Ahhh, the Weinsteins... Not quite a great track record of animation you got there. Their latest, however, seems to be an exception.
The French production Ballerina was released in October in its country of origin, and its English dub received a general UK release a few weeks back. The picture, so far, has been met with pretty positive reviews. Here, in the states, the Weinstein Company is releasing it under the rather dumb new title Leap!, but their trailer for it indicates that we will be getting the film the UK saw.
That's a shocker!
As many an animation fan may know, the Weinsteins have butchered and sliced up animated films from other parts of the world. The Magic Roundabout is perhaps the best example, a 2005 CG adaptation of a popular 60s European stop-motion series. When brought here a year later, the whole script was rewritten and an all-star American cast did the voices. It was a disaster. They did the same thing not too long ago to the Argentinian Metegol, and constantly delayed it till it was sent straight to video back in July. Two years after it was set to debut in the US! Three years after it came out in Argentina! And get this... The film already had an English dub made up of UK actors that got released overseas!
Then of course, brother Harvey himself had to nerve to try and cut a Hayao Miyazaki masterpiece! That ended quite well, I'd say...
It's good to see that Ballerina (sorry, still calling it that) won't be just that, though anything is possible. Perhaps they've finally gotten the memo? They didn't scissor up and re-imagine Paddington, which ended up being a good-sized success in America, and won excellent reviews. This guy quite liked it, too - reminded me of an old-school live-action family film that you don't see too often these days. The sequel is out in Europe in the fall, hope we don't have to wait too long for it.
The trailer is pretty bad, though. The editing, the way it's put together, makes the film look like a run of the mill kids' flick... Watch the superior UK trailer instead, it makes the film look good, has more on the story, and it makes it seem a little heartfelt.
TWC is releasing Ballerina/Leap! on March 3, 2017, so I expect it to just come and go. Not a huge success, but it could be something of a tiny sleeper. I think the date does it little favors, having it right after Rock Dog (not saying that's gonna be a Finding Dory-sized titan, but you get the idea) and a few weeks before the live-action Beauty and the Beast. I just hope it does well enough, and that Weinstein gets it together when it comes to future animated releases.
Them dumping the American Underdogs and not tampering with this seems to suggest that lessons have been learned.
What say you?