Thursday, June 15, 2017
Sony Steps Up: Big Sony Plans Revealed at Annecy
If today's Reel FX news wasn't enough, Sony Animation seemed to surprise at the Annecy festival as well...
They seem to be buckling up as well.
First off, the plan is to have five animated originals... Five animated originals for 2020 and 2021...
Second, no Sony Animation films will be released in 2019.
Maybe a change of plans is in order soon, though The Angry Birds Movie 2 - releasing fall 2019 - is going to be a Sony ImageWorks/Sony Animation/Rovio collaboration.
Now apparently their chief, Kristine Belson, is looking for something that will really launch Sony Animation to the box office forefront. Their proverbial Despicable Me, if you will. Sony Animation has actually specialized in the small animated feature for a little while. Open Season did modest business 11 years ago, Surf's Up sadly tanked. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and its sequel did solid business, the Hotel Transylvania movies are halfway up the ladder, the first Smurfs hybrid movie is still their highest-grossing picture and the new all-animated reboot made a mere fraction of that.
However, Belson did say... "I hope we can stay as all over the map stylistically as we are now." That means... They won't be defining a house style, per se. To be fair, they never really had one. The look of the Cloudy movies isn't like Open Season, and they don't look like Hotel Transylvania or the upcoming The Star.
We even got some information on those originals.
That sci-fi tinged one from Michael Rianda is still on the board. Still a semi-autobiographical family road trip, but set during... A robot uprising. So a family-friendly Terminator that's actually a heartfelt road trip story? Now that sounds wacky, fun, and full of potential! Jon Saunders, a short film and commercial director, is heading up a story about the first-ever bond between a man and a dog. Belson revealed this one will be a bit unique... "It’s all about heart, about comedy, especially non-verbal comedy: There are long stretches of the movie where, because it’s not a talking dog, they are playing silently."
What about Shannon Tindle's big project? A comedy about a "cocky billionaire superhero who must grow up when he is forced to raise the orphan of his greatest foe." Insert Lego Batman Movie comparison here, but... The orphan kid of his foe? That's what piques my interest, and it honestly gives me some Megamind vibes. We'll have to wait and see on this one, but Tindle's got quite the resume and wrote the story for LAIKA's masterful Kubo and the Two Strings, so it's sure to be something interesting.
Vivo is still on the docket, as is what was originally Medusa. Lauren Faust may not be directing the latter, but it's still going forward, now it's apparently about a monster hunter who becomes a Gorgon. Interesting, interesting... Now you can see why Faust left the project.
Now even more interesting... Sony Animation is apparently making animated movies for the "digital space," ones that will be...
Could it be? Sony Pictures Animation - a studio I've been harshly criticizing lately - is going to go some wild directions and maybe even take some big risks for an American animation studio? I guess The Emoji Movie will indeed pay for better things down the road.
If all of these plans come to fruition, then... It's about damn time.
What say you?