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Animation

Return of the Big Red Dog

How could something that large sneak up on us? Well, here we go: Clifford the Big Red Dog is coming back soon in a new live action/CGI movie from Paramount Pictures and Walden Media. “As Emily Elizabeth (Darby Camp) struggles to fit in at home and at school, she discovers a small red puppy who is destined to become her best friend. When Clifford magically undergoes one heck of a growth spurt, becomes a gigantic dog, and attracts the attention of a genetics company, Emily and her Uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall) have to fight the forces of greed as they go on the run across New York City.” Before all that though, Scholastic is bringing us Clifford The Big Red Dog: The Movie as a graphic novel, written by Georgia Ball and illustrated by Chi Ngo. According to Wikipedia, the project has actually been in development since 2016, but now both graphic novel and movie are scheduled for release in the later part of 2021.

image c. 2020 Scholastic

Wolves Are After Us

Wasteland is a web series being created for YouTube that follows a pack of wolves attempting to survive the apocalypse.” Sounds pretty straight forward. “There are 7 main characters, and the show is being produced as a semi-realistic 3D animation. The story is told from the wolves’ point of view as they must fight to protect their family, and the world, from the new viral threat.” The Kickstarter campaign for UK-based Blue Biscuits Studios (the brainchild of animator Molly Babington) has already passed its goals, so things are looking up. Check out the teaser trailer on YouTube also. Watch it through to the end.

image c. 2020 Blue Biscuits Studios

Don’t Mess with a Tricky Cat

One of Sir Terry Pratchett’s lesser-known (and very furry) Discworld stories is in development as an animated feature. Here’s the latest news we found out from Animation World Network: “Bring on the Cat King of Rats! The Amazing Maurice, based on the late Sir Terry Pratchett’s 2001 novel, is in development at Ulysses Filmproduktion, Cantilever Media, Sky Cinema, Studio Rakete, and Red Star Animation (what a mouthful). Although we lost the beloved author in 2015, it is exciting to think we’ll soon get to admire his work on the big screen. Fingers crossed. Since the project’s announcement last year, it has gained quite the A-List voice cast. Hugh Laurie (House, Stuart Little) and Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones, Solo: A Star Wars Story) recently joined the impressive roster, which already includes David Thewlis (Wonder Woman), Himesh Patel (Yesterday), Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia, The Girl with All the Gifts), and Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey). A play on the Pied Piper of Hamelin, Amazing follows Maurice, a streetwise cat, that has the perfect money-making scam. He’s found a dumb-looking kid who plays a pipe, and his very own horde of rats – rats who are strangely educated, and literate. When Maurice and the rodents reach the stricken town of Bad Blintz, their little con goes down the drain. For someone there is playing a different tune. A dark, shadowy tune.” The film version of The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rats is coming in 2022.

image c. 2020 Sky Cinema

Welcome to New York, Boy

We found out about this through Twitter, then we checked it out over at Animation Magazine. “Netflix announces a new 2D animated movie musical Arlo the Alligator Boy and series I ❤️️Arlo from creator Ryan Crego (Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh, Puss in Boots, Shrek Forever After). The animated movie musical will premiere globally in 2021. The animation is being handled by Titmouse (Big Mouth, The Midnight Gospel). Upon learning that he is from New York City, a wide-eyed boy, who is half human and half alligator, decides to leave his sheltered life in the swamp and search for his long lost father. The movie, Arlo the Alligator Boy, will launch Arlo’s journey as he meets a group of misfits who quickly become his new family. Once Arlo’s adventure lands him in New York City, the series, I ❤️️Arlo, will kick off as he and his newfound crew set up shop in an abandoned seaside neighborhood and help bring it back to life.” Lots more details in the article too. Check out that splash picture!

image c. 2020 Titmouse

One Little White Bear

Rupert the Bear first appeared in the British newspaper the Daily Express on November 8th of 1920 in a comic strip called Little Lost Bear, written and illustrated by Mary Tourtel. Since then he has gone on to become a world-wide symbol of childhood through the eyes of the U.K. — much like another well-known little British bear. Well now in celebration of Rupert’s 100th birthday (he looks young for his age!), Great Britain has released a whole new line of Rupert-themed stamps. We stumbled across an article from the BBC (thanks Twitter!) that has a lot more information about Rupert in general and the stamps in particular.

