EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Animation has set Jimmy Miller’s Mosaic and Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Productions on Manimal, the feature based on the cult 1980s TV show about a man who fights crime using his ability to morph into animals. Miller, Ferrell, and McKay will produce along with original series co-creator Glen A. Larson, and Key & Peele EPs Jay Martel and Ian Roberts already have been tapped to write.
The original 1983 series starred Simon MacCorkindale as Dr. Jonathan Chase, a dashing and wealthy man raised in Africa who was also “master of the secrets that divide man from animal.” It was cancelled after eight episodes, only to live on in the hearts of a devoted cult fandom (flash back with a clip from Manimal below). Sony Pictures Animation’s live-action/animation hybrid will reinvent that concept as an action-comedy with heavy visual effects and animated elements. SPA President of Production Michelle Raimo Kouyate and SVP Michael Lachance are overseeing for the studio. Read More »
File this one under winning ugly. Sony Pictures Animation has swung at a pitch for Medusa from Todd Alcott and Holly Golden. Lauren Faust is set to direct a comedic origins take on the hair-o’-snakes woman from Greek mythology who was so hideous that her mere gaze could turn kings to stone. Alcott and Golden wrote the recent thriller The Occupants, and the former also penned DreamWorks Animation’s first film Antz. “I was excited by the idea of showing the comedy behind an otherwise horrific monster, and I was really drawn to the writer’s unique re-imagining of Greek mythology,” Faust said. “In our story, we meet Medusa as a young human, who, like so many of us, is overwhelmed with trying to fit a certain mold to please others.” SPA President of Production Michelle Raimo Kouyate will supervise production along with Jenny Marchick and Daniel Inkeles. The studio credits include the Smurfs and Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs films.
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. Read More »
Sony releases the sequel September 27 after the first one in 2009 grossed $243 million globally. Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Neil Patrick Harris, Terry Crews, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Kristen Schaal, and James Caan do the voice honors for Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2. This one’s been scripted by John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein and Erica Rivinoja after Phil Lord and Chris Miller wrote and directed the first one — they have since moved on to features like 21 Jump Street and the upcoming Lego movie for Warner Bros. Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn direct this sequel.
Here’s a new trailer for Sony Pictures Animation‘s The Smurfs 2, a sequel to 2011′s The Smurfs. Directed by Raja Gosnell, the second film in the franchise finds the Smurfs teaming with their human friends to rescue Smurfette from the evil sorcerer Gargamel. The cast includes Neil Patrick Harris, Sofia Vergara and Christina Ricci. It’s set for release on July 31,2013.
EXCLUSIVE: Kelly Asbury is in negotiations to direct Kazorn & The Unicorn for Sony Pictures Animation. Asbury co-wrote and directed 2011 Gnomeo and Juliet for Disney and co-directed Shrek 2 in 2004. Kazorn & the Unicorn follows the adventures of a young man and a unicorn as he seeks to locate a powerful weapon and prove his worth to his true love. Lloyd Taylor is writing the Unicorn screenplay. Sam Raimi, Josh Donen and Russell Hollander are producing. Asbury is already scheduled to work with Sony Animation on Pooch Café, which he is writing. Asbury is also scheduled to direct Will Gallows and the Snake Bellied Troll, a live-action/CGI-animated feature for Elton John and David Furnish’s Rocket Pictures. Asbury is repped by UTA and attorney Nancy Newhouse-Porter
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 for animated TV shows Dexter’s Laboratory and others, makes his feature directing debut. Voice cast also features Kevin James as Frankenstein and Cee-Lo Green as the voice of Murray the Mummy. Set to open September 25th:
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 Read More »
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 Grant, Salma Hayek, Jeremy Piven, Imelda Staunton and David Tennant, it opens March 30.
