Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Bits Journal #45


To start off, Sergio Pablos has something big in development...

Now for those of you who don't know, Mr. Pablos was an animator at Disney Feature Animation in the 1990s, working on projects like The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, and Tarzan. After his run at Disney, he went around town helping out the likes of Blue Sky and DisneyToon on various projects, along with other studios. He also conceived what would ultimately become Despicable Me...

For a little while, it seemed like his next project would be Smallfoot for Warner Animation Group. However, little has been said about that film for a long while...

Right now, his studio, SPA, is working on this... Feast your eyes...


Holy... Cow...

This is like Walt Disney Animation Studios taking the tech used to make Paperman and Feast, and making a whole film out of it. (Which is what we all hope Moana will be.) I love the style and the look, it wonderfully combines the unique qualities of traditional animation and CG into one really cool visual style. The footage itself is very fun too, the character is already likable and it has something of a classic Disney vibe to it, if you ask me...

According to the SPA website, Klaus is in the financing stage. Like many an animation fanatic, I certainly hope this gets made into a feature that gets a wide release. Please oh pretty please...

This two minute trailer alone is nothing short of awesome. To add to that, Pablos will present the project and talk about it at the Annecy Film Festival in the coming weeks...


DreamWorks made a very smart move today...

They now have Pixar's former head of publicity under their tree, one Robin Chandler, who was instrumental in the marketing campaigns for everything Pixar released between 2008 and 2013, from WALL-E to Monsters University. That's quite the resume, and it's an extremely smart choice on DreamWorks' part!

I've written about what went wrong with the money-losing DreamWorks films in the past months, and I always thought it was a combination of overspending, many audiences not being interested, and marketing campaigns that didn't drum up interest. Well, with Ms. Chandler in DreamWorksville, that could change. Big time! She's set to get to work right away, as the marketing for Kung Fu Panda 3 has yet to kick off, which is odd considering that some who saw Home before the public did happened to see the teaser/short for this film...

Reports are now saying the threequel's teaser will debut around Comic-Con...


Speaking of DreamWorks, Home is now sitting at $170 million domestically and $363 million worldwide. Quite the run here in North America, but its overseas total could be better. How will DreamWorks evaluate its box office performance is the bigger question... Like I've said before, their math and expectations seems to differ from film to film: Monsters vs. Aliens barely doubled its huge $175 million budget but no one freaked, whereas Penguins of Madagascar made over 2 1/2x its budget with a fine $373 million worldwide, DreamWorks took a $57 million write-down and shuttered PDI leaving around 500 talented folks out of a job...

I reckon they'll look at this as a hit because, unlike Penguins, Home isn't a franchise entry and because it took in over $150 million domestically. Perhaps part of Penguins' problem was that it just barely outgrossed Turbo domestically, missing $90 million. If anything, the people there are probably relieved that the film made this much at all, considering how everything was doom and gloom before it came out. The press acted as if they had time machines and knew this would flop and destroy DreamWorks...

Again, we shall see... Hopefully we get a report soon.


On the other side of the big screen animation coin, a British Columbia-based independent studio called Bron Studios is at work on a feature that may hit in 2016.

It's called Henchmen and it has been talked about since last summer. Originally, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay were set to executive produce the film, but have backed out alongside Chris Hench's Gary Sanchez Productions. Former Pixar animator Adam Wood is directing, and the cast - according to Deadline - consists of big names like James Marsden, Rosario Dawson, Rob Riggle, Craig Robinson, Nathan Fillion, and the like...

The plot? From the studio's website...

In a world of super-villains, evil schemes and global domination… someone has to take out the Trash. Welcome to the world of Henchmen, third class. When a fresh-faced new recruit joins the Union of Evil, he is assigned to a motley crew of blue-collar workers led by fallen henchmen Hank. But when “The Kid” accidentally steals the super villain’s ultimate weapon, Hank must break his “risk nothing” code to save the boy he’s befriended, even if it means becoming the one thing he has always avoided… being a hero.

Sounds like a cool plot, and it at least tries to differentiate itself from other "bad guy goes good" stories that we've seen in animation recently, like Despicable Me and Megamind. (Leaving out Wreck-It Ralph of course, given that Ralph is programmed to be the villain in his game but has no evil bone.) A trailer from last year shows off the really neat visual style, and it does look like it could be fun...


Again, like Klaus and also Scott Sava's currently in-production Animal Crackers, I hope it gets a good-sized if not wide general release.

2 comments:

  1. Henchmen sounds cool, but. . . it also sound like the sort of name you would give a mockbuster of Minions.

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  2. This is perfect! I bet Disney will be jealous of this. That will be their punishment for abandoning hand drawn animation......more or less.

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