image c. 2020 Royal Mail

A Triple-Shot of Furries

Mo Willems is an award-winning author and playwright — who recently signed a deal for not one but three new animated projects, all of them quite a bit furry. We got this from Animation World Network: “HBO Max and Cartoon Network have just announced greenlighting three new projects with New York Times best-selling children’s book author, illustrator, and playwright Mo Willems: A hilarious animated series Unlimited Squirrels!; a CGI animated rock special Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Special; and a pilot order for a live-action immersive series, Cat the Cat’s Show the Show Show with YOU the YOU! The projects are designed to encourage kids (and former kids) to feel comfortable in their own skin. The three new orders join the recent live-action special, Mo Willems and The Storytime All-Stars Present: Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime!, and a collection of Weston Woods Studios animated films adapted from his award-winning books, Mo Willems Storytime Shorts!, to further expand the innovative content slate that is part of the streamer’s multi-year deal with Willems. The new projects will also be executive produced by Greg Silverman’s Stampede Ventures.” The article goes into a lot more detail about each of the new shows, as well as Willem’s previous works. [Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!]

images c. 2020 by Mo Willems

Oh Blimey, Oh Goody, Back in your Neighborhood-y

This has been flying around the Internet all day: Following the re-boot of Animaniacs, it’s time for a reboot of Tiny Toons. Here’s what Animation Scoop had to say: “HBO Max and Cartoon Network are returning to Acme Acres with a series order for Tiny Toons Looniversity, an all-new half hour animated comedy series featuring characters from the Emmy Award-Winning Tiny Toon Adventures from Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) and Amblin Television.  Steven Spielberg will return as executive producer…  Erin Gibson (Throwing Shade podcast) will serve as showrunner and co-executive producer. Nate Cash (Adventure Time) is also on board as co-executive producer. Babs, Buster Bunny and the rest of the gang follow their comedic ambitions all the way to Acme Looniversity, the esteemed institution of higher hijinx learning, where young dreamers become professional toons. Here they form long-lasting friendships with one another and perfect their cartoony craft while studying under the greatest cartoon characters in history, the Looney Tunes.” No word yet on a planned release date, but with more and more animation coming down the pipe these days, it shouldn’t be long.

image c. 2020 Warner Brothers Animation

This Pig Gets His… Animal

A recent article at Animation World Network let us know about Hit Pig, a new animated feature based on the book Pete and Pickles by Bloom County creator Berkeley Breathed. The film version stars the voices of Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) and Lilly Singh (A Little Late With Lilly Singh). “Set in a futuristic cyberpunk world, the film stars Hitpig (Dinklage) as a grizzled porcine bounty hunter who accepts his next hit: Pickles (Singh), a naive, ebullient elephant who has escaped the clutches of an evil trillionaire. Though Hitpig initially sets out to capture the perky pachyderm, the unlikely pair find themselves on an unexpected adventure criss-crossing the globe that brings out the best in both of them.” And hey, if all goes well it looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more interesting anthro features coming out of the production company, Aniventure. “The London-based animation production studio is in production on Riverdance: The Animated Adventure based on the stage show phenomenon of the same name, and Blazing Samurai, based on Mel Brooks’ classic Blazing Saddles and directed by Mark Koetsier (The Grinch) and overseen and produced by Rob Minkoff (The Lion King). Riverdance: The Animated Adventure, Blazing Samurai and Hitpig will be delivered in 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively.” Here’s hoping.

image c. 2020 Aniventure

To the Bat Garage, Robin!

Okay… Folks, we’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: We cannot make this stuff up. If we could, we’d be making a whole lot more money. This came across our Twitter feed, which lead us to an article from Variety: “Warner Bros. Animation has started production on an animated preschool series called Batwheels, which will star some of the most iconic vehicles from across the DC universe, fighting crime in Gotham City alongside the usual squad of Batman, Robin, Batgirl, and more. The show’s main crime-fighting crew is led by Bam (The Batmobile), and also includes Bibi (The Batgirl Cycle), Red (The Redbird), Jett (The Batwing), and Buff (The Bat Truck). Together, the sentient super-powered vehicles must navigate the growing pains of being a newly-formed super team, as well as the growing pains that come with just being a kid.” Batman meets Cars, coming to Cartoon Network and HBO Max. Did we mention that the series is aimed at preschoolers?

image c. 2020 Warner Bros. Animation