MUMBAI: In a move signaling an expansion of its output and increased year-round production across multiple platforms, Sony Pictures Animation has announced its slate through 2018 which includes five theatrical features, three television series and one direct-to-video movie. Sony Pictures Animation’s slate includes a mix of originals and franchises, some previously announced, each with its own style and tone, underscoring the studio’s pledge to develop projects aimed both inside and outside of the Sony Pictures Animation family brand intended for traditional, as well as online, distribution platforms.
Sony Pictures Animation president Kristine Belson said, “We are meaningfully stepping up our level of production, while creating an environment that fosters the best talent. Our goal is to enlarge our presence in the animation landscape with a uniquely diverse slate, and our strategy to get there is to let artists drive the movies creatively.” Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group chairman Tom Rothman said, “I could not be more proud of the way Kristine Belson has rebuilt Sony Pictures Animation into the boldest home for animation in the industry.”
‘Smurfs: The Lost Village’, a fully-animated comedy that delivers a fresh new take on the blue creatures, hits theatres on 7 April 2017. The voice cast includes Demi Lovato as Smurfette, Jack McBrayer as Clumsy, Joe Manganiello as Hefty, Danny Pudi as Brainy, and Rainn Wilson as Gargamel, with Mandy Patinkin as Papa. ‘
Emojimovie: Express Yourself’ will offer a comic take on the secret world of our phones and the beloved characters that have become daily necessities in global interpersonal communication. The feature is targeting an August 2017 theatrical release.
‘The Star’ (working title) is scheduled for an 8 December 2017 theatrical release. A small but brave donkey and his animal friends become the unsung heroes of the greatest story ever told, the first Christmas. Sony Pictures Animation produces the movie in association with The Jim Henson Company.
‘Hotel Transylvania 3’, a follow-up to Sony Pictures Animation’s highest grossing film in the US and the biggest opening ever for a US September release, is scheduled to hit theaters on 21 September 2018.
Director Genndy Tartakovsky, who returns to helm this brand new adventure, says, “I thought I was done exploring the world of ‘Hotel Transylvania’ after the first two films, but while I was away from the franchise finishing my TV show ‘Samurai Jack’, an idea sparked that I got really excited about and made it irresistible to return and helm myself this third adventure.” Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez and Andy Samberg will be returning as the voices of Dracula, his vampire daughter Mavis, and her human husband Johnny.
Also, from Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the geniuses behind ‘The Lego Movie’, comes an animated ‘Spider-Man’ feature slated for theatrical release on 21 December 2018.
A brand new animated television series, ‘Ghostbusters: Ecto Force’, will further expand the ‘Ghostbusters’ cinematic universe and focus on a new generation of Ghostbusters in the year 2050 who capture ghosts around the world with help from local teams—and some very cool gear! The younger-skewing Sony Pictures Animation project is being creatively spearheaded by Ivan Reitman and his production company Ghost Corps. It is is eyeing an early 2018 debut.
‘Hotel Transylvania’ will also have a TV show. It is targeted for a 2017 airdate. The animated television series, produced in partnership with Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana, will focus on the teenage years of Mavis, Dracula’s daughter, and her friends. It will be airing on the Disney Channel worldwide.
Another movie that will make the transition to TV is ‘Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs’. It is slated for its television series incarnation airdate in 2017. The 2D animated small-screen series will expand on the adventures of the computer-animated feature films and will air on Cartoon Network in the US and Turner channels across EMEA, APAC and Latin American markets.
‘Surf’s Up 2: Wavemania’ will debut on home entertainment in the Spring of 2017. Directed by Henry Yu and produced by Michelle Wong, the follow-up to the 2007 Oscar nominee will hit the shores in time for the 10-year anniversary of the franchise. The project is in partnership with WWE Studios and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The voice cast includes WWE Superstars John Cena, The Undertaker, Triple H, Diva Paige and Mr. McMahon as an infamous big wave riding crew of penguins known as The Hang 5 which Cody Maverick convinces to let him join on their journey to a mysterious surf spot where legend has it they will find the biggest waves in the world.