Animated Movies

Spirited Away

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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You would think that toymaker Hasbro and their various movie-making partners would have learned their lesson after the less than stellar box office performance of Battleship. That lesson being, nobody wants to see a movie about an inanimate object that has no pre-established characters, stories, or mythology. Clearly no lesson has been learned, however, because a press release put out by Sony Pictures today brings us just about the worst news ever. It seems that Sony is teaming up with Hasbro and Adam Sandler’s production company Happy Madison to bring us an animated feature version of Tonka trucks. Yes, you read that right: Adam Sandler’s buddies are going to make a movie about plastic toy trucks. Seeing as Sony is already in the process of developing feature films for other Hasbro properties like Risk and Candy Land, the fact that a toy truck movie is going to be coming our way soon shouldn’t come as a surprise, but somehow it still stings. Let’s let the president of Sony Pictures Digital Productions, Bob Osher, try to sell us on the project, and see if that helps. Osher says, “In its 65 years, TONKA has become more than a toy or a brand – TONKA trucks are a rite of passage for kids all around the world. Time spent with these toys creates memories that last a lifetime as kids are inspired to play using the boundaries of their imagination. We look forward to creating a family friendly motion picture that brings […]

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Seeing as he’s largely built his entire career on doing stupid voices, it’s kind of strange that Adam Sandler hasn’t done more voice work. It seems like working in animation would work well with his approach to acting, which basically consists of showing up on set wearing shorts and a hoodie, and then looking into the camera and yelling something like “gobbledy-goo!” Give the man something more appealing to work with than 8 Crazy Nights, and animated movies could be the perfect way to utilize his talents. It’s probably too early to go jumping to conclusions, but the new trailer for Hotel Transylvania shows some indication that this might be that material. The big thing that Hotel Transylvania has going for it is that it was directed by the great Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Star Wars: Clone Wars), and if this new ad is any indication, that’s going to translate into a lot of impressive visuals and attention to detail. The Gothic scenery here is certainly more pleasant to look at than the wall-to-wall product placement that we get in most Sandler movies, so that’s going to put this head and shoulders above something like Just Go With It right out of the gate. And somehow, hearing Sandler do a goofy Dracula voice alongside animated visuals is so much easier to digest than hearing him do a goofy lady voice while dressed in drag was in Jack & Jill.

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Paramount didn’t used to have to make their own animated movies, mostly because they had a deal in place where they handled the distribution of all the movies made by DreamWorks Animation. But that all ended when DreamWorks started looking for a new partner to both buy their company and handle the distribution end of things. Rather than work out a new, riskier deal, Paramount decided they were just going to cut their ties with DreamWorks Animation and form a new wing of their own company called Paramount Animation. You know, with the intention of animating things. This has been in the planning stages for a while now, and it’s looking like Paramount Animation is ready to make their first movie. At a recent investor meeting Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman was quoted as saying, “We will be releasing a SpongeBob movie at the end of 2014, which will serve to start off or be one of our films that starts off our new animation effort.” What better way to start off a new venture than by relying on a proven commodity? SpongeBob’s first movie, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, only had a production budget of $30m and it ended up pulling in $140m worldwide. If you want your team to start things off with a win, it seems to me that SpongeBob is a good first round draft pick to make.

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For a while there, with the exception of the Toy Story films, it didn’t seem like Pixar was very interested in doing sequels to its big hits. The company focused instead on creating new characters and exploring new worlds every time out. But that focus has seen a shift recently with the studio putting together projects like Cars 2 and Monsters University. And if there ever was a Pixar property that felt like it could use a sequel, even back before Pixar was doing sequels, it was Brad Bird’s tale of a family of super heroes The Incredibles. So what gives? The super hero genre is inherently serial in nature. Why haven’t we heard any news about the further adventures of the mighty Parr family?

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DreamWorks Animation has been making animated features that are then distributed by Paramount Pictures for a while now. It’s been a good model that’s, for the most part, worked out well. Heck, when they put out How to Train Your Dragon, people even started to talk about how they were approaching or meeting Pixar levels of success. But this partnership between companies appears to now be over, and the future of animated movies is looking a bit uncertain. What happened? Well, despite the fact that the DreamWorks/Paramount relationship has been making money and achieving more and more critical success, Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg hasn’t been happy with his end of the deal, and has started shopping around the rights to distribute Dreamworks films to other companies. As a matter of fact, Katzenberg is reportedly looking for someone to agree to purchase Dreamworks Animation as a part of a new distribution deal.

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If you’re like me, you watch the Super Bowl for one reason: you can eat as many fried mac ‘n’ cheese balls as you want without so much as a dirty look. If there’s another reason to watch, it’s because Puppy Bowl has gotten repetitive. If there’s a third, it’s the commercials – specifically the movie trailers. Most of the movie trailers this year gave just a bit more insight into trailers we’ve already seen, but a select few (like Transformers 3 and Super 8) gave us our first look into the worlds being created for the big screen. Fortunately, like the PSAs that get to air for free during the big game, these movie trailers also taught us a lot. Especially about the trends of 2011 that are already emerging. Here are just ten things we learned.

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ZachGalifianakisPussinBoots

The beard enthusiast (and sometimes actor) is in talks to voice Humpty Dumpty. Beats getting high and agreeing to G-Force.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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