Thursday, January 26, 2017

Dropping In: Paramount Moves 'Amusement Park' to Summer 2018

It looks like the wait time to get on the roller coaster has shortened...

Yesterday, Illumination left the July 13, 2018 slot vacant when they moved their Secret Life of Pets sequel to the summer of 2019. That slot isn't being filled by another Illumination production. Instead, the mountain folk surprisingly decided to swoop right in...

Yes, that's right, Paramount Animation's cryptic Amusement Park is now set to open on July 13, 2018. The original date for the picture was March 22, 2019, and now I suspect that the third SpongeBob movie will take that slot because its current date - February 8, 2019 - pits it against Warner's Lego Movie Sequel. Any second now...

In their report of the release date change, Deadline revealed a nice-sized nugget. This film will be former Pixar animator Dylan Brown's directorial debut. Brown had actually moved to the ill-fated Pixar Canada unit and was a creative director on the Toy Story Toon short Small Fry (my favorite of the bunch), and was a top dog on several Pixar classics. I'm excited to see what he brings to table. Former Pixarians Teddy Newton and John Kahrs (who also had a stint at Disney Animation, directing their short Paperman) had also moved to work for Paramount Animation, but we've heard little to nothing on their respective projects. Are they still set to do projects for them?

The previously-announced cast consists of Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Garner, Jeffrey Tambor, Kenan Thompson, Ken Jeong, Mila Kunis, and John Oliver. The animation is being done at the Spanish studio Ilion, the people behind Planet 51 and Mortadelo and Filemon: Mission Implausible. Paramount Animation, for those who may not know, essentially operates like Warner Animation Group. Nothing is done in house, various different studios do the films for them. Monster Trucks was a Disruption film, SpongeBob 2 and 3 are Nickelodeon/United Plankton Pictures movies, and Gnomeo and Juliet's sequel is being done by Rocket Pictures, MGM, and Mikros.

I think this move shows that they're confident. I mean, moving right into a prime summer date after a big competitor left it? I think they've got some faith in this one, and it has taken a while for Paramount Animation to get off the ground. That was all due to former executives making very questionable decisions, and all kinds of muck-ups. See, I think Amusement Park is the very movie that will give us an idea of where Paramount Animation will be heading now that the proverbial band-aids have been ripped. Now with this switch, I get the sense that they want to really launch themselves as a viable competitor... And soon.

When will we hear details on the story? Probably towards the end of the year, because even before all the Monster Trucks woes, the studio's plan was to keep things in absolute secrecy. Anyways, I want to see them score, as they're one of the few major distributors that hasn't had a big animation line-up, and because they've been behind the 8-ball for far too long.

What say you?

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