Tuesday, May 23, 2017
4 for 2020: Sony Animation Dates Another 2020 Release
Well how about that? Sony Pictures Animation releasing four movies in a calendar year...
Today, when slating a few live-action pictures, such as a Charlie's Angels reboot and a World War II picture called The Nightingale, Columbia Pictures dated a new Sony Animation "franchise" film.
We've been seeing this kind of thing lately. Sony Animation and Illumination, when putting films on their slates in the past few months or so, label certain entries as "Untitled Franchise Film." In Illumination's case, it seems to mean sequels to their previous hits. For Sony... Well, I think it means two things: A sequel or something based on a very successful pre-existing IP. Sony has a few animated adaptations of such things in development: Spider-Man: The Animated Movie, an animated Ghostbusters movie, to name a few...
Anyways, this picture is set for July 24, 2020. That's the same day an as-of-now-untitled DC Extended Universe installment is set to open, and a week before an untitled Paramount Animation/Nickelodeon hybrid movie.
So now, we have four films slated for 2020 from Sony Pictures Animation, three of them are "franchise" films. The fourth one is a confirmed original, a Lin-Manuel Miranda monkey musical named Vivo. So far, that film is aiming for a near-Christmas 2020 debut. December 18, 2020, to be exact...
But here's the thing, a lot has changed since the day Sony slated that film.
Fox plans to open Avatar 2 that same day, and Illumination is unleashing Sing 2 - a surefire monster - on Christmas Day. Vivo is going to have to move, unless Sony markets it well. Thanksgiving's taken by a Disney Animation musical, so that's a no-go. Perhaps it could settle for the first weekend of November, and duke it out with a currently untitled Marvel Cinematic Universe installment.
Or maybe Sony doesn't need to worry, because Sony Animation/SPI has been very, very budget-conscious these days. Smurfs: The Lost Village cost $60 million, making it one of their cheapest features to date. The Star has been outsourced to Cinesite Animation, that may end up costing around the same amount or even less.
Now, this isn't the first year four Sony Animation things will hit theaters. 2018 holds Peter Rabbit (which may be a Goosebumps situation, where they just attach their name to it - but I still don't know if they contributed anything to the picture), Hotel Transylvania 3, Goosebumps: Horrorland, and Spider-Man: The Animated Movie.
It's like what DreamWorks tried to do years ago, except Sony's not blowing $120 million+ into each individual feature, so the plan may end up working out for them in the long run. Big maybe.
Anyways... The franchise film. What could it be? If Emoji Movie makes bank, then I think it'll be the sequel. Three years after the first, late July slot, yeah... It lines up. If Emoji Movie somehow doesn't cut it at the box office (the wild hope and dream of yours, I assume), then maybe... I don't know. Ghostbusters? Or will that be the July 2019 Sony Animation franchise film? To clear the confusion, this is Sony's slate right now...
07/26/2019 - Untitled Franchise Film
09/20/2019 - The Angry Birds Movie 2 (yes, it counts now)
12/25/2019 - Untitled Franchise Film
04/03/2020 - Untitled Franchise Film
07/24/2020 - Untitled Franchise Film
09/25/2020 - Untitled Franchise Film
12/18/2020 - Vivo
That's a lot of "franchise" titles, and only so many of those can be sequels. The Lost Village didn't do exceptionally, so I don't know if they'll go forward on a theatrical sequel or not. (They may Open Season it, and do direct-to-video sequels.)
There's... Popeye. Genndy Tartakovsky may have been booted off of it, but it's still very much a go over there, so Popeye could be it. Again, Ghostbusters Animated is a possibility. In the past, Sony Animation had plans to adapt things like ALF, Manimal, Tonka Trucks, several various books and such... But no movement on those seems to have happened. Maybe they're considering a third Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movie, since they never adapted the original source material's sequel book Pickles to Pittsburgh. Maybe they're really confident in Spider-Man: The Animated Movie, and intend to get a sequel out no more than two years after the original's debut.
It's all a convoluted mess, but it's possible Sony will shuffle some movies out of 2020 and into 2021 in the coming months. Right now, it seems like they're really thinking big.
What say you?