Animation Scoop – Animated News, Reviews and Commentary

INTERVIEW: Ryan Crego of DreamWorks TV’s “Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh”

DreamWorks Animation’s Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh is the studio’s latest spinoff series to one of their blockbuster features. Home, which was released last year, earned nearly $400M worldwide and starred the voices of Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Steve Martin and Jennifer Lopez.

Adventures, which is available on Netflix starting Friday July 29th, picks­ up where the film left­off, as the lovable alien Oh moves ­in with human girl Tip, her mom and cat (named Pig) in Chicago. Executive Producer Ryan Crego told me about working on the series, as well as his feelings on the upcoming big­screen return of DWA’s most iconic character.

Jackson Murphy:​ You’ve been living in the animation world ­ mainly at DreamWorks ­ for a long time. What were some of the shows you watched at “Home” when you were younger that made you want to get into animation?

Ryan Crego: ​My dad used to pull­out old 8mm films of Cecil the Sea Sick Sea Serpent and Heckle and Jeckle when I was little, so I remember that being some of my first memories of going, “Oh my God ­ this is special.” I grew­up in the 90s: a whole lot of “Tiny Toons” and “Gummy Bears”. The shows that started to hit me as I was shaping my personality and the kinds of things I wanted to do in animation were “Dexter’s Lab” and “The Powerpuff Girls”, and that’s when I think I was developing as an artist. They were funny, colorful and beautifully designed. I digested everything cartoon when I was young; I would draw constantly. If it was a cartoon I was probably watching it and trying to draw it.



Marni Nixon: The Singing Star Behind the (Cartoon) Stars

Hollywood has a long history of employing trained singers to sing off camera for actors who, even though capable of carrying a tune, do not have the technical skill or range of a training vocalist. Marni Nixon, who passed away on Monday, was easily the most celebrated of these “ghost singers.”

What is not as commonly cited are instances in which a studio singer performs a song in place of a speaking actor in animation. In recent years, this has become much more of a selling point than a secret. Lea Salonga sang for Ming-Na Wen as Mulan and in place of Linda Larkin for Jasmine. Brad Kane was the singing voice of Aladdin—and appeared on the Academy Awards telecast with Salonga to perform the Best Song winner.


TRAILER: “The LEGO Batman Movie”

Released today at Comic Con – the trailer for the next in the theatrical Lego features from Warner Bros.

Scheduled for release on February 10th, 2017, LEGO Batman now stars in his own big-screen adventure, The LEGO Batman Movie. Will Arnett stars as Batman/Bruce Wayne. That’s Ralph Fiennes as Alfred the butler, and Michael Cera as Robin. Zack Galifianakis voices the Joker; Chris McKay (The Lego Movie, Robot Chicken) directs.

And it looks pretty damn funny…


“From Coraline to Kubo: A Magical LAIKA Experience” Debuts at Universal Studios

LAIKA, the acclaimed animation studio and creators of the upcoming epic adventure film, Kubo and the Two Strings, which Focus Features releases in U.S. theaters on August 19th, will present “From Coraline to Kubo: A Magical LAIKA Experience.”

This innovative, first-ever interactive event will feature an up-close look at the artistic detail and imagination behind LAIKA’s groundbreaking ten-year filmmaking history, which also includes the Academy Award-nominated films Coraline (2009), ParaNorman (2012) and The Boxtrolls (2014).

The special event will take place at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Globe Theatre from August 5-14 and is included in the price of admission to the theme park.



Charles Solomon Reviews: “Ice Age Collision Course”

Fourteen years ago (!), the original Ice Age premiered. It had clearly been made on a limited budget that forced the artists to use their imaginations. The designs were simplified but appealing; the textures were less elaborately rendered; the backgrounds were often reduced to little more than a white field. But the film felt fresh and appealing, so no one missed the extra details (although the humans looked like something out of a bad museum diorama).

The subsequent sequels have grown increasingly elaborate but lack the individuality in their look and feel. They’ve become more and more about less and less, and this fifth installment is the most about the least.

Collision Course follows the same basic plot as the prior installments: When the character discover their world is in danger, they take a trip. Manny (Ray Romano), the somewhat morose but sensible mammoth of first film, has been turned into a stereotypical sitcom boob father/husband. He forgets the date of his wedding anniversary to Ellie (Queen Latifa) and disapproves of Julian (Adam Devine), the mammoth his daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer) is going to marry.



TRAILER: “Floyd Norman: An Animated Life”

Floyd Norman: An Animated Life is a must-see documentary for all who appreciate the history of Disney, the history of animation or have ever been touched by the man himself.

