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Movie News

With a Song in His Heart

We’re learning more about Vivo, Sony Pictures Animation’s first musical. For one thing, they’ve released a teaser trailer — and a plot. “An animated musical adventure that follows Vivo, a one-of-kind kinkajou (voiced by Lin-Manuel Miranda), who must find his way from Havana to Miami in order to deliver a song on behalf of his beloved owner and mentor Andres (Juan de Marcos Gonzáles).” Mr. Miranda wrote the original story, and lots of songs for the film as well. It’s directed by Kirk DeMicco (Space Chimps, The Croods) and Brandon Jeffords (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2). One of the producers is none other than Rich Moore (Zootopia). Well-known voices include Gloria Estefan, Michael Rooker, and Zoe Saldana. Vivo is coming soon to Netflix.

image c. 2021 Sony Pictures Animation

Are You Ready?

The movie Rumble has been pushed back to next year (February, according to IMDB), but already you can start ordering the tie-in material. Rumble: The Art and Making of the Movie is coming soon from Titan Publishing, edited by Noela Hueso. “In a world where monster wrestling is a global sport and monsters are superstar athletes, teenage Winnie seeks to follow in her father’s footsteps by becoming a coach and turning a loveable underdog monster into a champion. From Paramount Animation, Rumble is a larger-than-life animated coming of age comedy. With ringside seats to the production, Rumble: The Art and Making of the Movie contains sketches, concept art, storyboards, and final stills. Featuring exclusive commentary from the creative team, plus a foreword written by [actor] Terry Crews, this extraordinary collection of art will give you captivating insights into the creative process.” Look for it at Barnes & Noble.

image c. 2021 Titan Publishing

Ho! Kay…

Interesting story out of Variety (by way of Animation World Network): “Godzilla vs. Kong director Adam Wingard is attached to helm a computer-animated adaptation of the beloved 1980s Rankin Bass animated series Thundercats for Warner Bros., from a script Wingard will write with frequent collaborator Simon Barrett (You’re Next, The Guest)… The original series, which aired from 1985 to 1989, was revived for a single season Cartoon Network in 2011, and then again in 2020 under the title Thundercats Roar. But as a feature film, Thundercats has been a tricky project to crack for the studio, which has hired a small parade of screenwriters and producers since at least 2007 to bring a movie to life. The underlying story is at once relatively simple — a team of humanoid cat-people (or cat-like humans) like Lion-O, Panthro, and Cheetara fight the evil wizard Mumm-Ra on the planet of Third Earth — and surprisingly complicated, with a mix of technological space sci-fi and swords-and-sorcery fantasy.” Read the article at Variety for much more on this latest take on our friends from Thundera.

image c. 2021 Cartoon Network

A Glorious Return

How did we not even know this was being made — let alone that it’s about to come out?? Well, here it is — The sequel to 2016’s Rock Dog, which furry fandom adored… even if the box office wasn’t so kind. Rock Dog 2 is scheduled for release in April, directed by Mark Baldo. “One year after the original Rock Dog: Bodi and his band, True Blue, have become locally famous in the village of Snow Mountain — they even have devoted fans! But when a music mogul named Lang gives them the opportunity to tour with pop sensation, Lil’ Foxy— Bodi and his friends learn that fame comes at a price, and ultimately discover that only by staying true to yourself can you unleash the power of Rock n’ Roll!” ReDefine is one of  the companies that worked on the film, and they have a lot of good info.

image c. Splash Entertainment

The Horse. The Girl. The Story Continues.

