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  • Writer's pictureTHAheadline (Thai Lee)

Sony Pictures Animation Unveils Six New Projects


Making good on the commitment to increase overall output while continuing to offer its distinctive mix of family films, this week Sony Pictures Animation shared with the press project details on its upcoming roster of titles through 2018. Additionally, highly anticipated future feature film projects, included one from Pulitzer Prize-winner, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

At the Sony Pictures Animation day, press was given a special look at what the studio has on the horizon. Press previewed SPA's upcoming slate of films, including, The Smurfs: The Lost Village, The Emoji Movie, and The Star, all of which will hit the big screen later this year.

The other projects discussed for 2018 and beyond were, Hotel Transylvania 3, the still-untitled animated Spider-Man film and Vivo, an original musical from Lin-Manuel Miranda. To read a full break down on each film, please continue below.

Kristine Belson, President of Sony Pictures Animation, says, "We are proud of the artist-driven titles we have coming to the marketplace. The abundance, variety, and quality of the features are a testament to the wealth of creative talents who call Sony Pictures Animation their home."

SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE (April 7, 2017, release)

Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation’s SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE.

Newly announced voice cast includes Michelle Rodriguez (SmurfStorm), Ellie Kemper (SmurfBlossom), Ariel Winter (SmurfLily) and Julia Roberts (SmurfWillow), all residents of the title's Lost Village.

Special voice cameos to include Gordon Ramsay (Baker), Gabriel Iglesias (Jokey), Tituss Burgess (Vanity), Jeff Dunham (Farmer), Jake Johnson (Grouchy), and director Kelly Asbury (Nosey).

Previously announced voice cast includes Demi Lovato (Smurfette), Rainn Wilson (Gargamel), Joe Manganiello (Hefty), Jack McBrayer (Clumsy), Danny Pudi (Brainy), and Mandy Patinkin (Papa).

The feature is directed by Kelly Asbury (SHREK 2), produced by Jordan Kerner (CHARLOTTE'S WEB) and Mary Ellen Bauder Andrews (HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA), and written by Stacey Harman and Pamela Ribon, based on the characters and works of Peyo. Digital animation by Sony Pictures Imageworks.

In this fully animated, all-new take on the Smurfs, a mysterious map sets Smurfette and her best friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an exciting and thrilling race through the Forbidden Forest filled with magical creatures to find a mysterious lost village before the evil wizard Gargamel does. Embarking on a roller-coaster journey full of action and danger, the Smurfs are on a course that leads to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history!

THE EMOJI MOVIE (August 4, 2017, release)

Sony Pictures Animation’s EMOJI MOVIE: EXPRESS YOURSELF, in theaters summer 2017. © 2016 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Newly announced voice cast: Jennifer Coolidge (Gene's mother, Mary Meh), Maya Rudolph (Smiler), Jake T. Austin (Alex), and Sir Patrick Stewart (Poop).

Previously announced voice cast includes T.J. Miller (Gene), James Corden (Hi-5), Ilana Glazer (Jailbreak), Steven Wright (Gene's father, Mel Meh).

The feature is directed by Tony Leondis, produced by Michelle Raimo Kouyate, and written by Tony Leondis & Eric Siegel and Mike White. Digital animation by Sony Pictures Imageworks.

“Emojis the movie — I know what you’re thinking: What the f*ck? How are they going to do that?” Leondis said. “As a filmmaker, I’m always trying to tell stories that really connect with people, and emojis have become an important way the world connects emotionally in a very technological time. So for me, it seemed like a perfect arena for a movie.”

“What struck me is that emojis are expected to be one thing their whole lives,” he continued. “The Christmas tree is always festive, the thumbs up is always positive. So I thought, what if one of these emojis was born different — born with not one, but lots of expressions? How would he be treated? How would the world feel about him? And would that threaten the status quo?”

THE EMOJI MOVIE unlocks the never-before-seen secret world inside your smartphone. Hidden within the messaging app is Textopolis, a bustling city where all your favorite emojis live, hoping to be selected by the phone's user. In this world, each emoji has only one facial expression - except for Gene, an exuberant emoji who was born without a filter and is bursting with multiple expressions. Determined to become "normal" like the other emojis, Gene enlists the help of his handy best friend Hi-5 and the notorious code breaker emoji Jailbreak. Together, they embark on an epic "app-venture" through the apps on the phone, each its own wild and fun world, to find the Code that will fix Gene. But when a greater danger threatens the phone, the fate of all emojis depends on these three unlikely friends who must save their world before it's deleted forever.