Jungle Book, 101 Dalmatians, Sword In The Stone, Sleeping Beauty, Robin Hood, Fat Albert, Monsters, Inc. The Smurfs, Courage The Cowardly Dog, Mulan, and on and on…

The Floyd documentary will debut at Comic-Con (screening 3:10 p.m. on Friday in room Pacific 23, North Tower, in the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina) and will be followed by a Q&A with Floyd and filmmakers Michael Fiore and Erik Sharkey. A special panel with the cast and crew will be held Friday in the convention center at 9 p.m. in Room 9.

Check out the trailer (click to see it full screen), released today via The Hollywood Reporter:




Disney XD’s New “DuckTales” Creative Team and Teaser Art Revealed

The creative team for Disney’s highly-anticipated DuckTales series and new artwork from that team are revealed leading into Comic-Con International this week.

The upcoming series will be executive-produced by Annie Award nominee Matt Youngberg (Ben 10: Omniverse). The story editor and co-producer is Francisco Angones (Disney XD’s Emmy Award-nominated Wander Over Yonder) and the art director is Sean Jimenez (Disney XD’s Annie Award-winning Gravity Falls). Disney Television Animation is the production company.

In advance of its debut at Comic-Con International: San Diego, below is exclusive teaser art from the new DuckTales series that was created by the production’s art team, led by Youngberg and Jimenez. This art will appear on the back of DuckTales Cinestory Volume 1 comic, a collectible edition featuring a retelling of the first five episodes of the original DuckTales television show. It will be released first at the convention on Wednesday, July 20th and will become available in comic book stores nationwide beginning Tuesday, September 27th.

DUCKTALES - Disney's "DuckTales," an all-new animated comedy series based on the Emmy Award-winning series, will again star Disney's enduringly popular characters: Scrooge McDuck, his grandnephews Huey, Dewey and Louie, and Donald Duck. Produced by Disney Television Animation, the series is set to debut in 2017 on Disney XD. (Disney XD)

DUCKTALES – Disney’s “DuckTales,” an all-new animated comedy series based on the Emmy Award-winning series, will again star Disney’s enduringly popular characters: Scrooge McDuck, his grandnephews Huey, Dewey and Louie, and Donald Duck. Produced by Disney Television Animation, the series is set to debut in 2017 on Disney XD. (Disney XD)


“Despicable Me” Co-Creator Sergio Pablos’ Next Animated Film Finds Funding

LA-based United Media Capital, LLC, (“United Media”) announced today it has formed a joint venture fund with Pigmental Studios, LLC (“Pigmental Studios”) of Hollywood & Washington, D.C., and the Santa Monica, CA-based United Independents Group, LLC (“United Independents Group”) for the purpose of co-financing a slate of upcoming animated and live action films. The first film to be financed by the new fund will be Household Pests, written by Sergio Pablos, the co-creator of Despicable Me.

Household Pests, based on an original idea from Pablos, follows an imaginative boy, “Cole,” who battles monsters under his bed every night, while his mother refuses to believe that they exist. It takes “Jeb Dee,” an undercover monster exterminator, to help Cole save the town.



24 Comic Con Animation Panels You Should Not Miss

Readers of this blog attending Comic Con this week should consult our annual list of two dozen animation panels we highly recommend you try to get into.

Please understand this is not every panel at CCI:SD connected to animation. You will need to consult the program book (or listings online) to research the complete list. These are only my personal picks.

I also highly recommend attending any and all of Mark Evainer’s panels – which are conveniently listed here.



The World Isn’t Ready for a Live-Action Beavis & Butthead

Mike Judge has indicated that if the seminal MTV show Beavis & Butthead were to be rebooted (again), it probably wouldn’t be animated. Just what is he thinking???

In an interview, the creator of the show prophesises that if the show were to return, it should be a new incarnation, not a reboot. If should also be live-action, which isn’t too surprising given Judge’s recent works have all been in that artform.

Yet there’s little logical reason to shift our anti-heroes into the physical space. In animated form their grotesque appearance isn’t quite so bad. In fact, it’s one of their defining characteristics along with their distinctive voices and nihilistic attitude.


Midwell – 2






Checklist of U.S. Animated Feature releases in 2016

1. NORM OF THE NORTH (1/15/16) Lionsgate. D: Trevor Wall

2. MONSTER HUNT (1/22/16) Film Rise. D: Raman Hui. (Live action/Animation)

3. KUNG FU PANDA 3 (1/29/16) Dreamworks/20th Century-Fox. D: Jennifer Yuh Nelson; Co-Director: Allesandro Carloni.

4. SNOWTIME (2/19/16) Shout Factory. D: Jean-François Pouliot.

5. THE BOY AND THE BEAST (3/4/16) Funimation. D: Mamoru Hosoda. (anime)

6. ZOOTOPIA (3/4/16) Disney. D: Byron Howard, Rich Moore.

7. RACHET AND CLANK (4/29/16) Focus Features. D: Jerrica Vleland, Kevin Munroe.

8. THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE (5/20/16) Sony. D: Clay Kaytis, Fergal Reilly.


10. FINDING DORY (6/17/16) Disney/Pixar. D: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane.

11. THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS (7/8/16) Universal (Illumination). D: Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney.

