Sony Animation's current slate was presented during CinemaCon yesterday, though it seems like some things have changed...
For starters, they filled us in on the very animated movie we really don't need, The Emoji Movie. It's a thing, it's indeed coming, it's been inked for late summer 2017, they have the logo...
Sony's Emoji Movie is going to take place entirely inside a smartphone https://t.co/MapweEvmjM pic.twitter.com/LiRZFBiFh1— The Verge (@verge) April 13, 2016
And some concept art, which I've seen floating around but I'm not sure if they'll allow it to be posted. Anyways, it was two emojis on a music note-boat in what's apparently the world of the music app. It was nothing to write home about, having seen it. App-makers like Spotify will collaborate on the film and their products will appear, because of course!
Oh, and they revealed a plot synopsis...
/Film says "... the emojis inside your phone come to life and live in their own secret world inside your phone’s text application. We were shown concept art of a grid spaced suburban neighborhood that is their home, Emoji Valley... The heroes in this story must leave the safety of their home and go to the world of the wallpaper, basically the phone’s desktop. In the world of the wallpaper, all the app icons exist as massive floating cubes, each containing their own world."
It sounds like it was cooked up out of a boardroom meeting. I don't want to be that guy, I don't want to dismiss something so early on, but The Emoji Movie just sounds so crass, so unimaginative, so dull. In order to make this work, they need a razor-sharp script that takes advantage of something or finds some way to brilliantly satirize our smartphone culture. That's gonna take a lot of effort, and I don't quite know if they'll pull that off or not. Sony Animation President Kristine Belson says it's a story of "power and self-expression"... Lemme guess, there's a cheap "be yourself" message in this thing?
Either way, I'm just going to wait for reviews on this one.
Moving on, it appears that the Nativity retelling The Lamb is no longer The Lamb. It's now just "Untitled Nativity Movie", and the protagonist is now a donkey. Are they drawing from The Small One for inspiration? Nestor the Christmas Donkey, perhaps? What was wrong with having a lamb be the main character? I have no idea... It's still on track for December 8, 2017, and I'm guessing Timothy Reckart is still directing it.
Hotel Transylvania 3, despite Warner Bros. all-animated Scooby-Doo film S.C.O.O.B. opening the same day, is staying in the 9/25/2018 slot. Animated Spider-Man (opening 12/21/2018) is also a full-blown Sony Animation project, and concept art from that was shown. Belson said that the project will be "a vision of Spider-Man that will take your breath away... conceptually and visually, it will break new ground for the superhero genre."
Hmmm, who knows! Visually and conceptually bold? Sounds ambitious, even though it's take on a character already done three times on the big screen.
Anyways, notice something irregular about the line-up presented last night?
No mention of... Peter Rabbit.
It was reported a little while back that an adaptation of the classic Beatrix Potter children's book was on their docket, on ComingSoon.net... But the title is nowhere to be found on Sony Animation's website. As of this writing, the site hasn't been updated, so The Lamb is still The Lamb, and The Emoji Movie is on there complete with the 8/11/2017 date. Maybe CS made a mistake and that Peter Rabbit is some other Sony release?
It did kind of come out of left-field anyways.
That being said... I hope Smurfs: The Lost Village turns out to be the proper Smurfs movie we've been promised for two years now, hopefully "Nativity" is also above-average if not surprisingly very good, and I anticipate the Phil Lord/Christopher Miller-produced Animated Spider-Man. There's so much they can do with that, it's not even funny.
More than anything, I just want to see projects like Medusa, Can You Imagine?, and several others happening instead...