‘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, Read More »
Sony Pictures Worldwide Marketing & Distribution has upped Angela Galgani to SVP Publicity. She will take over day-to-day duties running the New York publicity office, a role previously held by Gigi Semone, who departed in September. The new tasks include overseeing the New York staff and developing East Coast-based PR campaigns for Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation releases. Her current workload includes The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, 21 Jump Street, The Pirates! Band Of Misfits, Men in Black 3, I Hate You Dad, and The Amazing Spider-Man, among others. She previously was VP Publicity and started at Sony Pictures as an intern in 1997.
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.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Chad Damiani and JP Lavin have just been hired to adapt How To Survive A Garden Gnome Attack for Robert Zemeckis and his Imagemovers banner. The film is a live action film (the garden gnomes will be animated), based on the Chuck Sambuchino novel, which was optioned by Sony Pictures Animation. Zemeckis and his ImageMovers partners Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey are producing with The Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Eric Robinson. The book is a survival guide, preparing the homeowner on the off chance the lawn ornaments stage a home invasion. The intention is to make an edgy PG-13 version, so the gnomes will be scary. Zemeckis is developing the film as a potential directing vehicle. The scribes’ most recent credit is Max Steel for Paramount and producer Joe Roth, and they adapted the comic book Geronimo for producers Alexandra Milchan and Antonio Moura Santos Jr. The writers are repped by WME and Luber/Roklin.
Miley Cyrus is sinking her teeth into Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania as the voice of Mavis, the teenage daughter of Dracula, Deadline has confirmed. The father of all vampires, played by Adam Sandler, runs the resort of the title for a very specialized clientele — monsters and their families. Tucked away from the world of humans, it’s also convenient for shielding Mavis from the terrors of teen-hood. Additionally David Koechner has taken the role of Quasimodo and David Spade is Griffin the Invisible Man. Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, creator of Cartoon Network’s Dexter’s Laboratory, Hotel Transylvania also has Andy Samberg voicing the human who complicates matters when he stumbles upon the resort, Kevin James as Frank (-enstein), Fran Drescher as Eunice (Frank’s bride), Cee Lo Green (Murray the Mummy) and Steve Buscemi and Molly Shannon as werewolves Wayne and Wanda. Mark Mothersbough is the composer. It’s slated for release September 21, 2012.
Kelly Asbury, who co-wrote and directed Disney’s Gnomeo and Juliet and co-directed Shrek 2, has been hired to write Pooch Cafe for Sony Pictures Animation, the studio announced today. The pic is based on Paul Gilligan’s syndicated comic strip, which features a mutt named Poncho who hangs out at the local Pooch Cafe with his canine pals to discuss the topics of the day. Asbury, repped by UTA and NewhousePorterHubbard, also co-directed the animated Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron. “Kelly’s wit and cinematic sensibility pairs wonderfully with the irreverent characters and wry comedy in the Pooch Café comic strip,” said SPA production president Michelle Raimo-Kouyate, who made the announcement “We’ve been looking for something to do with Kelly, and this was a perfect match.”
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 up his karma rating, and when he does, he moves up the flood chain by becoming such animals as a frog, raccoon and dog. His goal is to redeem himself enough to reclaim his human body and the woman he loves. Shrek and Pirates of the Caribbean scribe Terry Rossio has boarded the project as producer.
Sony Pictures Animation has bought screen rights to the Janet Foxley children’s novel Muncle Trogg. It is the first acquisition made by Michelle Raimo-Kouyate since she joined as president of production. She made the deal with Sony Pictures Digital Productions president Bob Osher. The book is about a fairytale community based inside a volcano, and hidden away from humans. Jane Startz will be exec producer and Kane Lee will be co-producer.
“There are strong characters, relatable themes, a unique world and tons of inherent comedy,” said Raimo-Kouyate. “As soon as I read Muncle Trogg, I knew this would speak to the kinds of animated movies I want to make at Sony Pictures Animation.”
The division most recently released Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs and has The Smurfs coming up with Sony Pictures.