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Briefly: Last fall, Warner Bros. Pictures jostled around the dates for The LEGO Movie Sequel as well as the spin-offs Ninjago and LEGO Batman, but now they've been shaken up yet again. The biggest change is that Ninjago has been pushed back a year to a September 22nd, 2017 release date. Meanwhile, LEGO Batman has been moved up to February 10th 2017, a few months earlier than the previous May release date, and The LEGO Movie Sequel has been bumped up by a week to a May 18th, 2018 release. That means we'll be waiting awhile before we get more LEGO action on the big screen but hopefully it'll be worth it.
"Promise me something - that we'll remain a secret, forever." GKids has released a new trailer for Studio Ghibli's When Marnie Was There, the studio's last feature film for the time being that opened in Japan last year. From Hiromasa Yonebayashi, director of Secret World of Arrietty, based on Joan G. Robinson's children's book, When Marnie Was There is a tender, beautiful ghost story of friendship and understanding. The English version of the film (which this is a trailer for) comes with voices from Hailee Steinfeld, Kiernan Shipka, John C. Reilly, Vanessa Williams, Geena Davis, Kathy Bates, Ellen Burstyn, Catherine O’Hara, Grey Griffin, Ava Acres and Raini Roodriguez. I still recommend the Japanese version, but both will be available. I recently saw this film and it's quite charming, but not as fantastic as any of Ghibli's past work. Take a look.
Late last year, DreamWorks Animation decided to move the sequel Kung Fu Panda 3 from a late release this year, to a spring release in 2016. However, it sounds like the animation studio and their new distribution partner 20th Century Fox want to give it some more room to breathe away from Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, because THR reports they've bumped it up a couple months to a release on January 29th, 2016. That's a terrible release month, but that means this movie should have no problem performing well at the box office, which is exactly what the struggling DreamWorks Animation needs now.
Over a year ago, we got word that Pixar Animation was officially planning to make The Incredibles 2 after over 10 years of waiting (so far). However, director Brad Bird has been busy with this summer's sci-fi adventure Tomorrowland, so there hasn't really been any update on the progress of the film. Well, that changed recently when Bird was asked about the sequel while appearing on NPR (via The Playlist) , and his update was short and sweet, "I’m just staring to write it, so we’ll see what happens." That likely means he's just now starting to focus on the film full time, but has been thinking about and working on the idea awhile.
There's undoubtedly a whole bunch of Star Wars coming our way, especially now that Disney has control over the Lucasfilm property. The studio has already unleashed an animated series on Disney XD called "Star Wars Rebels" and there's plans for a whole Star Wars world to invade Disney theme parks. But now some fans at Big Bee Studio have put together a trailer for an animated feature that would take the style of Pixar's Cars and Planes and apply it to the vehicles of Star Wars with a little project called X-Wings. I'm not gonna lie, this feels like something that would appeal to the young crowd of Star Wars fans. Watch!
"I am a prisoner. My crime? Poetry." After debuting at the Cannes Film Festival last year, the animated drama The Prophet is finally coming to the United States this year. Based on the book of prose and poems of the same name, the film features the voices of Liam Neeson, Salma Hayek, Quvenzhané Wallis, John Krasinski, Frank Langella, Alfred Molina and more, along with a myriad of animation styles to bring the friendship between a little girl and an imprisoned poet to life. Bill Plympton, Joann Sfar and more lend their animation expertise to the film that looks absolutely beautiful and breathtaking. Watch!
Last year, director Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir) brought the ambitious live-action, animated hybrid film The Congress to the big screen, and now he's doing something else innovative with animation for his next project. Folman is currently working on an animated drama that tells the story of Anne Frank with a blend of stop-motion and traditional 2D animation. The filmmaker is using stop-motion backgrounds while the characters themselves are 2D animated. The film has been in production since last winter, and now we have some photos showing off the style of the film along with some behind the scenes shots. Look!
If you're a fan of the 1960s TV series adaptation of Batman, and you've been wanting to see Adam West and Burt Ward back in action as The Caped Crusader and The Boy Wonder, we've got good news. West and Ward will be back as Batman and Robin, but this time they'll be animated. Consequence of Sound (via SlashFilm) reports that the Mad Monster Party convention in Charlotte, North Carolina had a panel with Adam West and Burt Ward where they two stars of the original series revealed they'll be lending their voices to an animated feature film with the 60s versions of the DC Comics superheroes back in action. Read on!
If the live-action and computer animation hybrid adaptation of The Smurfs just didn't do anything for you, then you might be happy to hear that Sony Pictures Animation has a fully animated reboot on the way. We heard rumblings of this project last year, and at the time, the film was supposed to arrive sometime this year. However, Variety reports Sony has no set a release date for March 31st, 2017, with an eye towards being a popular film when Easter arrives on April 16th that year. This will be entirely animated, much more in tune with the original style of Peyo's artwork, something that was missing from the previous films.
There's a lot of Star Wars fan films out there, so it takes some pretty impressive work in order for people to turn their heads and actually check one out every now and then. Well, it looks like animator Paul Johnson's anime short TIE Fighter is one of those films. Johnson has spent the last four years making this short film that takes a look at a space battle from the point-of-view of the Galactic Empire, making some of the pilots in the iconic ships actual characters as opposed to just faceless soldiers. As someone who's not really a fan of anime (I don't dislike it, just not my thing), this is still an impressive piece of work.
Every year at the Academy Awards, there are always a number of delightful surprises in the Shorts sections – between both animation and live-action. While I do love Patrick Osborne's Feast, which won the Oscar for Best Animated Short, the other four nominees are just as worthy. One of those other nominees is a short called The Dam Keeper, made by two former Pixar employees (Robert Kondo & Daisuke Tsutsumi) who started their own studio called Tonko House. While their animated short didn't win, it is still worth watching, and the good news is that the characters have been given a chance to continue beyond the short. Tonko has licensed rights to make two graphic novels at First Second, and expand the story into a feature.
Last fall brought some test footage from Sony Pictures Animation's adaptation of the classic cartoon Popeye. "Dexter's Laboratory" and "Samurai Jack" creator Genndy Tartakovsky has been attached to this film since 2012, and it's been expected in theaters sometime in 2016. But now it sounds like the film might be in trouble as Tartakovsky has delivered some bad news. It sounds like the Tartakovsky isn't working on the film anymore, as he spoke with Moviefone on the status of the project and revealed that due to some changes at the studio itself, they may not be interested in the kind of Popeye he wanted to make.
Even though co-directors Jennifer Lee & Chris Buck recently revealed they have no idea what to do for a sequel to their hit animated musical Frozen, that's not stopping Disney from officially announcing Frozen 2. Hot on the heels of news of the release for Star Wars: Episode VIII and the title of the first Star Wars spin-off, Disney also made development of the sequel official when Disney CEO Bob Iger, John Lasseter and the film's co-star Josh Gad announced the news at a shareholders meeting today. However, at this point, there's no word on a release date, story or anything like that; Disney is creating early hype. Read on!
We've still got a couple years before Toy Story 4 hits theaters on June 16th, 2017, but since animated movies require a lot of hard work over a long period of time, Pixar Animation is moving right along on crafting the feature film. When the project was announced last fall, the original film's director and Pixar COO John Lasseter was revealed to direct, but now the animation powerhouse has announced that Inside Out head of story Josh Cooley will join Lasseter as co-director on the sequel. Cooley started from the bottom as an intern in the story department on Cars, and look where he's at now. That's pretty amazing.