-step ahead of Burnish (Eddie Izzard), a wealthy man intent on capturing a Yeti, and zoologist Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson) to help Everest get home… Abominable is written and directed by Jill Culton (Open Season, Monsters, Inc., Toy Story 2) and co-directed by Todd Wilderman (Trolls, The Croods).” Look for it in theaters September 27th.

image c. 2019 Entertainment Weekly

Too Chicken To Fly?

Animation World Network let us know about a new European animated firm called Ploey. Unlike the usual animated film we whine about, this one seems to have already found US distribution! “When a young flightless plover chick named Ploey gets separated from his family, he must undertake a dangerous journey to a legendary valley in order to save his loved ones from falling prey to an evil falcon… A co-production between the animation division of Iceland’s GunHil‘s and Belgium-based studio Cyborn, Ploey is written by Friðrik Erlingsson and directed by Árni Ásgeirsson. The CG animated feature is set to take wing in the U.S. in April both on DirecTV and in theaters.” The article includes more artwork and clips. Seems like it’ll be flying in soon!

image c. 2019 Cyborn

Overture. Hit the Lights.

So Animation World Network recently brought us a big announcement from the folks at Warner Brothers.  Here’s the highlights: “Bugs Bunny! Daffy Duck! The Looney Tunes are back! The classic Warner Bros. Animation characters return in Looney Tunes Cartoons, a series of new shortform cartoons debuting at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, which runs this year June 10-15. The next chapter of the iconic Looney Tunes story, featuring a cartoonist-driven approach to storytelling, will have its world debut on Monday, June 10, as part of the Opening Ceremony festivities, with Looney Tunes Cartoons shorts playing in front of the previously announced opening film, Playmobil: The MovieLooney Tunes Cartoons is a series of new short form cartoons starring the iconic and beloved Looney Tunes characters. With a crew of some of the premiere artists working in animation today, each ‘season’ will produce 1,000 minutes of all-new Looney Tunes animation that will be distributed across multiple platforms — including digital, mobile and broadcast.” We’ll see how things work out this time. We know from several recent attempts at “new” Looney Tunes that the old Warner Brothers magic is hard to recreate — especially the timing. Stay tooned.

image c. 2019 Warner Brothers

The Tiger and the Tale

[You know what? Lingering colds really really suck…] Buried in a recent article at Animation Magazine’s web site about some upcoming films (all of them furry, to some extent!) was this little tidbit: “Meanwhile, Paramount has confirmed that The Tiger’s Apprentice, an animated adaptation of Laurence Yep’s young adult fantasy trilogy series, will be released on February 11, 2022. The story centers on a young San Francisco boy who meets a mysterious talking tiger called Mr. Hu and realizes that he’s the appointed guardian who can protect everyone from an evil ancient phoenix. The screenplay has been adapted by David Magee (Life of Pi). The studio hasn’t announced a director or voice cast for the project. Feb. 11, 2022 sounds like a good spot for the animated pic as no other movie has been announced for that time period.” Really now? Hmm, let’s see… 2022 would be six years after the release of Zootopia. The same amount of time it took Disney Animation to make and release Frozen 2. Just saying…

image c. 2019 HarperCollins

Shaggy (and the) Dog

Here we go again! We got this from Complex.com: “Scooby-Doo will make its return to the big screen with an animated movie set to star Gina Rodriguez, Tracy Morgan, and Will Forte, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The film — directed by Tony Cervone, the producer behind the television series, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated — is currently untitled. Forte is set to play the titular dane’s best friend Shaggy, Rodriguez will voice Velma, and Morgan will be non-Mystery Gang member Captain Caveman [!]. Frank Welker, who’s worked with the franchise since 1972-73’s The New Scooby-Doo Movies, will play the role of Scooby-Doo. For this case, the gang will reportedly team up with other Hanna-Barbera universe heroes to save the world from the corrupt plans of Dick Dastardly, the main villain of fellow Hanna-Barbera classic, Wacky Races [!!]. The project, which is set to hit theaters May 2020, will be the first time Scooby Doo takes the silver screen since the 2004 live-action film, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.” Sounds like they’re getting much more ambitious with their universe now! We found other talk on-line about this this movie project that gave it the title of S.C.O.O.B. Guess we’ll find out next year!

image c. 2019 Hanna Barbera