Animation Scoop – Animated News, Reviews and Commentary

TEASER #1: Pixar’s “The Incredibles 2”

Everyone’s favorite family of superheroes is back in Incredibles 2 – but this time Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is in the spotlight, leaving Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell) and Dash (voice of Huck Milner) to navigate the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life. It’s a tough transistion for everyone, made tougher by the fact that the family is still unaware of baby Jack-Jack’s emerging superpowers. When a new villain hatches a brilliant and dangerous plot, the family and Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) must find a way to work together again—which is easier said than done, even when they’re all Incredible.

Directed by Brad Bird (Iron Giant, The Incredibles) and produced by John Walker (“The Incredibles”) and Nicole Grindle (“Sanjay’s Super Team” short, “Toy Story 3” associate producer), “Incredibles 2” will bust into theaters on June 15th, 2018. The teaser just dropped:

INTERVIEW: “Big Hero 6: The Series” Director Nick Filippi

Disney’s Big Hero 6 won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2015. Big Hero 6: The Series gets its launch this Monday November 20th at 8pm on Disney Channel and Disney XD with the one-hour movie “Baymax Returns.” Animation veteran Nick Filippi is the series’ executive producer and supervising director.

Jackson Murphy: “Baymax Returns” picks-up immediately after the end of the movie. So how soon after the film was released were there talks about turning this film into a TV series?

Nick Filippi: It was actually discussed right around the release of the film – actually right after it came out. My co-producers Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley were contacted, they were here already at Disney, and a discussion came up about ‘hey – how would you guys feel about pursuing this project?’ And they were very excited about it. When they told me, I got very excited about it.

TRAILER: “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation”

Even monsters need a vacation. In Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, our favorite monster family embark on a vacation on a luxury monster cruise ship so Drac can take a summer vacation. Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, and written by Tartakovsky and Michael McCullers, the film reunites its stellar voice cast with Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, Keegan-Michael Key, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Asher Blinkoff, and Mel Brooks. It’s due for theatrical release on July 13th, 2018, via Columbia Pictures.

Women In Animation Awards Two Recipients with Craig Scholarships

Women in Animation (WIA) is pleased to announce Heather Forlong and Esther Tejano as the recipients of 2017 Phyllis Craig Scholarships. Established in 1997 to honor the legacy of WIA founding member Phyllis Craig, this is the first time this annual scholarship has been awarded to two student artists in a single academic year.

“I am always amazed at the wide range of interest in this scholarship,” says the Head of WIA’s Scholarship Committee, Barb Cimity. “Applicants come from schools all over the country pursuing many interests including visual development, animation and storyboarding. Extraordinary talent is coming out of these institutions, and every year we are constantly challenged to pick just one winner. The task this year was particularly formidable, so WIA decided to grant the scholarship to two incredible women who each uniquely demonstrate a passion for animation and a promise for the future.”

Esther Tejano (left) and Heather Forlong (right)

TRAILER: Animated Documentary “1917 – The Real October”

I love unique and diverse uses of animation to tell stories – and in recent years we’ve seen the rise of the feature length animated documentary – a genre that uses animation to its best advantage. Here’a trailer from a new such film, from German filmmaker Katrin Rothe. 1917 – The Real October tells the story of the Russian Revolution, set in the heart of St. Petersburg, detailing the fall of the Tsar to the Bolsheviks seizing power. The film, currently on the festival circuit, animates cuttings and puppets with silkscreen decorations, drawings and paintings, not to mention images from the archives. Here’s the trailer:

Dreamworks Animation Launches “Dreamworks Shorts”

DreamWorks Animation Film Group has officially announced the formation of DREAMWORKS SHORTS, with “Bird Karma,” directed by William Salazar, serving as the first animated short film to emerge from program. “Bird Karma” stems from an original idea that Salazar conceived of years ago. “Bird Karma” will make its theatrical debut on the front of DreamWorks Animation’s bow of The Boss Baby in Japan this spring, and will also be featured in selected festivals in the U.S. and around the globe.

The studio also unveiled its new logo today, which will umbrella all units at the studio – and most notably removes the “SKG” from the company masthead:


At 27, Arata Kaizaki (voice by Micah Solusod), the central character of the school comedy ReLIFE (2016), is a NEET: An acronym that stands for Not in Education, Employment or Training. The term is generally applied to young men who are seen as not contributing to the Japanese economy—or much of anything else.

Although he completed grad school, Kaizaki quit his first full-time job after only three months—something unheard-of in the Japanese business world. He works part-time in a convenience store and lies about how hard he’s laboring to advance his career to his few remaining friends. His parents have been underwriting his expenses, but they’ve announced they’re not supporting him any longer.