Like many studios, Dreamworks is itching to get back into the theatrical game, according to Animation World Network: “Isabela Merced, Julianne Moore, Jake Gyllenhaal, Marsai Martin, Mckenna Grace, Andre Braugher, Walton Goggins, and Eiza González have joined the cast of DreamWorks Animation’s Spirit Untamed, the next chapter in the studio franchise that began with the 2002 Oscar-nominated film Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron and includes an Emmy-winning TV series. Universal is releasing the film in theatres on June 4, 2021. Spirit Untamed tells the story of a headstrong girl longing for a place to belong who discovers a kindred spirit when her life intersects with a wild horse. The film is directed by Elaine Bogan (Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia) and produced by Karen Foster (How to Train Your Dragon).” See you this summer, pardner.

image c. 2021 Dreamworks Animation

A Musical Rainforest

Updates! We love updates! A couple years ago we told you about a new animated film in the works call Koati, directed by Rodrigo Pérez Castro. Well now Animation World Network has some recent news: “Grammy Award-winning artist Marc Anthony and his Magnus Studios team are partnering with Sofia Vergara on her new animated feature comedy, Koati.  Produced by Upstairs Animation, Latin WE Productions, and Los Hijos de Jack, the film follows three unlikely heroes: Nachi, a free-spirited coati; Xochi, a fearless monarch butterfly; and Pako, a hyperactive glass frog, as they embark on an adventure to stop a wicked coral snake Zaina (Vergara) from destroying their homeland and friends. The soundtrack includes 10 original songs performed by notable names in Latin music.” Looks like this film is wearing its Latin American pedigree loudly and proudly. Keep your ears open for news on a release date!

image c. 2021 Upstairs Animation

Teddy is Back to Save You

Okay here’s something different: A new movie, heading to Netflix, based on a single illustration. Slashfilm explains: “Back in 2013, word arrived that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was going to make a movie based on a single drawing that appeared on DeviantArt. That’s right: Not an adaptation of a story, but a drawing… a piece called ‘Sweet Halloween Dreams’ by artist Alex Panagopoulos. The project seemed to vanish as quickly as it was announced, but now it’s back – and headed to Netflix. Johnson will produce the film, now titled Teddy and the Guardians of the Night, with Dany Garcia under their Seven Bucks Productions banner.” No word yet on a planned release date, or even any more details on the plot, but many people are making guesses based on the illustration below. We’ll let you know more when we do. Pleasant dreams!

image c. 2021 by Alex Panagopoulos

The Annie Awards for 2020

First the Ursa Major Awards announce their nominees for 2020, and now the Annie Awards — considered to be the Oscars of animation — have done the same. 2020 must have been a good year for furry animation, because many of the Ursa Major and Annie nominations line up! Onward and Soul are up for Best Feature Annies, while Wolfwalkers is up for Best Indie Feature — along with Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon. And all of those are up for multiple individual achievement Annies too — like Best Character Animation, Best Character Design, Best Direction, and so forth. Best Special Production nominees include The Snail and The Whale and Shooom’s Odyssey, while the Best TV/Media for Preschoolers includes Muppet Babies, Stillwater, and The Adventures of Paddington. Also up for a variety of awards are TV and streaming favorites like Hilda, Bojack Horseman, Amphibia, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Brand New Animal, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, and Mao Mao — Heroes of Pure Heart. And more! Visit the Annie Awards web site to see all the nominees, and watch for an announcement about this year’s virtual awards ceremony.

image c. 2021 Cartoon Saloon

Ponies Coming Right Into Your Home

Well, some information is better than none, it seems. Animation World Network has an update (at least a little) on this “mysterious” My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic second feature film we’ve been hearing about. “My Little Pony fans will be able to keep their cutie marks parked at home for the Mane Six’s next, as-yet untitled animated feature frolic. Previously slated for theatrical release September 24 through Paramount Pictures, the eOne/Boulder Media project has been hitched up by Netflix for global distribution — excluding China, which is covered by Hasbro’s eOne. A release date has not been revealed. Little has been announced about the new MLP movie, which will once again be based on the smash hit Friendship Is Magic reboot created by Lauren Faust. The film is being directed by Emmy-nominated comedy writer Robb Cullen — co-creator/director/writer of the Spike adult toon Gary the Rat, starring Kelsey Grammer — and kids’ TV animation writer-director José Luis Ucha (Invizimals, Angus & Cheryl, Bernard), with Mark Fattibene (CG supervisor, Monsters vs. Aliens, Kung Fu Panda). Trust us, you’ll know more as soon as we do!

image c. 2021 Boulder Media