THE STAR (November 10, 2017, release)

The Star (2017)

The voice cast will be led by Steven Yeun (Bo the donkey), Kelly Clarkson (Leah the horse), Aidy Bryant (Ruth the sheep), Keegan-Michael Key (Dave the dove), Kristin Chenoweth (Mouse), Anthony Anderson (Zach the goat), Gabriel Iglesias (Rufus the dog), Ving Rhames (Thaddeus the dog), Delilah Rene (Elizabeth), Kris Kristofferson (Old Donkey), Gina Rodriguez (Mary), Zachary Levi (Joseph), with Oprah Winfrey (Deborah), Tyler Perry (Cyrus) and Tracy Morgan (Felix) as the three camels, and Christopher Plummer (King Herod).

THE STAR is directed by Academy Award® nominated writer/director Timothy Reckart (HEAD OVER HEELS); executive-produced by DeVon Franklin (MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN), Lisa Henson and Brian Henson (The Jim Henson Company); produced by Jenni Magee-Cook; with a story by Carlos Kotkin and Simon Moore; and screenplay by Carlos Kotkin. Digital animation by Cinesite Studios.

A small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally, goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a lovable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become accidental heroes in the greatest story ever told - the first Christmas.

For the year 2018 and beyond... *drum-roll*

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3 (September 21, 2018 release)

Hotel Transylvania 3 (2018)

Mavis surprises Dracula with a family voyage on a luxury Monster Cruise Ship so he can take a vacation from providing everyone else's vacation at the hotel. The rest of Drac's Pack cannot resist going along and once they leave port, romance zings Drac when he meets the mysterious ship captain Ericka. Now it's Mavis' turn to play the overprotective parent, keeping her dad and Ericka apart. Little do they know that his "too good to be true" love interest is actually descendent of Van Helsing, arch nemesis to Dracula and all monsters!

The voice ensemble of favorites returns, including Adam Sandler (Dracula), Selena Gomez (Mavis) and Andy Samberg (Johnny).

Director Genndy Tartakovsky (SAMURAI JACK, STAR WARS: CLONE WARS) is back in the director's chair, along with Michelle Murdocca back producing and Adam Sandler executive-producing, with a screenplay by Genndy Tartakovsky and Michael McCullers (AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME).

In addition to this feature film, a new animated short, PUPPY, directed by HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA's Genndy Tartakovsky, will be debuting in theaters attached to THE EMOJI MOVIE in August 2017. In the short, the residents of Hotel Transylvania find their world turned upside-down when youngster Dennis gets a surprise monster-sized pet!

UNTITLED ANIMATED SPIDER-MAN (December 21, 2018, release)

Untitled Animated Spider-Man Project (2018)

From Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, the geniuses behind THE LEGO MOVIE comes an animated SPIDER-MAN feature starring Miles Morales.

You are probably thinking, "Wait, I thought Spider-Man's name was Peter Parker?" But, in this untitled animation, Miles is mixed with African-American and Hispanic and is a Marvel comic book superhero. The Miles Morales character was created by Brian Michael Bendis.

“Anyone can wear that mask,” said Phil Lord about the message of Spider-Man slated for release December 2018.

The feature is directed by Bob Persichetti (head of story on PUSS IN BOOTS and THE LITTLE PRINCE) and Peter Ramsey (RISE OF THE GUARDIANS). The film is written by Phil Lord. Avi Arad (IRON MAN, SPIDER-MAN), Amy Pascal (SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING), Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (Untitled HAN SOLO Movie) are executive producing; Christina Steinberg (TROLLHUNTERS) is producing. Casting for the new movie has not yet been announced.

VIVO (December 18, 2020, release)

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Although it’s still a few years away, the Sony Pictures Animation presentation concluded with a logo tease for Vivo.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the award-winning (Emmy, Tony, Grammy, Olivier, Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur "Genius Grant" recipient) creative force behind the groundbreaking Broadway musical HAMILTON, writes new songs for this musical animated feature.

Academy Award® nominated director Kirk De Micco (THE CROODS) is set to helm a script by Pulitzer Prize winner Quiara Alegría Hudes (IN THE HEIGHTS). Academy Award® nominated producer Laurence Mark (DREAMGIRLS, JULIE & JULIA) serves as executive producer, and Lisa Stewart (ALMOST FAMOUS) produces.

Sony Pictures Animation produces a variety of animated and family entertainment for audiences around the world. To stay in THA know with their many projects to come, visit their website.

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