Animation Scoop – Animated News, Reviews and Commentary
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ANIME REVIEW: “Shonen Hollywood: Holly Stage for 49”

The Japanese pop music industry is famous–or infamous–for manufacturing pop groups that become the flavor of the month, then quickly fade from view. Shonen Hollywood: Holly Stage for 49 (2014) offers a mildly upbeat look at the phenomenon.

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On The Manufactured Rivalry Between Disney And Pixar

Ever since both animation studios were joined under the same corporate umbrella, there has been a fair degree of rampant speculation over which studio has been the ‘better’ of the two. The existence of a rivalry between the two may be real, but the extent to which it is pedaled borders on the obscene.

In an article for Fast Company entitled Disney And Pixar Fight To Rule The Mouse House, Nicole LaPorte attempts to outline the reasons why the two studios are seemingly in competition with one another for the title of the ‘best’ animation studio. Far from alone in its vaunted quest to analyze the Disney-Pixar relationship, the article nonetheless plays on the notion that both studios are locked in an epic quest to be crowned the king. Disney for it’s part has its heritage and library of films, while Pixar has its technological prowess and string of smash hits.

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Women In Animation “Storyboarding Secrets” Panel June 28th

Many who frequent Animation Scoop are aware of the great work that Women in Animation is doing. Apart from the initiative at the cornerstone of their work to create gender equality in the animation industry, reaching “50-50 by 2025”, they strive to educate women all stages of their careers. To that end, they host a variety of panels, events, and gatherings, from which many aspiring animators, and those working inside the studio already benefit.

Former events include ‘What is a Show Runner, Anyway?’ And both Zootopia and Kung Fu Panda 3 screenings and panel discussions. (see their past events here). Even if you aren’t a member of the animation profession, you can still take part. Most of their L.A.-based events are open to non-members for a small entrance fee, on a first-come first-served basis. The next event is Storyboarding Secrets on June 28th, and for fans, it sounds like a great way to get an insider’s look at how some of their favorite animation is built from the ground up.

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Sony Pictures Animation Announces 2017 & 2018 Slate

Sony Pictures Animation formerly announced today its 2017/2018 slate – which includes five theatrical features, three television series and one direct-to-video movie – moves signaling an expansion of its output and increased year-round production across multiple platforms.

Among the news in today’s announcement: Genndy Tartavakosky will be returning to direct 2018’s Hotel Transylvania 3; Bob Persichetti will make his feature directorial debut on the Phil Lord & Chris Miller animated Spider-Man feature; and Sony Pictures Animation will partner with Ivan Reitman and his production company Ghost Corp on the 2018 animated television series Ghostbusters: Ecto Force. Also, a Hotel Transylvania: The Television Series will air on Disney Channels worldwide in 2017.

Complete press release with further details follow.

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Animation Block Party UPDATE: “Pink Panther” Tribute on July 31st

This classic cartoon showcase will feature a selection of Pink Panther shorts spanning two decades of feline animation from Friz Freleng and Hawley Pratt. Featured cartoons include Dial “P” for Pink, Super Pink and a tribute to the Panther theme music, Pink, Plunk, Plink, which features a cameo by composer Henry Mancino.

The screening is at BAMcinématek and will include a special introduction from yours truly, Jerry Beck, the author of Pink Panther: The Ultimate Guide to the Coolest Cat in Town.

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FIRST PEEK: Disney’s New Short “Inner Workings”

Screening today in Annecy is the latest short from Disney Animation Studios – Inner Workings (aka on screen as Inner Workings Of The Human Body).

First-time director Leo Matsuda (story artist for Big Hero 6, Wreck-It Ralph) vividly illustrates of the internal struggle between a man’s pragmatic, logical side and his free-spirited, adventurous half – in a unique, fast-paced style that blends CG and traditional hand-drawn animation.

The 6 1/2 minute short will debut stateside on Nov. 23th, 2016, in front of Disney’s Moana.

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Felix Massie’s “Rain Or Shine” Is The Latest From ‘Google Spotlight Stories’

Attendees at Annecy this week got a sneak preview of Google Spotlight Stories and Nexus Animation Studios’ collaboration, Rain or Shine, directed by London based animator and children’s book author Felix Massie.

