Thursday, June 15, 2017

Reel FX Buckles Up: 'Book of Life 2' Announced, 'Kung Fu Space Punch' Previewed


As I've been saying since roughly 2013, Reel FX is THE studio to keep an eye on...

The Annecy festival is still in full swing right now. Reel FX and The Book of Life writer/director Jorge Gutierrez have announced...

A sequel to The Book of Life!

The original cost $50 million to make and made about $100 million worldwide. Just doubled it, but The Book of Life didn't have so many merchandising and tie-in deals breathing down its neck, so it did good for small-time animated feature. With its lower budget, it took some serious visual risks and is one of the coolest-looking computer-animated movies to date.

Gutierrez says of the sequel...

"The sequel grew from that and people asking what was gonna happen with the characters, what’s gonna happen to the gods? The sequel embraces all these things and, in a weird way, is a continuation of the story with everybody you love from the first movie."

He also wants to get everyone back together for this picture. It turns out, The Book of Life indeed had a life of its own after its come-and-go theatrical run. A big hit at cons, you can definitely still feel this movie's existence some 2 1/2 years later. In fact, the response to a poster for a hypothetical sequel really exploded...


Reel FX's CEO Steve O'Brien added that it's "one of those rare films that has really continued to build long after its release. There is an amazing and passionate underground fanbase." Now, according to the reports, a sequel was simply held up by some rights issue that has apparently been resolved not too long ago.

As expected, Reel FX and Gutierrez presented his upcoming original cross-genre epic, Kung Fu Space Punch. As we've known for a while, it's a combination of westerns, kung fu films, and space operas. A "funny mash-up of ‘90s Kung Fu films, Spaghetti Westerns of the ‘60s, and the epic space adventures of the ‘70s, ‘80s and today," says Gutierrez.

Here is a dazzling new piece of concept art for the feature that shows just how hyper imaginative and super-cool it'll be...


Even cooler, a miniseries may spawn from this...

Gutierrez added...

"Guillermo [del Toro] advised me that these days you can’t just write a story, it’s transmedia, you are building a world that exists outside the movie."

Gutierrez' deal with Reel FX is a long-term one, so two new features on the docket is pretty exciting. I think The Book of Life getting a sequel is a huge win for Reel FX and for small-time animation, showing that a little movie that isn't making Despicable Me or even Hotel Transylvania numbers can be something a big hit that won't be ignored. Even better, it's a CG film - like The Peanuts Movie and Captain Underpants - that defies the "hyper-realistic" route that so many CG films from the biggies are following.

That all being said, some of these films still need distributors. Reel FX's first theatrical feature-length film that wasn't contract work for someone else, Free Birds, was distributed by the troubled Relativity Media. 20th Century Fox handled The Book of Life, it's unknown if they'll distribute the sequel or any future Reel FX films. With the studio building a bigger animation slate outside of their flagship Blue Sky, I think signing with a Reel FX is something of a no-brainer!

Some exciting things are happening in the house in Dallas... Keep a look out!

What say you on these developments?

1 comment:

  1. Actually, Book of Life cost $50 million, not $55 million. So it did double its budget.

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