Friday, June 30, 2017

Filling the Void: Fox Animation Dates 'Nimona', 'Anubis' Pulled

For the past few months or so, Fox Animation has been announcing projects left and right...

Of course, it all makes sense. Up until now, 20th Century Fox distributed films by their flagship animation house Blue Sky, and also films by DreamWorks. Occasionally, they'd distribute some films by a random assortment of makers. DreamWorks' distribution deal with Fox ended with Captain Underpants, now DreamWorks is owned by Comcast, and all their future movies and sequels will be Universal titles. Of course, Fox has been looking to fill the void that DreamWorks left.

So many projects have been planned... Most recently, we've heard about things like Momotaro, The Littlest Bigfoot, Zita the Spacegirl, Escape from Hat, With Kind Regards from Kindergarten, The Caring and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole, and so on... Well, one of these projects finally has... A release date.

And it's one that wasn't announced recently... An adaptation of Noelle Stevenson's webcomic-turned-graphic novel Nimona. Fox Animation has had this one on their docket since roughly mid-2015, and it's supposed to be directed by Feast and Pearl director Patrick Osborne. What is it about?

The book's official synopsis: "Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are. But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit."

Described as irreverent but heartfelt, Nimona fits right in with the fantasy pictures that Fox Animation is really pushing for. With Osborne directing, it's possible that the CG (because I doubt it'll be 2D) will take on a traditional animation-esque look like his previous works did. Stevenson's art style is suitable for this direction anyways, so I wonder where they'll go with it, visually.

The release date is February 14, 2020... That's one week after Paramount Animation/Nickelodeon Movies' TV show adaptation The Loud House. We're seeing more and more animated movies open so close to each other. This past spring, Smurfs: The Lost Village opened the week after The Boss Baby. DreamWorks and Sony Animation have projects dated a week apart from each other in 2020.

Anyways, the date shows that Fox Animation is more than ready to finally move forward with a big slate of animated features, now that DreamWorks is now circling the rival globe. I get the sense that multiple studios will be handling these non-Blue Sky Fox-distributed animated pictures, so I'm interested to see who's behind this one. As for Nimona itself, the premise sounds like a mix of the big, the epic, and a bit of the weird, which is welcome. It's also cool that it focuses on medieval-era fantasy villains...

In more unfortunate Fox Animation-centric news, THR also confirmed that the Blue Sky adaptation of Bruce Zick's Anubis Tapestry, simply titled Anubis, has been removed from the calendar. It was only a matter of time before that would happen. For those who aren't up to speed, here's the deal: Fox had it on their slate for years and years, and it turned out that the movie was not given any form of go-head nor was it in any form of production... Yet it was slated for 3/23/2018, for a long time. Fox executives got cold feet in early 2016 after a movie called Gods of Egypt bombed at the box office, pulling the usual "conventional wisdom" card. "Mummy movies are too big of a risk!" they seemed to think. They made Blue Sky put the project on hold, but no release date change/cancellation ever occurred.

The execs were waiting to see how The Mummy would perform, and apparently it didn't give them any confidence in a totally unrelated animated Egyptian adventure movie. So, Anubis is currently no more. Give me more reasons to despise "conventional wisdom"...

What say you?


  1. Speaking of Fox, an article I saw which announced this and the other projects that were announced today officially confirmed that Anubis is off the calendar.

  2. As for "Nimona" coming a week after "The Loud House Movie", I doubt that the latter will do well, because parents don't understand the show compared to another Nicktoon, "Spongebob Squarepants".

    1. But then again, The Loud House is more popular than Nimona, so I think Fox should move their film back a week.