Animation Source news
WN 13: Sony Pictures Animation, The Nut Job 2

Written by Karlamon :


Smurfs: The Lost Village
[Sony Pictures]

Welcome to a special Weekly News! Boy, do I have plenty this week, because Sony Pictures Animation has a bucketload of announcements for me to talk about here. Also this week, I’ll also discuss about the new trailer for The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature. Lets dig in!

Sony Pictures Animation’s release slate

Sony Pictures Animation

Sony Pictures Animation makes a big comeback this year and beyond! On Wednesday at their Culver City campus, the studio released new details of their diverse slate of upcoming animated features. I took a look at the complete list, and will break-down each film in detail here.

SPA President Kristine Belson said that, “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)

Smurfs: The Lost Village
​[Sony Pictures]

Smurfs: The Lost Village serves as a fully-animated reboot that aims to be more faithful to Peyo’s comics. The movie is directed by Kelly Asbury (Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron) and written by Stacey Harman and Pamela Ribon.

In this retelling of the blue creatures, Smurfette (Demi Lovato) and her friends Brainy (Danny Pudi), Clumsy (Jack McBrayer), and Hefty (Joe Manganiello) race through the Forbidden Forest to find a Lost Village before Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) does. This magical journey will lead them to discover the biggest secret in Smurf history.

Michelle Rodriguez, Ellie Kemper, Ariel Winter, and Julia Roberts join the cast as residents of the Lost Village (yeah, they apparently spoiled the surprise). There will also be cameo voices of Gordon Ramsay (Baker), Gabriel Iglesias (Jokey), Tituss Burgess (Vanity), Jeff Dunham (Farmer), Jake Johnson (Grouchy), and director Kelly Asbury (Nosey).

The Emoji Movie
(August 4, 2017)

The Emoji Movie
​[Sony Pictures]

The widely-despised The Emoji Movie looks into the life of emojis inside a smart phone. It is written by Tony Leondis (Igor), Eric Siegel (Men at Work), and Mike White (School of Rock), with Leondis in the director’s chair.

In an attempt to become “normal” like the other emojis, Gene (T.J. Miller) embarks on a “app-venture” with his “handy” best friend Hi-5 (James Cordon) and notorious codebreaker Jailbreak (Ilana Glazer) in search for the code that can fix him. But a danger threatens the phone, and these three friends must save their world before it’s deleted.

Joining the existing cast are Steven Wright (Gene’s father, Mel Meh), Jennifer Coolidge (Gene’s mother, Mary Meh), Maya Rudolph (Smiler), and Jake T. Austin (Alex). Oh, and Sir Patrick Stewart is the voice of Poop… yeah… let that s(t)ink in.

The Star
(November 10, 2017)

The Star
​[Sony Pictures]

The Star seems like the most-intriguing project in Sony’s lineup, and is my most-anticipated animated movie of 2017. A co-production with The Jim Henson Company, it tells the Nativity of Jesus in the perspective of the animals, where Bo the donkey (Steven Yeun) and his animal friends become the unsung heroes of the first Christmas.

The large cast for The Star was the biggest announcement Sony made on that day. This includes 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).

Oscar-nominated animator Timothy Reckart (Head Over Heels) directs The Star, with the story written by Carlos Kotkin (Rio 2) and Simon Moore. Animation will be outsourced to Montreal-based Cinesite Studios rather than the usual in-house Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Hotel Transylvania 3
(September 21, 2018)

Hotel Transylvania 2
​[Sony Pictures]

Genndy Tartakovsky is back to direct Hotel Transylvania 3, the third instalment in Sony’s hit comedy series. Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, and Andy Samberg will also return to voice Dracula, Mavis, and Johnny respectively, with Sandler executive-producing.

In a screenplay written by Tartakovsky himself and Michael McCullers (the Austin Powers sequels), Mavis gives Dracula a holiday cruse for him to take a vacation from providing vacations. Onboard the ship, Dracula spices up a relationship with Ericka, the ship’s captain. But little does he know that Ericka is a descendent of his arch nemesis Van Helsing.

Additionally, an animated Hotel Transylvania short titled Puppy will be attached to theatrical screenings of The Emoji Movie (enter at your own risk). Directed yet again by Tartakovsky, this will centre on Dracula’s grandson Dennis where he gets a surprise pet monster, and then havoc insures in the hotel.

