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Movie News

Wish for a Dragon

We found this article over at Variety: “Production is now under way on Wish Dragon, a major animated feature being made in China for Sony’s Columbia Pictures Film Production. The film is a first feature for Base Animation, the new animation studio that is part of Beijing-based VFX firm BaseFX, and for Chinese super star Jackie Chan. Chan’s Sparkle Roll Media is a producer and co-investor, and Chan will voice characters in both the Chinese- and English-language versions of the finished picture. The family-oriented film is being directed by Chris Appelhans (illustrator on Coraline) from his own original screenplay. The modern-day fairy tale picks up the moral challenges that emerge from the encounter between a boy and a dragon who is able to make wishes come true… The U.S. voice cast includes Fresh off the Boat star Constance Wu, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Jimmy Wong, and Bobby Lee, alongside Chan.” Base Animation is hoping to have the film ready for release in 2019.

image c. 2018 Base Animation

Paramount Has A New Monster

Over at The Wrap they’re talking about three new animated features that Paramount Pictures have announced for their upcoming film line-up. One in particular should be of note to furry fans — especially since we’ve talked about the source material before. Monster on the Hill is a film adaptation of the graphic novel by Rob Harrell. Paramount’s description goes like this: “In a world where monsters are tame and monster wrestling is a popular sport, teenage Winnie seeks to follow in her father’s footsteps as a manager by turning an inexperienced monster into a contender.” That’s a little bit different than the original storyline, so we’ll see how it goes. This we got from Cartoon Brew: “Monster on the Hill will be helmed by Bradley Raymond, a veteran director of direct-to-video Disney fare (The Hunchback of Notre Dame II, The Lion King 1-1/2, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue) from a screenplay by Matt Lieberman (upcoming The Addams Family, Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief) and Etan Cohen (Men in Black 3, Tropic Thunder, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa). Monster on the Hill will be produced by ReelFX (Free Birds), which first announced it was developing the project back in 2015, and Walden Media.” Look for it in 2020.

image c. 2018 Top Shelf Productions

Stop That Snake

Here’s a new animated feature in the works we found out about through Animation World Network. “Timeless Films will begin selling worldwide rights to Rodrigo Pérez Castro’s upcoming animated feature Koati, created and produced by Anabella Sosa Dovarganes from Upstairs Productions and Los Hijos de Jack Productions, at the upcoming Cannes International Film Festival. Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy award-nominee Sofia Vergara (Modern Family), is attached to star and will executive produce… Koati is an animated comedy film starring three unlikely heroes: A free-spirited coati, a fearless monarch butterfly, and a hyperactive glass frog who embark on a glorious adventure to stop a wicked coral snake (Vergara) from destroying their homeland and friends. ‘Koati is an invitation to celebrate, for the first time in an animated film, the magical realism of the Latin American jungles, of the Amazonian rainforest, and the fun, exotic creatures that call it home,’ says Vergara, whose voice is heard in The Smurfs and Happy Feet 2. ‘It’s a coming-of-age comedy starring a cool and real family of animals the world needs to meet.'” The article tells us to look for it in 2019.

image c. 2018 Timeless Films

Meet the Flummels

Getting in on the ground floor regarding a new animated film — We don’t even have any images yet! But, here’s what we got from Variety: “Production is now under way at Cinesite in Montreal on Extinct, an animated feature being directed by David Silverman, the co-director of Pixar hit Monsters Inc. The film is a co-venture between multi-territory distributor China Lion Film, which will finance the picture, and China’s Wink Animation, part of Huayi Brothers Media. The adventure-comedy involves an adorable species of fluffy animals, called flummels. When two flummels are transported into the present day, they learn that their genus has become extinct, and travel back in time to try to save their race. The story is written by written by Joel H Cohen, John Frink, and Rob LaZebnik (The Simpsons).” According to the article, look for it in late 2020.

image c. 2018 China Lion Film

 

But the Cat Came Back

Screen Daily has an article about 10 Lives, a new CGI feature film created by some familiar names. “The film is the second to be produced as part of a joint venture between Chinese animation outfit Original Force and GFM Animation. The first, Duck Duck Goose, will be distributed in China by Wanda Pictures and in the UK by Entertainment Film Distributors… 10 Lives is produced by Penney Finkelman Cox (Shrek) and Adam Zhang, senior vice president of Original Force. The story follows a once scrawny shelter kitten that now leads a pampered life after being adopted. Everything changes when he loses his ninth life. In the afterlife, he escapes and cheats his way into another cycle of nine lives, but he doesn’t realise that each of the nine lives will see him return as a different animal.” As you can see from the article, the film has already set up distribution throughout much of the world — but no word yet about North America. You can just bet, though, that a US or Canada deal is going to hinge on how well Duck Duck Goose does at the box office later this year.

