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Movie News

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

See Him Again, If You Dare

Congratulations are of course in order for the creators of Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, following their Oscar win for Best Animated Feature of 2018. Now comes the word that one of the directors of that film is moving on to a project that’s got even more furry content — and he’s been there before. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse co-director Bob Persichetti has been signed to direct the sequel for DreamWorks Animation’s Puss in Boots, according to a report by Deadline… Animation veteran Persichetti, who has worked in various roles in the industry in a career spanning more than two decades, served as the Head of Story and voiced a role in the original Puss in Boots. The follow-up to the 2011 hit film that garnered an Oscar nomination and grossed more than $550 million globally, Puss In Boots 2 is currently in development, with a release date yet to be announced… A spinoff of the studio’s blockbuster Shrek franchise, Puss in Boots received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature in 2012. Voiced by Antonio Banderas, the character, which first appeared in Shrek 2, was included in subsequent Shrek sequels and shorts.” We’ll keep our ears pointed.

image c. 2019 Dreamworks Animation

Bad, Bad Bunny

And more dark stuff from the Long Beach Comic Expo. Remember when we talked about the graphic novel Wretched Things? Well it turns out that the publisher, Source Point Press, has another creepy anthropomorphic title in their crop: Rottentail. “This deranged graphic novel comes straight from the minds and hands of David C. Hayes, Kevin Moyers, Kurt Belcher, and Henrik Horvath. Geeky fertility researcher Peter Cotton is bitten by a mutant rabbit and changes into the half-man/half-bunny Rottentail. What’s a boy to do? Why, take a hippity, hoppity trip home of course! Peter begins a bloody killing spree of revenge that culminates in his childhood hometown of Easter Falls.” Ready for this? Rottentail has even been made into a film!

image c. 2019 Source Point Press

The World in Black and White?

A very… unusual anime feature is heading to our shores this spring. “Los Angeles-based Eleven Arts Anime Studio has set April 12 as the theatrical release date for the sci-fi coming-of-age animated feature, Penguin Highway, which it will be distributing in the U.S. and Canada. Directed by Hiroyasu Ishida, the film won the Axis: The Satoshi Kon Award for Excellence in Animation award at the Fantasia International Film Festival for best animated feature and has also been nominated for the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year. The film will screen with the original Japanese dialogue with subtitles as well as the English dub. In the film, budding genius Aoyama is only in the 4th grade, but already lives his life like a scientist. When penguins start appearing in his sleepy suburb hundreds of miles from the sea, Aoyama vows to solve the mystery. When he finds the source of the penguins is a woman from his dentist’s office, they team up for an unforgettable summer adventure!” Got that? Read the article at Animation World Network for more, including the trailer.

image c. 2019 Eleven Arts