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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2003 8:49 am 
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Talent Medley Draws First Sony Animation Toon Slate
Fri May 9, 4:05 AM ET
By Josh Spector

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - A year after its creation, Sony Pictures Animation has unveiled its initial development slate, featuring five computer-animated projects to be spearheaded by a group of directors whose past work includes such blockbusters as 'The Lion King,' 'Monsters, Inc.' and 'Shrek.'

The projects include adaptations of the cartoon 'Open Season' and the children's book 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,' the Celtic folk ballad-inspired 'Tam Lin,' a 'Romeo and Juliet'-inspired story called 'Surf's Up!' and a feature-length version of the Academy Award-winning short film 'The ChubbChubbs!'

Sony formed its animation division in May 2002 in an effort to compete against similar units at the Walt Disney Co., DreamWorks and Fox and take advantage of its Sony Pictures Imageworks visual effects facility, which has more than 500 staffers. It is headed by DreamWorks alumnae Sandra Rabins and Penney Finkelman Cox.

'Our goal was to find unique voices that had stories to tell,' said Rabins. 'We're not trying to brand Sony animation as revolving around one type of storyteller or one type of story, and we don't want to develop just one look which all our films share. Our hope is that each movie will be very unique.'

Although Sony executives expect each project to have its own distinct look and feel, they hope the common thread will be a broad-based appeal.

'It's important to us that we keep the notion that we are working for a very broad audience, something that every member of a family can enjoy,' said Finkelman Cox. 'That was a very rewarding process for us when we worked on 'Shrek,' and we'd like to have the same kind of results. We want to create films that are attractive to a wide audience. That's our hope and our ambition.'

The initial projects speak to that intention.

Based on the humor of cartoonist Steve Moore, the comedy adventure 'Open Season' tells the story of what happens in the wild when the animals scheme to turn the tables on the hunters.

It is being directed by Jill Culton and Anthony Stacchi. Culton, who was credited with the original story for 'Monsters, Inc.,' has also worked on 'Toy Story 2,' 'A Bug's Life' and Universal Pictures' upcoming 'Curious George.' Stacchi also worked on 'George,' in addition to 'Antz' and 'James and the Giant Peach.'

Directors Roger Allers and Brenda Chapman, who collaborated on such films as 'The Lion King,' 'The Little Mermaid' and 'Beauty and the Beast,' are reuniting to work with best-selling artists Brian and Wendy Froud on 'Tam Lin.' Set against the fantastical worlds of the Frouds' imaginations, the film is loosely based on the Celtic folk ballad of the same name.

Twin brothers Paul and Gaetan Brizzi, who have worked on 'Fantasia 2000' and 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame,' are signed on to direct 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,' based on the Judi and Ron Barrett children's book about a land where food falls from the sky.

The Brizzi brothers are also set to direct 'Surf's Up!' -- a 'Romeo and Juliet'-inspired story set against the high-energy world of surfing.

Rounding out the initial Sony Pictures Animation development slate is a feature-length version of Sony Pictures Imageworks' Academy Award-winning short film 'The ChubbChubbs.'

'All the directors we have brought in have different artistic styles and backgrounds, which we think is important,' said Yair Landau, vice chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and president of Sony Pictures Digital. 'We are trying to be an open shop, open to new ideas and talent from outside the company -- as opposed to places like Disney and Nickelodeon, which tend to be very closed.'

While it has yet to be determined which project will be first into production (the announced projects are in varying stages of development), Landau said production will likely begin on the division's first feature in the next six to nine months, with a 2006 release date eyed. He added that he would like to eventually have one production a year, 'but realistically we would like to have one at least every 18-24 months.'

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter


I'm not against GCI animation, but I do feel people are jumping on the CGI bandwagon with little thought. CGI is, after all just a tool - neither good or bad.

However I do feel that the tone and nature of the film has to be assessed and the animation medium chosen based on that assessment. Not every animated film would make a good CGI film, just as not every CGI film would make a good 'traditional' animation film. Choose the method suitable for the film. My fear is that CGI is being chosen with little regard to the content and subject of the film just because it's "hot" at the moment.

Out of all the CGI films I've seen, only Pixar seems to be making films suited for the medium. The "Toy Story" films were a good choice due to the plastic nature of the toys themselves. "A Bug's Life" was a good choice due to the requirement for shots with lots of characters. And "Finding Nemo" seems to be a good choice due to the exceptional underwater lighting GCI can produce. I'm not so sure about "Monsters, Inc." and would be interested to see how the film would have turned out if produced by Disney in 'traditional' animation.

I think that the film that really seems to have kickstarted the GCI craze - "Shrek" - would have been a better film if made with 'traditional' animation. If for no other reason, the snide and cutting Disney references would have been more successful.

I really think that with the big push for CGI animated features by all the major studios there will be a big CGI backlash from the public in the next 3-4 years.

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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2003 1:53 pm 
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Last night my wife and I webt and saw "Daddy Day Care" which was a funny show but back the point during the trailers they threw in a CGI short called "early bloomer"(I think it was something like that) aanyhow at first I thought it was a Dreamworks preveiw for there upcoming fish/shark movie or should I say there version of "Finding Nemo". But it turned out to just be a short done by Sony. It was cute and funny but it looks like they were kind of playing off of "Finding Nemo". So I hope they don't always try to be Disney I think they will do alot better if they stick to their original ideas. But after watching that I was thinking that they were probably getting ready to announce something bigger. It was cool to get an animated short with the movie I wish that was still a regular custom. I personally really liked 'The ChubbChubbs!' which is on my Men in Black II DVD if you have not seen I would reccomend it I laughed pretty hard and would definatley go and see a full length feature of it.


