Thursday, January 19, 2017

Sonypalooza: Numerous Sony Animation Announcements Made

Out of nowhere, Sony Pictures Animation gave us plenty of updates on their big slate yesterdary...

Why? Apparently, it was Sony Animation Day, even though the studio was founded in May 2002. You're almost 15, guys, hold 'yer horses!

Before anyone asks... Yeah, I'll say one thing about The Emoji Movie's casting. Patrick Stewart as the poop emoji... Now we've seen it all. You can't make this shit up. (Yes, shamelessly intended) Oh, and the character Maya Rudolph is voicing is kind of unsettling-looking.

In fact, the whole design of this movie is just... It's some of the most questionable I've seen for a big-time CG animated movie.

Anyways, despite how I feel about any animation studio wasting resources on something like this, I'll still say a few other things. The full cast - outside of Stewart and Rudolph - consists of TJ Miller, Jennifer Coolidge, James Corden, Ilana Glazer, Rob Riggle, and Steven Wright. It's kind of a solid cast, I suppose, but it's still baffling to me that Stewart is on board on this flick, let alone voicing "Poop Daddy". Yes, I'm still processing the fact that the character is named that.

Perhaps the only cool thing about this movie is that it'll have a Hotel Transylvania short attached to it. Titled Puppy, it's one of the only Sony Animation theatrical shorts to be based one of their movies.

Hotel Transylvania 3 is keeping the September 21, 2018 release date (regardless of S.C.O.O.B. having that date, the Drac Pack got it first), and the plot synopsis sounds a bit interesting. Dracula and the gang will go on a cruise, Dracula falls for the captain, who turns out to be the daughter of Van Helsing. Now that is kind of a cool plot, despite what I think of the Hotel Transylvania series. I have a little faith in this particular entry because it seems like the Adam Sandler camp has been dialed back a smidge, and that Austin Powers scribe Michael McCullers will be handling the script instead.

Opening after The Emoji Movie is The Star, a new take on the Nativity story. Sony Animation's co-production with Walden Media will actually be outsourced to Cinesite Animation, who are up and coming and actually quite promising. Anyways, Sony Animation is usually conservative with budgets, but this move is rather smart. An animated faith-based movie is not a guaranteed $150 million-grossing no-holds-barred blockbuster, so it's good to see them being careful here.

We now have a look at two of the main characters...

Who is starring in The Star? Zachary Levi, Gina Rodriguez, Steve Yeun, Kristen Chenowth, Keegan-Michael Key, Anthony Anderson, Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Tracy Morgan, and Christopher Plummer. The latter two are voicing Felix and King Herod, respectively.

The most exciting of the 2017-2018 Sony Animation bunch is the still untitled animated Spider-Man movie...

It has been confirmed that the film will be about Miles Morales, not Peter Parker.

Joining director Bob Perischetti is Peter Ramsey, the director of DreamWorks' good but ill-fated Rise of the Guardians. It's great to see him at the helm of a new picture, and it's also great to see another big-scale animated feature being handled by a person of color. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, as reported several times before, penned the script. It's sure to be great, and probably a unique and irreverent spin on superhero movies. The big superhero franchises are in need of a good send-up. (Whether Megamind was just that or not, that's all up to you.) No cast announcements were made, but the film is still set for December 21, 2018.

There was no word on the live-action/photoreal CG pictures Goosebumps 2 and Peter Rabbit. Both are set to open in the first quarter of 2018, and are likely to bear the Sony Pictures Animation logo. Also, no word on the untitled 2019/2020 pictures, not a peep on Vivo. Those projects are still a little ways off, but since it's been two-oh-one-seven for half a month, I'd expect some animation studios to talk 2019/2020 films... If not 2021 films.

Anyways, that's Sony Animation's line-up for this year and all of next year. Some of it's exciting, some of it I couldn't care less for, other parts make me curious. What say you?

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