One thing that’s become evident. It’s hard to kill a Smurf. After a sequel that saw its business nosedive next to the original, Sony Pictures Animation is changing course and planning a new take on its Smurfs franchise, tapping Shrek 2 and Gnomeo & Juliet director Kelly Asbury to helm an all-animated film with new designs and environments that will focus on the origins of the annoying blue creatures. The new take will be closer to creator Peyo’s original artwork, and it has been targeted for the August 2015 release. They originally planned a straight trilogy, but apparently they will take a mulligan on a second film which contributed to all the heat Sony Pictures brass received from the likes of Daniel Loeb on a subpar 2013 returns.
Sony Pictures Animation has released a longer theatrical trailer for Hotel Transylvania which features Adam Sandler voicing Dracula and Selena Gomez as his daughter Mavis plus Sandler’s That’s My Boy (ahem) co-star Andy Samberg as an intrusive human who stumbles upon the monster retreat. Genndy Tartakovsky, known …
Aardman Animations is modifying a scene in its upcoming stop-motion 3D pic The Pirates! Band Of Misfits (UK title: The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists) following objections from leprosy groups including Lepra Health In Action and the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ILEP). The swashbuckler is voiced by Hugh Grant, Jeremy Piven, David Tennant, Salma Hayek and others. In a scene in the trailer that was released in December, Grant’s Pirate Captain lands on a ship demanding gold, but is told by a crew member, “Afraid we don’t have any gold old man, this is a leper boat. See,” and with that, his arm falls off. The leprosy orgs were concerned such a scene could increase stigma and discrimination for disease sufferers. An Aardman spokeman gave Deadline the following statement this morning: “After reviewing the matter, we decided to change the scene out of respect and sensitivity for those who suffer from leprosy. The last thing anyone intended was to offend anyone
The latest feature from the UK’s Wallace & Gromit gang Aardman Animations arrives in the US in partnership with Sony Pictures Animation. Directed by Peter Lord and co-directed by Jeff Newitt, the stop-motion 3D adventure is based on books by Gideon Defoe, who also scripted. With the voices of Hugh …
‘Arthur Christmas’ Slays ‘Em In The UK
Sony Pictures Animation and Aardman’s Arthur Christmas jumped to the top of the UK box office this weekend – in its fourth week of release. This bit of holiday magic came courtesy of a £1.9 million weekend take for a cume of £11.5 million. The film has been holding steady in second place since it bowed on November 11 and this weekend faced off against Happy Feet Two for the family audience. Largely positive notices and the British voice cast — including James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton — have no doubt been a local draw. Sony Pictures Releasing UK’s Peter Taylor said: “Opening a movie at No. 1 in such a competitive market as the UK is difficult enough, but to reach the top of the chart in the fourth week of release is almost unprecedented. We are all delighted.”
Tom Hooper Decides Against 3D For ‘Les Miserables’
Although director Tom Hooper flirted with the idea of filming the new movie version of the hit stage musical Les Miserables in 3D, the Oscar-winning helmer of The King’s Speech has decided to stick with 2D. Hooper told the BBC he had been “very tempted” to use 3D but worried that some audiences might “physically struggle” with the format. Not to worry, purists. “I can definitely announce it’s good old-fashioned 2D,” Hooper said at the British Independent Film Awards. “I wanted to make a film that would touch everyone. I believe the story is so strong, 3D is not essential.” Hooper added that the casting of Eponine and Cosette would be announced soon. “I’ve never done a film where big star actors are as obsessed with being in it as this.” Starring Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe as Javert,
Aardman Animations, the UK company behind Wallace & Gromit, may be forced to make its next TV cartoon series in either Ireland or Germany. Miles Bullough, head of broadcast of Bristol-based Aardman, tells me he may have no option but to produce Ploo, Aardman’s latest $3 million-$5 million pre-school animation series, outside of Britain. This is because unlike Canada, France and other countries, there are no UK tax breaks for animated TV. It hopes Chancellor George Osborne, the politician in charge of UK finances, will announce a tax break later this month. Aardman is lobbying for the UK film tax credit — worth 15%-20% of the cost of production — to be extended to children’s animation. The company must decide whether to make Ploo overseas by the end of March. For a company as British as Wensleydale cheese and afternoon tea, it is a decision Bullough hates having to make. “For us to consider moving overseas is wrong, but unless we get a level playing field we will have to consider going,” he said. “Prime Minister David Cameron and arts minister Ed Vaizey both came to visit and gave us a sympathetic hearing, but you never know with politicians.”
Can the guy who gave Saturday Night Live hammy characters including Opera Man and Cajun Man do a credible Dracula? Looks like we’ll find out next year when Sony Pictures Animation releases Hotel Transylvania. The studio that gave us Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs and is about to release The Smurfs has hired Adam Sandler to voice the lead role in the family comedy. Kevin James, Fran Drescher, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, Cee Lo Green and Andy Samberg also have been cast. Here’s the announcement:
CULVER CITY, Calif. (July 5, 2011) – Adam Sandler will voice the lead role of Dracula in Sony Pictures Animation’s 3D family comedy Hotel Transylvania, it was announced today by Bob Osher, president, Sony Pictures Digital Productions, and Michelle Raimo-Kouyate, president of production, Sony Pictures Animation. The film will be released on September 21, 2012, by Columbia Pictures.
The film will be directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, a star in the animation community, well-known for his work on Samurai Jack, Star Wars: Clone Wars, and “Dexter’s Laboratory”; he recently conceptualized and storyboarded the final action sequence for Iron Man 2 and provided the stylish and memorable prologue for the film Priest. The film is produced by Michelle Murdocca (Open Season, Stuart Little 1 & 2) and the animation is by Sony Pictures Imageworks.
Sony Animation has picked up Instant Karma, a live action/CGI project previously at New Line. Paul Hernandez wrote the script and will direct. The plot: a misguided safecracker from New Orleans survives a near-death experience only to find himself reincarnated as a fly. He needs to perform good deeds to …
The Sony Pictures Animation 3D toon had been set for wide release on Wednesday, Aug. 3, but the studio today shifted it up in the calendar to the Friday before. The moves comes after Fox on Tuesday moved its prequel Rise of the Apes to Aug. 5, where it …
The latest trailer for Sony’s 3D movie, which premieres Aug. 3