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Movie News

SEE the Jungles of South America — Now

You may recall that we’ve been following development of the animated film Koati for some time now. Well recently Animation World Network was kind enough to let us know that now it’s been released in theaters! “Releasing in theaters today, Koati follows the heroic adventure of three unlikely heroes:  Nachi (Sebastián Villalobos), a free-spirited coati; Xochi (Evaluna Montaner), a fearless monarch butterfly; and Pako (Eduardo Franco), a hyperactive glass frog – who embark on an exciting journey to prevent a wicked coral snake named Zaina (Sofía Vergara) from destroying their homeland of Xo. This is the first animated feature film produced by Upstairs, along with Los Hijos de Jack and Latin We. With animation by long-time Disney collaborator Toon City Animation, the film not only features actor Vergara as the film’s main antagonist, but the Modern Family star also serves as executive producer.” IMDB has the film’s official trailer. [ye ed-otter is off for a few days. See you all after BLFC!]

image c. 2021 Upstairs

Go to the Rats. Again.

This one we found thanks to Facebook of all things. Gizmodo has an article about efforts at Fox to bring Robert C. O’Brien’s world of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH to television — almost 40 years after Don Bluth and company gave us The Secret of NIMH as an animated film. Here’s what they say about the new project: “NIMH, which seems to be its working title, will be based on Robert O’Brien’s 1971 book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, and possibly its two sequels Rasco and the Rats of NIMH and R-T, Margaret, and the Rats of NIMH, written by O’Brien’s daughter Jane Leslie Conly after his death. According to Deadline, Fox — already home to animated series Bob’s Burgers, The Simpsons, Family Guy, and more — has already issued a script commitment for the series, but has yet to hire a writer.” They go on to note, “In 2019, the Russo brothers of MCU fame were reportedly going to executive-produce a live-action remake of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH for MGM, which the studio had announced back in 2015. There’s no word on how this new adaptation may affect the former, but there’s also no guarantee Fox’s version will ever get made, either.” We hadn’t heard about that! It’s interesting that Gizmodo remembers Secret of NIMH as “terrifying” for children, whereas most cartoon fans from the time remember it fondly as a giant leap forward for animation, from a time when the industry was not looking all that great in America.

image c. 2021 MGM Studios

Mom is a Monkey. Kind of.

Thanks to ASIFA Hollywood we found out about Ape Star, a new Scandinavian animated film directed by Linda Hambäck. Based on a popular children’s book by Frida Nilsson, the set-up is pretty simple: “Joanna is a feisty young orphan who wants to be adopted more than anything else. When her potential new mom drives up to the orphanage, she gets a big shock as the door opens and a talking gorilla steps out.” An English dub is making its way into streaming services now. Take a look at the trailer on YouTube.

image c. 2021 Lee Film

The Girl, The Bear, and The Movie Empire

One of the most popular series of animated shorts in the world is Masha and The Bear, created by Animaccord in Russia. Now word has come down from Animation World Network that the company is looking to expand the property even more. “In addition to production of the core show’s new seasons, development is in the works on a feature film, as well as podcasts, tech-driven content, and custom-made content for social media platforms.” Here’s a did-you-know: Masha and The Bear “… holds the Guinness World Record as the most watched animated video on YouTube for the episode ‘Recipe for Disaster’, which has recorded almost 4.5 billion views.” The feature film is scheduled for release in 2025.

image c. 2021 Animaccord

Luck Be A Dragon Tonight

We’re also learning more about Luck, the new CGI animated feature that’s coming from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Animation. It was previously announced that Jane Fonda would be in the cast, and now it turns out Whoopi Goldberg is lending her voice too. According to Animation World Network: “Goldberg will provide the voice for ‘The Captain’, the tough-as-nails Head of Security for the Land of Good Luck,” while Fonda “…will voice ‘The Dragon’, the exuberant CEO of Good Luck and undisputed luckiest ancient being in all the land.” They go on to say this: “Directed by Peggy Holmes (Secret of the WingsThe Pirate Fairy) and written by Kiel Murray (CarsCars 3), Luck centers around the unluckiest girl in the world, who after stumbling upon the never-before-seen world of good and bad luck, must join together with magical creatures to uncover a force more powerful than even luck itself.” The article goes on to detail several other animated projects that Skydance have in the works.  Luck is scheduled for release by Apple TV+ in February of 2022.

image c. 2021 Skydance Animation

A League Of Their Own

My but it seems like Dwayne Johnson is busy with a lot of animation projects lately! Now the latest we’ve heard about is the DC League of Super-Pets feature film. DC just released a new teaser trailer, and there’s an article up on Collider: “The cast of animated family film DC League of Super-Pets just got a serious injection of star power with the announcement that Kevin Hart, Keanu Reeves, John Krasinski, Vanessa Bayer, Kate McKinnon, Natasha Lyonne, and Diego Luna have all boarded the ensemble via a fun teaser video starring Krypto the Super Dog in all his animated glory.” The latter voiced by Mr. Johnson, of course. The film will be un-leashed in 2022 — by Warner Brothers, naturally!

image c. 2021 DC Comics

This Room Might Be Bugged

Cartoon Brew pointed us at something we had not heard of. Thanks! “Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow, a family-oriented animated thriller from Spain, has entered production… Set in a world where humans and insects co-exist, the story unfolds on a seaplane journey from Shanghai to San Francisco in the 1930s. It centers on the spider detective Inspector Sun and his nemesis the Red Locust, paying homage to the detective stories of Agatha Christie and the fictional Charlie Chan. The script, by Rocco Pucillo, won the prestigious students-only Samuel Goldwyn Award in 2013. The film is a co-production from The Thinklab Media and Gordon Box. It is directed by Julio Soto Gúrpide, who helmed the Goya-nominated 2017 feature Deep.” Currently Inspector Sun is set for release in the summer of 2022. We’ll certainly find out.

image c. 2021 Thinklab Media

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