Due to launch officially on YouTube and the GSS App later this summer, we have a new trailer that dropped online today to whet our appetite:

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TRAILER #2: Warner Bros. “Storks”

Here’s our latest, and best, look at the first film from the new Warner Bros. Feature Animation brain trust (or as they call it, “think tank”). Storks is directed by Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland, and written by Stoller, based on his own idea and developed by Warner Bros. Animation under the Warner Animation Group banner – and stars Andy Samberg, Jennifer Aniston, Kelsey Grammar, Ty Burrell, Keegan Michael Key, Jordan Peele and Danny Trejo. Storks flies into in theaters on September 23rd.

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Finding Advancement in “FINDING DORY”: An Interview with producer Lindsey Collins

Finding Dory, which is releasing nationwide this weekend, has a number of filmmakers involved who have a long history with the characters, having worked on Finding Nemo in 2003. The many advancements in technology in animation since then make it feel like an old classic, but the fans and filmmakers alike have a strong connection to the characters and anticipation is high for the new release.

Leslie Combemale of Animation Scoop talked to producer Lindsey Collins about new developments that have allowed new possibilities in story and design, how new characters were developed, her love of her job, and how excited she is to see women in ever-expanded roles in animation:

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Forget ‘Finding Dory’ – The Sequel You Secretly Really Want Could be on the Way!

Yes, barely two months since it was first announced that Universal bought Dreamworks, comes the news we’ve been clinging to the edge of our chairs for: Shrek is coming back! It’s still only a possibility at this stage, but even that remains worrisome.

The entertainment business has a bad reputation for flogging horses until they’re beyond dead, not simply because they can, but because even dead horses still make money. Shrek is one such horse and despite being innovative, humorous, and entertaining back in the early years of the 21st century, by the time the final installment was released in 2010 (a mere six years ago,) it was patently obvious to everyone that the property was well passed its sell by date.

Even DreamWorks themselves admitted as much and while there was a spinoff of Puss in Boots, it seemed that Shrek was finally put out to the pasture where he and Donkey belonged.

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Sony Pictures Classics Dates “The Red Turtle” for Nov. 18th US Release

Any excuse I can use to post more clips from The Red Turtle – the highly anticipated first feature from animator Michaël Dudok de Wit – I’ll take! Co-produced by Studio Ghibli and screening this week at Annecy, the film was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics at Cannes (where it won a special jury prize) – and it now has a U.S. release date: November 18th.

Does it have a shot at the Oscar? Check out the clips below and see why everyone is excited about it:

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AWARDS WATCH 2016

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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.

9. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS (6/3/16) Paramount. D:Dave Green.

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

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

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

22. 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.

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Directors Byron Howard & Rich Moore Talk “Zootopia” On Blu-Ray

If you didn’t know that Byron Howard (Tangled, Bolt) and Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph, The Simpsons) were directors of one of this year’s biggest movie hits, you might think they were a successful comedy team. The chemistry between the two is evident in the bonus features on the new Zootopia Blu-ray (on sale now) and in the repartee to follow. But between the lines, there’s always a sense of artistry and integrity to their approach to classic Disney storytelling.

zootopia-blu-ray_200gGREG EHRBAR: I enjoyed your comedy stylings. It must have been a lot of laughs working on Zootopia, as well as half a decade of work.

BYRON HOWARD: A sense of humor always helps.

RICH MOORE: I think that’s a good rule for life.

BYRON: It’s a good crew and we all love this place. They can ask crazy things of us on these films, so you have to have a good sense of humor to survive. Animation, in general, is a crazy business, as you know.

GREG: The Blu-ray extras go into a lot of detail about the early versions of Zootopia, especially the concept of a “1984” society where predators were made to wear “tame collars.”

BYRON: The spy movie idea preceded the 1984 story, with the collars, when I pitched the movie to John Lasseter about five years ago. We knew it was going to be an all-animal world. I love spy movies, like the Bond films, so I kept pitching this. Rich and the rest of the Story Trust would hear these pitches and John would, too. They were saying that the spy thing had been done a lot lately, but what was really interesting was the first act, which takes place in the all-animal city. They said, “What if you took that first act and just made it the whole film?