12. PHANTOM BOY (7/15/16) GKIDS. D: Jean-Loup Felicioli, Alain Gagnol.

13. ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE (7/22/16) 20th Century-Fox. D: Mike Thurmeier.

14. THE LITTLE PRINCE (8/5/16) Netflix. D: Mark Osborne.

15. SAUSAGE PARTY (8/12/16) Sony. D: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon.

16. KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS Focus/Laika. (8/19/16) D: Travis Knight.

17. THE WILD LIFE Lionsgate. (9/9/16) D: Vincent Kesteloot, Ben Stassen.

18. STORKS (9/23/16) Warner Bros. D: Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland.

19. LONG WAY NORTH (TBA) Shout Factory. D: Rémi Chayé.

20. MISS HOKUSAI (10/14/16) GKids. (anime) D: Keiichi Hara.

21. TROLLS (11/4/16) Dreamworks – 20th Century-Fox. D: Mike Mitchell.

22. THE RED TURTLE (11/18/16) Sony Pictures Classics. D: Michaël Dudok de Wit

23. MOANA (11/23/16) Disney. D: Ron Clements, John Musker.

24. SING (12/21/16) Universal (Illumination). D: Garth Jennings.

Release Dates TBA

• THE GIRL WITH NO HANDS – GKids. D: Sébastien Laudenbach

• UNDERDOGS – The Weinstein Company – D:Juan José Campanella (going direct-to-video on July 19th)

NOTES: Limited-release theatricals (movies going Direct-to-Video (DVD, VOD but getting a theatrical billboard) began this year with theatrical showings of YELLOW DAY, a faith-based live action/animation feature, directed by Carl Lauten, which opened in L.A. on January 8th 2016 via the Alabama-based Idyllic Entertainment Group. Funimation released the anime feature THE EMPIRE OF CORPSES, directed by Ryoutarou Makihara, for two days on April 19th and 20th. Momentum Pictures released the Korean produced BLING!, directed by Kyung Ho Lee and Wonjae Lee, to select theaters on May 6th. Aniplex America released anime feature CLASSMATES (Doukyusei) by Shoko Nakamaura on May 6th. Funimation released the anime feature HARMONY, directed by Michael Arias and Takashi Nakamura, animated by Studio 4°C and based the novel of the same name by Project Itoh, for two days on May 17th and 18th. Shout Factory released the Russian made QUACKERZ, directed by Viktor Lakisov, on June 3rd. NUTS, a documentary by Penny Lane, that uses much animation to illustrate its true story, had its theatrical premiere in New York on June 22nd. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Fathom Events partnered to give BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE, a special one-night big screen release on Monday, July 25th in select cinemas across the country.


Director Jon Binkowski on his animation-inspired indie-feature “CharacterZ”

A movie in which the protagonist’s goal is getting to CalArts is unique, as is one about life as a costumed theme park character. Either makes CharacterZ worth a look.

The indie comedy, which premieres this week on various digital platforms, stars former teen star Mitchel Musso as an aspiring animator whose parents’ bankruptcy keeps him in Central Florida, where he gets a job as a costumed character at a modest theme park on 192 (most of the film was shot at the venerable Old Town park on Highway 192 in Kissimmee.)

What follows has the oddball feel of Napoleon Dynamite with the animated daydreams of the classic series My World and Welcome To It. Hand-drawn animation was created to punctuate the artist’s experiences.



THE SCOOP ON PANELS at SDCC 2016: One Girl’s Story of Building Panels Celebrating Women, Diversity, and Wisdom in Animation

It has only been a few months since I started writing for Animation Scoop, and even a shorter time since I’ve had my own column Animation Insights. On the other hand, I’ve been planning my panels at Comic-Con International: San Diego this year almost since my return flight landed last July. Still, as the moderator and creator of two animation-specific panels, I chose to describe myself as Leslie Combemale of Animation Scoop.


When I first started creating panels for SDCC over ten years ago, part of the plan was to expanded awareness of my art gallery ArtInsights. Of course having titles like Superstars of 60s Cartoons, Looney Tunes Legacy, and Disney Animators: The Power of 2D in a 3D World clearly positioned me as someone who wanted to educate fans and promote artists as well, and that was true! I also love giving a platform to the wealth of knowledge many aging animators and animation professionals carry from there fascinating and phenomenal careers. A funny thing, though, while Jerry Beck (now my editor and colleague at Animation Scoop) attended the panels, he later told me he discarded my title and never even looked up my gallery. While people often wrote me emails and came up to me to thank me for the panels, it certainly never led to any more clients for my gallery.