Monday, August 17, 2015

A New Animation Force: Chinese Studio Original Force Opens American Unit

It looks like China's animation industry will expand to the states...

Highly successful Chinese animation studio Original Force has been around since 1999, producing animation for films, TV shows, and video games. They have also done work for several major companies here, including Disney and DreamWorks, among many others. They notably did work on DreamWorks' Dragons TV show...

They have now set up an American unit to do theatrical computer animated features. In high positions there are Penney Finkleman Cox and Sandra Rabins, long-time animation producers whose credits include the likes of DreamWorks films like The Prince of Egypt and Shrek, along with Sony Animation's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. This move comes fresh off of the recent runaway success of one of China's own animated features, Monkey King: Hero Is Back.

Three films are already in production, the first of which will be directed by Home producer Christopher Jenkins. It's titled Duck Duck Goose...

The plot? Not much was revealed. Peng, a goose, has to look after two orphaned ducklings while attempting to get back to his flock. Also there's an evil cat involved, but that's about it as far as plot details. The voice cast already includes Zendaya, Greg Proops, and Lance Lim. Jenkins will write the script with Rob Muir, who is best known for his work with Bob Hilgenberg. (The duo famously wrote the scrapped Circle 7 version Toy Story 3 and the Circle 7 Monsters, Inc. sequel.) Seems like a run-of-the-mill talking animals romp, but who knows, maybe it'll surprise...

Next up is QQ Speed, which sounds more interesting to me. Based on the Chinese online game of the same name, it's about a brother-and-sister racing team. Their car has a voice that sounds like their late father's, so I'm guessing the car is like KITT from Knight Rider or something. According to Animation Scoop, the plot involves them "risking everything to protect a family legacy." That's about it for now, though I don't mind another animated film about racing. Just by the poster shown at SIGGRAPH, it looks very much like a Hot Wheels-type movie, which actually is totally alright by me. It also has a director attached, John Eng, who worked on Klasky-Csupo's mid 90s show Duckman, directed Rugrats Go Wild, and also worked on DreamWorks' Dragons.

Oldzilla sounds like it could be really fun too. Kaiju (giant monster) movies are making something of  a comeback now, thanks to the success of Pacific Rim and the 2014 Godzilla. Jurassic World arguably qualifies as a giant monster film too, and look at how that did! A Pacific Rim sequel is on the horizon, along with Godzilla 2, Jurassic World 2, a film based on the giant monster arcade classic Rampage, and a King Kong-inspired film called Kong: Skull Island that seems like it'll be more about the island than the eighth wonder of the world. What's it about? King Saurus and a band of geriatric monsters go out for one last rampage. The picture will be directed and co-written by Simpsons alumnus Bob Bendetson.

That's not all. More features are in development, including an adaptation of the Grace Lin book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, a story about a little village girl's journey to find the Man on the Moon in order to help her family, while accompanied by mystical creatures and a dragon. Now see, that sounds like it has a lot of potential! Another project in development is Riding Giants, an original story by Greg Johnson, I'm guessing it's this Greg Johnson, since his credits include Disney Junior's Miles from Tomorrowland, which John Eng also worked on.

Anyways, I think this sounds like a pretty fresh line-up of features: Elderly kaiju, futuristic racing, a fantasy adventure, mixed in with familiar stuff. I hope for the best for this new studio, and hopefully these films get proper distribution. Since Duck Duck Goose is in full production, I won't be surprised if a 2017 release date gets inked soon, if not a random 2016 date...

What do you think of this new, up-and-coming unit? What films of theirs do you think sound interesting? Do you think they'll find success? Sound off below!


  1. Sweden has made its frist cg animated movie recently. It is called The Journey to The Feather kings kingdom. It was released on March 21th 2014 .

  2. Sweden has made its frist cgi animated feature recently. it,s called The Journey to The Feather Kings Kingdom. It was releaed on March 21th 2014

  3. These look so cool. Are they going to be getting wide US releases?