Ever hear of Anubis?
Many years ago, it was announced that 20th Century Fox picked up the rights to animation long-timer Bruce Zick's novel The Anubis Tapestry: Between Twilights. Following the adventures of a boy looking for his cursed father in the Egyptian underworld, the animated film adaptation was on the table since 2008. When it was reported, it seemed like Blue Sky Studios - Fox Animation's flagship animation house - was going to be the house to tackle it...
They've been quiet on it ever since, but out of nowhere, the studio inked a release date for it: July 15, 2016. That was way back in 2013. Not too long afterwards, Ice Age: Collision Course took the summer 2016 slot and Anubis moved to March 23, 2018. We've heard nothing since.
Up until this point, it seems like Blue Sky's plan is simple. They seem to want just one film out every calendar year, while studios that are younger have these slates with 2-3 films set for every calendar year! Yes, in case you didn't know, Blue Sky is one of the oldest feature animation studios operating outside of Walt Disney Animation Studios. They've been around before DreamWorks, Sony Animation, and the like. If you count out Graphics Group, Pixar is only one year older than this house. Blue Sky got into doing features in the late 1990s, before that their work mainly consisted of commercials and visual effects.
Things are kind of rocky when it comes to Fox Animation. 20th Century Fox Animation is like an umbrella of sorts, not dissimilar to Warner Animation Group and Paramount Animation. While WAG has an in-film logo and identity, Paramount simply uses the name "Paramount Animation" as a banner. They're more low key that way. 20th Century Fox Animation is the same deal... They are not to be confused with the defunct Fox Animation Studios, who gave us Don Bluth's last two feature-length films, Anastasia and Titan A.E.
Fox Animation also has had a tendency to announce several projects, only to not follow up on them...
Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, Cardboard, Welcome to the Jungle, Mr. Men Little Miss, and Nimona... All announced years ago... What's going on with those? Some projects that were said to be Blue Sky productions... Alienology, Mutts... Either a no-go like Spore, or not.
Anubis is the anomaly here, for it does have a release date... But we don't know who is directing, who is writing, who may be cast, no concept art has surfaced. It's supposedly due out in less than a year...
Yet Ferdinand was equally cryptic. Up until the teaser came out, we knew little to nothing on that one as well, outside of the fact that Carlos Saldahna was attached to direct. It seems like Blue Sky is going the really secretive route with their animated features, similar to how Pixar was early on and how Walt Disney Animation Studios is operating.
I mean, it could be one of those last-minute things where we find out that it's actually not happening. Studios have a tendency of doing this, having things locked into slots and then saying little until... At the eleventh hour, boom! Gone!
Maybe, maybe not... But, a friend of mine asked Zick himself what's going on. Here's what he said...
Hi, @HappyCreech . Wish I knew!! Still undecided, hopefully if the Mummy movie does well, it will be officially greenlit. Thanks. https://t.co/mY5XBXJ8hL— bruce zick (@Brucezick) May 25, 2017
Even the writer of the original book doesn't know!
Still undecided? As in, they have this movie with a firm release date and they don't know if they're going to go forward with it or not? Unsurprising if true. I have no idea if the performance of the upcoming Mummy reboot will have anything to do with Anubis going forward. I mean, who exactly has the attitude "Oh mummy movies don't sell, let's wait and see how The Mummy does this summer"?
It's all very weird, but maybe if The Mummy does do well, it could mean something for Anubis. Maybe not.
In the comments section below, Mr. Zick says...
"Wish I really knew. Fox became skeptical about Anubis after the terrible box office of Gods of Egypt last year. That's why the new Mummy movie could reverse that opinion. Thanks for being curious."
Unsurprising. One movie of a particular kind does terribly at the box office, the studio/company says "that kind of movie is box office poison!" So that's what has been holding Anubis back, it seems... Well then, go see The Mummy! I'm curious about it, though I have some reservations about this whole Dark Universe that Universal is setting up, if its success helps Anubis get the green light, then... Yeah.
What say you on this mystery mummy movie?