image c. 2018 GFM Animation

Korean Strangeness Comes To America

You may recall that a few years ago Fred Patten wrote an article for Flayrah.com about a very, very strange Korean animated film called Satellite Girl and Milk Cow. Here, we’ll let Fred summarize the plot: It’s about “… a pianist (male), transformed into a cow (female) by Merlin the Magician in the form of an anthropomorphic roll of toilet paper, and pursued by a villainous incinerator that wants to incinerate him/her; while a communication satellite falls from space, becomes an Astro Boy-like robot girl, and saves the cow from the incinerator and its secret agents.” Got all that? No? It’s okay, we don’t either. So why bring this up now? Well thanks to Animation World Network we’ve learned that GKIDS has finally picked up the rights for the film, and they will be releasing a subtitled version to theaters and DVD later this summer.

image c. 2018 GKIDS

Again, Rabbits Meet Foxes… Over Eggs

Here’s a European animated film from last year that we missed somehow: Rabbit School — Guardians of the Golden Egg. According to an article at Animation magazine’s site from last March, “Following its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, family animated feature Rabbit School – Guardians of the Golden Egg has had a strong debut in cinemas… Directed by Ute von Münchow‐Pohl, Rabbit School centers on a young urban rabbit named Max who gets stuck in an old-fashioned Easter Rabbit school when it is surrounded by a clan of clever foxes who want to take over the holiday. With the help of cute bunny Emmy and the instruction of the mysterious Madame Hermione, Max learns not only the secret magic of Easter bunnies, but also where he truly belongs.” As you can see from the trailer, the film was dubbed with a British cast for distribution in the UK. No word yet if anyone plans to release it on DVD for North America.

image c. 2018 Akkord Film

The Annie Awards for 2017

Saturday the 3rd at UCLA, the International Animated Film Society (ASIFA) handed out the annual Annie Awards for the best in animated films, television, and effects for the year 2017. As everyone expected, the big winner of the evening was Disney/Pixar’s Coco, which took home 11 of the 13 honors that it was nominated for, including Best Feature, Best Directing, and Best Writing. (Not really an anthropomorphic film, but those alebrijes were so cool!) In spite of Coco’s sweep, there was still room for several anthropomorphic items to win awards in several categories. Revolting Rhymes was awarded Best Special Production (the award for medium-length original films). Based on the poems of Roald Dahl, Revolting Rhymes was created by Magic Light Pictures, which previously brought us The Gruffalo and Highway Rat. Silvergate Media’s series The Octonauts won for Best TV Production for Preschool Children, while We Bare Bears won Best TV Production for Children. Trollhunters won for Best Character Animation in a TV Production, and the feature War for the Planet of the Apes won for Character Animation in a Live Action Production. Cuphead took home the award for Best Game. Meanwhile, the Disney Mickey Mouse TV series had quite a night, taking home Annies for Best Directing, Best Music, and Best Storyboarding. Visit the Annie Awards web site to see the full list. [And remember: The Ursa Major Awards are taking nominations now!]

Image c. 2018 Magic Light Pictures

PLOP!

In the spirit of “How did this sneak up on us?”, it turns out that Condorito now has his own movie — called, appropriately enough, Condorito: The Movie. What, never heard of Condorito? The bird-with-a-beret was created in 1949 by Chilean doctor and political cartoonist René Ríos Boettiger. Since then, the bird has gone on to become practically the Mickey Mouse of Latin America… which is funny, given that he was created to make fun of Walt Disney’s over-sanitized version of Chile in the film Saludos Amigos. The Condorito gag strip (always ending with a lame joke or pun, and lots of characters fainting over backwards with a loud PLOP!) has become so well-known that someone was bound to make an animated movie out of it. And now Pajarraco Films (from Peru!) have brought Condorito to the screen in CGI. (It’s only been released in Spanish with subtitles, so far.) The plot? Condorito would desperately love to date his va-va-voom human girlfriend Yayita, but doing so means he has to get past her disapproving parents. Things get a bit more complicated when invading aliens capture and run off with Yayita’s mama — and who else but Condorito to try and rescue her? Admittedly the critics have not been kind to the film, some complaining that it smooths off the rough edges and adult content of the original strip. Though not very approving either, Lili Loofbourow’s review for The Week has some good background information on the strip. Oh, check out the official trailer too.

image c. 2018 Pajarraco Films