26 Animated Features Submitted For The 2017 Oscar Race

Just announced this morning, the twenty-six features that have been submitted for consideration in the Animated Feature Film category for the 90th Academy Awards.

The submitted features, listed in alphabetical order, are:

“The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales”
“Birdboy: The Forgotten Children”
“The Boss Baby”
“The Breadwinner”
“Captain Underpants The First Epic Movie”
“Cars 3”
“Cinderella the Cat”
“Despicable Me 3”
“The Emoji Movie”
“Ethel & Ernest”
“The Girl without Hands”
“In This Corner of the World”
“The Lego Batman Movie”
“The Lego Ninjago Movie”
“Loving Vincent”
“Mary and the Witch’s Flower”
“Moomins and the Winter Wonderland”
“My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea”
“Napping Princess”
“A Silent Voice”
“Smurfs: The Lost Village”
“The Star”
“Sword Art Online: The Movie – Ordinal Scale”
“Window Horses The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming”




Checklist of Animated Features Slated for U.S. Release for 2017

1. YU-GI-OH! DARK SIDE OF DIMENSIONS (1/27/16) Screen Vision Media. D: Satoshi Kuwabara.

2. THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE (2/10/17) Warner Bros. D: Chris McCay.

3. ROCK DOG (2/26/17) Summit. D: Ash Brannon.

4. THE BOSS BABY (3/31/17) Dreamworks-20th Century Fox. D: Tom McGrath.

5. SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE (4/7/17) Sony. D: Kelly Asbury.


7. SPARK: A SPACE TAIL (4/14/17) Open Road. D: Aaron Woodley

8. ANIMAL CRACKERS (4/21/17) D: Tony Bancroft, Scott Christian Sava.

9. CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS (6/2/17) Dreamworks. D: David Soren.

10. CARS 3 (6/16/17) Disney-Pixar. D: Brian Fee

11. DESPICABLE ME 3 (6/30/17) Universal (Illumination). D: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin, Eric Guillon.

