Friday, November 22, 2013

Sony Animation's 2016 Film… Unveiled?

Earlier this year, after Disney and Fox announced their big animation slates, Sony Pictures Animation quietly put it out there that they had two untitled films scheduled for release in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Since they have so many projects in development, one could've only wondered which one would move forward. Would it be something safe like ALF or Manimal? Or would it be something surprising and unexpected? Would they have put an original story like Instant Karma in the 2016 spot?

For a while, I thought that the film in question would be the abruptly delayed Popeye, the one that Genndy Tartakovsky was supposed to direct. With Sony Animation having two animated films - The Smurfs 3 and Hotel Transylvania - ready for release in 2015, it seemed likely. But word on Popeye is scarce nowadays, though it is possible that it'll show up sometime soon. However, I think we now have a good idea of what Sony Animation's September 2016 release is going to be…

Kazorn & The Unicorn

An original film directed by Kelly Asbury, longtime animation veteran who was the director of Gnomeo & Juliet and Shrek 2, it was announced a year and a half ago. It seemed like it would be one of those projects that would just sit there, because a few of the big studios are announcing that all of these projects are in development and yet many of them just don't move forward. Look at DreamWorks. They announced stuff like Dinotrux and Maintenance way back in 2009/2010-ish, no word on what's going on with them. They just secure these things for the future, meaning we'll see those movies sometime in… I don't know, 2019? 2020? 2021? 2022?

My Rotoscoper comrade Morgan Stradling found this when perusing Sony Animation's website…

She also pointed out that Asbury was now part of the filmmakers page on the site. Notice how Kazorn is next to Hotel Transylvania 2, the latest film to have a release date set in stone on Sony's slate…

But also… Popeye is on there, and it's before The Smurfs 3 and Hotel Transylvania 2, so apparently it's still holding up. It's not in limbo, it's not nearing cancellation. After all, they wouldn't want to screw Tartakovsky out of a potential smash. Tartakovsky is an animation mastermind, and he salvaged Hotel Transylvania and it was a big hit - their biggest at the domestic box office, actually. Popeye, especially under his wing, would be too good to throw out. Cartoon Network screwed him over twice, first canceling Samurai Jack and then pulling the plug on Sym-Bionic Titan nearly a decade later; Sony better not make that same mistake! Having Tartakovsky on board to direct features for you is nothing to take too lightly.

Now I wonder…

Will Sony release two films - Popeye and Kazorn - in 2016? Or will Sony have Kazorn ready for 2016, and Popeye ready for 2017? Or vice versa?

It's also interesting to note that Kazorn & The Unicorn will be produced by Sam Raimi, and its co-director is Troy Quane, longtime animator and storyboard artist who has worked on films such as Osmosis JonesEnchanted and 9. It intrigues me because it's their first all-original film (not counting Aardman's Arthur Christmas) since 2007's Surf's Up… Wow! Color me excited, I'm glad Sony is willing to step out of the sequel/Smurfs pool for a minute and try out something cool. Hey, it worked for Surf's Up and Cloudy!

Hopefully we'll see some of the more off-the-wall stuff on their development docket move forward as well. What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I'm really excitd to see what Kazorn & The Unicorn is all about. Smurfs bores me and I understand why they're capitalizing on Hotel T, but something original from any studio is always gladly welcomed. I hope that the other films the preceed Kazorn will do decently well, so that way we can at least be assured that we'll see Kazorn sooner rather than later.