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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2003 3:22 pm 
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Yeah, i think you are right about the backlash. I love CGI, I love the traditional hand drawn animation and I love the stop motion animation. It seems like the CG stuff is quicker and easier, at least in the minds of the studios, and also a lot cheaper than traditional animation.

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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2003 4:00 pm 
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I always loved the picturebook "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs," so it will be interesting to see it turned into a feature film. ChubbChubbs seems a bit overrated at the moment but I'll hold out judgement and I will see the movie. The others are...interesting.

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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2003 9:58 am 
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Interesting take on this subject over on DVDToons "CGI Obsession"
http://www.dvdtoons.com/features/48

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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 3:38 pm 
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This is getting silly now:

http://forums.toonzone.net/showthread.p ... adid=75573

Quote:
According to The Los Angeles Times, George Lucas, creator of Star Wars, has launched a new division in his company - Lucasfilm Animation. The new animation branch will will help crack the lucrative digital animation business.

The new animation division give him the freedom to generate his own full-length computer-generated cartoons, it will also provide a separate identity and more autonomy to a digital animation group that had been part of Lucas' special effects powerhouse, Industrial Light & Magic. This is expected to speed up the process of any animated project Lucasfilm Animation works on.


Perhaps the backlash will be sooner than I expected.

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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 3:53 pm 
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A website had some footage that ILM did a couple of years ago ... it was a test to do a feature length cg version of Frankenstein. The animation was fantastic, amazing! I would love it if they would continue with that as their first project. Also don't forget that Lucas is one of the guys who started Pixar.

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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2003 7:32 am 
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I just hope WDFA come to their senses when they finally get round to making "Rupunzel". It just wont look very good in CGI, plus by the time this movie does come out people wont be so crazy over CGI they will just want a good movie no matter how its animated.

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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2003 8:44 am 
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Matty-Mouse wrote:
I just hope WDFA come to their senses when they finally get round to making "Rupunzel". It just wont look very good in CGI, plus by the time this movie does come out people wont be so crazy over CGI they will just want a good movie no matter how its animated.

Have you seen Artisan's "Barbie Rapunzel"? It is done completely CGI, and looks AWESOME and more importantly (and surprisingly), the story is very good. I'm not into Barbie (my daughter is), but this direct-to-video DVD is quite enjoyable.

Cheers,

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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2003 9:35 am 
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I didn't know this "Barbie Rapunzel" actually existed, but it sort of puts the brakes on a Disney film version doesn't it?

Unless they actually want to be seen as copying...

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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2003 11:54 am 
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The Lizard King wrote:
Matty-Mouse wrote:
I just hope WDFA come to their senses when they finally get round to making "Rupunzel". It just wont look very good in CGI, plus by the time this movie does come out people wont be so crazy over CGI they will just want a good movie no matter how its animated.

Have you seen Artisan's "Barbie Rapunzel"? It is done completely CGI, and looks AWESOME and more importantly (and surprisingly), the story is very good. I'm not into Barbie (my daughter is), but this direct-to-video DVD is quite enjoyable.

Cheers,

TLK 8)


Sorry mate but I saw the advert and it looked pretty cruddy to me. What was the purple dragon all about?
Also as 2099 said about Toy Story, it would look better because Barbie is a plastic toy that style of CGI make's it look exactly like the doll.

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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2003 3:02 pm 
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Matty-Mouse wrote:
Sorry mate but I saw the advert and it looked pretty cruddy to me. What was the purple dragon all about?
Also as 2099 said about Toy Story, it would look better because Barbie is a plastic toy that style of CGI make's it look exactly like the doll.

It wasn't. :P You and 2099net have a point there regarding plastic toys looking good as CGI, though. :)

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2003 5:07 am 
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from Animated Movies
http://animated-movies.squareworld.com/News.html

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A Short-Lived CGI Boom?
Los Angeles-based Sony Pictures Animation has already locked up some of Hollywood's hottest cartoon auteurs. Run by two former DreamWorks executives, the group recently announced its first production slate, which will include films by the directors of The Lion King, Monsters, Inc. and Shrek. It all adds up to a lot of fresh animation activity, so you'd think Kevin Koch, president of the Animation Guild's L.A. chapter, would be jumping up and down, but he's been around long enough to take it all with several grains of salt. "There's a little bit of a concern that we might be in the same kind of boom [for computer-generated animation] that happened for traditional animation after The Lion King came out," Koch told the SG Gate. "A lot of companies rushed in," Koch added, "but within a few years, when they didn't have big success, there were a lot of people who'd been brought into the industry during that boom who were suddenly struggling to find jobs." Especially at Disney. In a three-year period starting in 1999, the company reduced its animation staff from more than 1,000 to fewer than 400. Still, between the new efforts from Lucas and Sony, not to mention the Shrek 2 sequel that's likely to make a cannonball-scaled splash when it opens next summer, Koch is bullish about cartoons. "I am very optimistic for what's happening in CG animation. There are a lot of solid companies and good projects to work on now. You just have to make hay while the sun shines."


At last somebody talks some sense!

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:13 pm 
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Sony Pictures Animation Chief Kristine Belson Sees COVID-19 Helping Stimulate Demand For R-Rated And PG-13 Titles
https://deadline.com/2020/06/sony-pictu ... 202969612/

Quote:
“There will be more R-rated animated movies.” While Sony hasn’t yet made one, she added, “There are a couple we’re working on and we’re really excited about releasing our first one. I think you’re going to see PG-13 animated movies, which is something you haven’t seen before. Harder action-adventure sort of stuff.”

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:32 pm 
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I don't get what she's saying. What would the Coronavirus have to do with that? And that's assuming general audiences are really even clamoring for such a thing. I know us animation fans would like animated films to be a genre unrestricted by the constant need to appeal to children and families, but I'm not sure I've ever heard general audiences in America express such a desire.

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