Untitled animated Spider-Man
(December 21, 2018)

Miles Morales' Spider-Man
[Marvel Comics]

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the duo behind The Lego Movie, bring us a very promising animated Spider-Man movie written by Lord. In an interesting twist, it was confirmed that this Spidy will not be the usual Peter Parker, but instead will be Miles Morales, the successor of Parker.

The other announcement with the animated Spider-Man movie was that Peter Ramsey (director of Rise of the Guardians) will be directing the film with Bob Persichetti (head of story on Puss in Boots and The Little Prince). Lord and Miller will serve as executive producers alongside Amy Pascal and Marvel Studios’ Avi Arad.

(December 18, 2020)

Lin-Manuel Miranda
[Photo Credit: Michael Boardman /]

With Vivo, Sony enters musical territory with Lin-Manuel Miranda, the acclaimed songwriter behind Hamilton and Disney’s Moana. Quiara Alegría Hudes, who worked with Miranda on In the Heights, will write the script, and the movie itself will be directed by Kirk de Micco (The Croods).

On Box Office Mojo, Sony has four untitled projects between Spider-Man and Vivo, so we’ll have to wait and see on those. With the exception of The Emoji Movie which just seems like an absolute joke, I believe Sony has strong ambitions with their plans, and look forward to see what they’ll deliver with these films, especially with The Star and Spider-Man.

The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature - Official Trailer

Do you guys remember 2014’s The Nut Job? That poorly-received cartoon with that nasty squirrel, and uses Psy’s “Gangnam Style” in a 50s setting? Well prepare to be shocked, because there’s a sequel coming out this year!

Open Road Films and ToonBox Entertainment gives us the first trailer of The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, where Surly (Will Arnett) and his animal friends fight off a greedy park owner who plans to build an amusement park.

I remember when I saw the first movie, it was a rather unpleasant experience. Sure the animation was decent, but the sour tone and unlikable characters was really off-putting. The existence of a sequel rather confuses me, because nothing about the first Nut Job screamed franchise-worthy. Maybe it’s possible the sequel will be an improvement, but it doesn’t really anticipate me.

If you’re curious to check out The Nut Job 2, Open Road Films have set a new US theatrical release date for August 18. Like with the first film, The Weinstein Company will handle international distribution.

Tell me in the comments on which Sony film you’re mostly interested in, or you can give your thoughts on the existence of The Nut Job 2. I’ll see you next week with more awesome animation news!


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January 23, 2017
Fan chars mod France Female Is not currently on the site
Grande Méchante Admin ~
I'm pretty surprised for the Nut Job 2, the first one was great but I would have never guessed there would be a sequel (and I don't really get why x)). The trailer sounds half cool half childish (the story could be great but the jokes aren't...).

I'm personnally happy however for Hotel Transylvania 3, I like the story line (Van Helsing is my herooo), though I thought the "zing" was a "once in a lifetime" experience? Still, I'm really curious for this one =D

I'm less interested by the others, though Stars could be cute ^-^

January 22, 2017
Usa Female Is not currently on the site
Senior Mod
WolfTrain--> I actually liked it too, even though I'd been told it was really bad. I think I watched it on Netflix one day when I was bored and was pleasantly surprised. Indeed, Grayson was so amusing Lol. Though I don't think it needed a sequel, I'm at least a little curious.

Oh god no, not another Hotel Transylvania movie, please. They ruined it with the last one. I love the first movie and greatly disliked the sequel so much save for maybe two small scenes. (don't get me started) Ugh. I'm scared now.

Vivo seems promising though, I'm interested to see how it goes.

January 22, 2017
Usa Male Is not currently on the site
So it still seems like I'm the only person in the world who actually liked the original Nut Job. :icon300:

The only thing I didn't like about the first movie was Grayson. His overzealous enthusiasm, coupled with his sheer stupidity made me want to punch him out. All the other characters I feel were perfect for the roles they played in the plotline. If he doesn't appear in the sequel I'll be very happy.

January 22, 2017
Is not currently on the site
From the trailer alone it seems that Surly will be a tad more likeable, but the film still looks awful

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