Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Bits Journal #51


Back to bits...

Of course, when the Mouse House announces a huge, no-holds-barred slate concerning almost everything they are planning to release, another animation wing has got to respond...

And this time it was Illumination Entertainment...

Three films have been dated. When are they coming out? The usual July slot that Universal/Illumination goes after: 7/13/2018, 7/3/2019, and 7/10/2020...

They are each listed as "Illumination Entertainment Franchise Film" on Box Office Mojo... So are they all sequels? Despicable Me 4? Minions 2? Secret Life of Pets 2?

If some non-sequels are in the mix, maybe those slots will go to films like Johnny Express or The Cat in the Hat. Or...

Illumination is releasing two films next year (The Secret Life of Pets and an untitled musical), and two films in 2017 (Despicable Me 3 and The Grinch), so it's possible that they'll do the same in 2018, 2019, and 2020. I bet that'll be the case, since Illumination - 5 films in - is already seriously riding the box office wave. They seem to like the Christmas slot, so maybe...

7/13/2018 - Minions 2
12/21/2018 - Non-Sequel Movie
7/3/2019 - The Secret Life of Pets 2
12/20/2019 - Non-Sequel Movie
7/10/2020 - Despicable Me 4

Now who fires back next? Fox with DreamWorks/Blue Sky release dates? Paramount? Who knows!


Did you love Fantastic Mr. Fox? Well the good news is, director Wes Anderson is working on a new stop-motion picture and it already has a cast! Cuss yeah!

What's it about? A dog. That's all we know...

They're being super-secretive here. The cast currently consists of Jeff Goldblum, Bob Balaban, Edward Norton, and Bryan Cranston. Strong line-up already!

Fantastic Mr. Fox, to me, is one of the best animated films of the last 5-7 years. Not only is it visually appealing and the style is its own cool beast (and definitely Anderson's), but it's a fresh, quirky story with a sharp script that barely ever misses a beat. I wish it had been more successful back when it came out, but if you haven't seen it... It's a must-watch. Find the Criterion Blu-ray and blind buy it, I say!


Speaking of stop-motion, Sony Animation plans to make a stop-mo film based on the Rabbids...

The Rabbids originated from the Rayman video game series, a bunch of characters that were so popular, they got their own franchise... In a way, they were the Minions of last decade, and I kind of reckon that the success of the Minions alone is why a movie is now on the table.

However, it'll be a stop-motion/live-action hybrid much like another in-development Sony Animation project called Superbago. This film will be a co-production with Ubisoft and... Stoopid Buddy! Yes, that's right, the Robot Chicken studio is on board. In fact, Robot Chicken writers are penning the script: Show co-creator Matt Senreich, Tom Sheppard, and Zeb Wells.

I can't say much about this, for I've never played a Rabbids game, never saw an episode of the show... I think I only played Rayman 2 for the Nintendo 64 way back when, long before Rabbids were even a twinkle in someone's eye. At the same time, I'm kind of interested in the project because it's from Robot Chicken staff, and I'm a big fan of Robot Chicken. Also, the cool thing is, it's another animated movie based on a video game. A theatrical one at that, something you don't see very often. (Next year's Ratchet & Clank may or may not kick off a wave of animated films based on video games. I really hope it does!)

Speaking of Adult Swim shows...


Another adult-oriented animated feature has fired up...

Titmouse Inc., known for their TV - mainly Adult Swim shows, has a feature called Nerdland coming. It stars Paul Rudd and there's little to no details on the plot, but it will indeed be R-rated. Bleeding Cool says that we should expect a "gratuitous amount of violence, sex, nudity, and drugs from the film"...

Okay, first off... I used to watch a lot of Adult Swim stuff that Titmouse did nearly a decade ago. I adored Metalocalypse back in the day, and I still think it's darn funny today on top of having pretty impressive visuals for a show made on Flash, plus a lot of epic action. They also took over Superjail! when season two started, and that was also a very out-there, neo-psychedelic, creative show that was pretty over the top! So I'm more than excited to see what they will do with a feature. I hope it's traditionally animated, too...

On the other hand, and this is a me thing... Adult animation is more than just gratuitous violence, sex, and nudity. Here in America, it seems like the only kind of "adult" animation that catches on with the masses is the naughty stuff. Ya know, "Cartoon characters swearing and doing inappropriate, R-rated things! Oh my god!" stuff. Stuff like Family Guy, South Park, many Adult Swim shows, the like. Now I'm not trying to insinuate that they all aren't smart or can't be well-written and witty, but when can we get a big-scale feature or show that's rated PG-13/R and is actually mature without having to fall back on graphic violence or sex or nudity?

That all being said... Take a look for a second... We've gotten quite a few adult-oriented animated films in domestic theaters recently. ShadowMachine's stop-motion comedy Hell & Back got a limited release, while Anomalisa - an adult-oriented animated film that does indeed sound "adult" - looks to get a wide release after its limited release later this year. Un Gallo con Muchos Heuvos got a small release here as well, but performed really well for what it was. The unabashedly raunchy Sasuage Party from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (I loved their This Is The End) is still set to open next summer, and now we have this Titmouse feature on the horizon.

Now, as reader Gray Stanback asked me, does this all point to an adult-oriented animation boom happening? A Renaissance even? This is a big number of films, rivaling that of the amount of AO-animated films we got in the 1970s and in the early 1980s: The Bakshi films, Heavy Metal, Dirty Duck, imports such as King Dick, etc.

So what happens from here? I'm going to guess that these features will all do relatively well, with Sausage Party being the most successful given that Sony is giving it a wide, late summer release. Can't say about much about Nerdland yet, for I don't know how it'll be distributed. I certainly hope it gets a wide release. I simply hope that if these films are all successful, they open up a market for feature-length, theatrical adult animation, even if we have to go through a raunch-fests to get to some truly new and innovative stuff.

3 comments:

  1. I played the first two Rabbids games, and they were really fun on the Wii! I also heard really good things about Rabbids Go Home. I also watched some episodes of the TV show, and that was kinda "meh". I thought they will soon fade away, but I guess I was wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think Illumination needs to bring back Woody Woodpecker. Universal's done nothing with the character in a long time. If that reboot is successful at the box office, who knows? There might be a crossover film opportunity with those Minions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wouldn't (Ha ha--"wood"n't) mind a Woody Woodpecker movie, but I don't think a Despicable Me/Minions crossover with him is a good idea at all.

      Delete