12. THE GIRL WITH NO HANDS (7/21/17) GKids. D: Sébastien Laudenbach

13. THE EMOJI MOVIE (7/28/17) Sony. D: Tony Leondis.

14. BLAZING SAMURAI (8/4/17) Open Road. D: Chris Bailey, Mark Koetsier.

15. IN THIS CORNER OF THE WORLD (8/11/17) Shout! Factory/Funimation. D: Sunao Katabuch.

16. THE NUT JOB 2: NUTTY BY NATURE (8/11/17) D: Cal Brunker.

17. LEAP! (8/25/17) The Weinstein Company. D: Eric Summer, Éric Warin.

18. NAPPING PRINCESS (9/8/17) GKids. D: Kenji Kamiyama.

19. ANIMAL CRACKERS (9/21/17) Blue Dream Studios. D: Scott Christian Sava, Tony Bancroft.

20. THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE (9/22/17) Warner Bros. D: Charlie Bean.

21. LOVING VINCENT (09/22/17) Good Deed Entertainment. D: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman.

22. WINDOW HORSES (09/29/17) National Film Board of Canada. D: Ann Marie Fleming.

23. MY LITTLE PONY THE MOVIE (10/6/17) The Weinstein Company. D: Jayson Thiessen.

24. BIRDBOY: THE FORGOTTEN CHILDREN Gkids. (Release date TBA). D: Alberto Vázquez and Pedro Rivero.

25. THE STAR (11/10/17) Columbia Pictures. D: Timothy Reckart

26. COCO (11/22/17) Disney-Pixar. D: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina.

27. FERDINAND (12/15/17) 20th Century-Fox (Blue Sky). D: Carlos Saldanha.

28. THE BREADWINNER Gkids. (Release date TBA). D: Nora Twomey.

NOTES: 2017 Limited-release theatricals (movies going Direct-to-Video (DVD, VOD but getting a theatrical billboard) began this year with ONE PIECE FILM: GOLD, directed by Hiroaki Miyamoto, on January 10th via Funimation. Studio Ghibli’s 1993 TV movie OCEAN WAVES, directed by Tomomi Mochizuki, got a U.S. theatrical release via Gkids on January 13th. Similarly, the 1993 anime feature SAILOR MOON R THE MOVIE, directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara, was also a limited U.S. release by Eleven Arts on the same date, January 13th (in Los Angeles at the Theater in the Ace Hotel). Denmark’s 2010 feature THE TROUBLE WITH TERKEL was given a token theatrical run in several U.S. cities on February 3rd, via Indican Pictures. BUNYAN AND BABE, directed by Tony Bancroft and Jim Rygiel, was given a limited NY/LA theatrical release by Cinedigm on February 3rd. Fathom Events, ELEVEN ARTS, and Aniplex held a one night theatrical for SWORD ART ONLINE THE MOVIE: ORDINAL SCALE, directed by Tomohiko Itō, on March 9th. Viva Pictures opened Spanish family film OZZY, directed by Alberto Rodríguez and Nacho La Casa, on April 21st. GKids and Fathom Events did a one-day 350 theatre nationwide release of MUNE: GUARDIAN OF THE MOON, Directed by Benoît Philippon and Alexandre Heboyan, on Saturday, August 12th. Warner Bros. and Fathom Events presented a one-night nationwide cinema screening of BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN on August 14th. Lionsgate theatrically released DEEP, directed by Julio Soto Gurpide, on August 25th. Viva Pictures released the Mexican made TOP CAT BEGINS, directed by Andrés Couturier, on September 29th. Fathom Events released the anime feature NO GAME NO LIFE ZERO, directed by Ishizuka Atsuko, for nationwide theatre screenings on October 5th and 8th. Eleven Arts released A SILENT VOICE: THE MOVIE (directed by Naoka Yamada) on October 20th. Fathom Events released POKEMON THE MOVIE: I CHOOSE YOU, directed by Kunihiko Yuyamait, on November 5th.

Click for more information on 2016 animated feature releases – and for further information on all U.S. Animated Feature releases since 1937 Click Here.

INTERVIEW: Director Timothy Reckart talks “The Star”

Sony’s The Star, which opens nationally on November 17th, marks the feature film directorial debut of Timothy Reckart, who earned an Oscar nomination in 2013 for his animated short Head Over Heels.

Jackson Murphy: This is the story of the Nativity from the animals’ point of view. Was it just a random thought one day, “We’ve never heard what the animals think about all of this”?

Timothy Reckart: The funny thing is – this script has been at some level of existence since the late 90s, actually. It’s been at the Henson company. I think it developed at the wake of “Babe” because it was originally developed for live-action. So I think the idea was to kind of do a “Babe”-style live-action movie of Christmas from the point of view of the animals.

But when I first encountered it, obviously much more recently than that, I was really struck by it because I thought, “Oh my gosh, how has this movie not been made yet. It seems so obvious because these animal characters are part of everyone’s Nativity set. They’ve always been there but no one has made the movie about what their side of the story was. So I was really excited to be part of a movie that just fits so naturally into the imagery that we already have of Christmas. And that also presents an opportunity to do it in a fresh way that we’ve never seen before, which is great for a story that everyone’s heard a million times.

Audrey Diehl Joins Warner Bros. Animation as VP of Series

Audrey Diehl has joined the creative team at Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) and has been named Vice President, Series. The announcement was made today by Sam Register, President, Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Digital Series. Reporting to Register, Diehl will develop new animated programming for the Studio and will also oversee select current shows for the family audience.

In this role, Diehl will have wide-ranging oversight of creative and production matters for animated content, from initial outline to finished episode. She will be charged with finding original material as well as identifying properties from the Warner Bros. collection to develop for animated series aimed at families. She will collaborate with existing creative talent already working at the Studio and will also spearhead the search for new writers, producers and artists for future development. Diehl will also serve as programming executive for select current WBA series.

TRAILER: Aardman’s “Early Man”

Set at the dawn of time, when dinosaurs and wooly mammoths roamed the earth, Early Man tells the story of how one plucky caveman unites his tribe against a mighty enemy and saves the day! Prioduced by Aardman Animation, directed by Nick Park and starring Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams and Timothy Spall. The trailer dropped today – and I can’t wait. It opens in the US on February 18th, 2018. Take a look:

TRAILER: Sony Animation’s “Peter Rabbit”

Here’s a good look at Sony Animation’s feature adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s classic tale of a rebellious rabbit – Peter Rabbit. James Corden voices ‘Peter’, with Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie and Sam Neill heading a voice cast for director (formerly known primarily as a live action director/producer) Will Gluck.

Gluck is producing the film along with Zareh Nalbandian of Animal Logic. Sony will release on February 9th 2018.

TRAILER: MGM/Paramount’s “Sherlock Gnomes”

The beloved garden gnomes from Gnomeo and Juliet are back for a whole new mystery adventure in London. Directed by John Stevenson (Kung Fu Panda) this action-packed sequel features the voices of returning cast, James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Stephen Merchant and Ozzy Osbourne, plus Johnny Depp as Sherlock Gnomes, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Watson and Mary J. Blige as Irene.

It’s a MGM/Paramount co-production – Paramount will release it in the US on March 23rd. Here’s our first look: