Last Week in Animation: June 5th
By: F. Alexander Bonilla-Chacon
Welcome to Overly Animated’s Last Week in Animation! This is a recurring series where we aggregate the news items most relevant to fans of the shows we cover regularly, as well as interesting tidbits on other animated television and film projects.
Miraculous Second Season
According to an Instagram post by producer Jeremy Zag, the second season of the French animated series Miraculous Ladybug will premiere in September or October. In the post, Zag also said that the delay from an initially announced premiere date of May was because they wanted the Season 2 premiere to be synchronized globally, as opposed to the first season in which the show aired in France several months before it was ready to air in the United States. Whether that also implies an immediate release to Netflix for the second season is still unclear.
Amblin Television and Warner Bros. Animation are reportedly considering bringing back the 90s classic Animaniacs, with the support of Steven Spielberg, who was involved in developing the original show. One assumes this is meant to capitalize on the recent trend of 90s reboots, such as Fuller House and a reported Roseanne revival. The original cast of the show were already slated to appear at a series of “Animaniacs Live” shows this year, so if there is concrete news on the development of this potential comeback for the Warner brothers, and Warner sister, we may get it from those events. [IndieWire]
Singing and Crying: To The Top
Steven Universe Soundtrack: Volume 1 was finally released, and to much fanfare and promotion by Cartoon Network, on Friday. The 37-track album quickly made a dent on the online scene, peaking as high as #2 on iTunes’ Album Chart, only held off by Halsey’s latest release, hopeless fountain kingdom. The album is also currently available on Google Play and Spotify.
Stripped-Down (To Underpants) Animated Films Coming Soon?
An interesting piece that caught my eye was a Friday article on The Hollywood Reporter commenting on a potential movement by major animation studios to drastically reduce costs after the surprisingly positive critical reception of Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. The movie got an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, only trailing Kung Fu Panda 3 and How to Train Your Dragon 2 among DreamWorks Animation movies released in the past five years. This was achieved despite a $38 million budget, the second lowest budget for a feature film in DreamWorks Animation history (2005’s Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit cost $30 million to make). The article acknowledged that Captain Underpants‘ relative lack of complicated setpieces and a more cartoony style meant to emulate the original book series helped to keep costs down. Interestingly, director David Soren says that another reason the movie was finished ahead of schedule and with low spending was “a commitment from the studio to lock down the story early and not tinker with it too much.” It will be interesting to see if Captain Underpants‘ style ends up reappearing in other animated features in the next couple of years as an experiment to see if lower-costing movies result in greater profits. Even more so, it would be nice to see DreamWorks give their directors a wider berth and allow them to make their artistic visions without focus group-oriented studio notes to deal with.
Red Shoes Gets Off on the Wrong Foot
Model/rising Hollywood starlet Chloe Grace Moretz had to come out and defend her involvement in Red Shoes and the 7 Dwarfs after Locus Creative Studio, the group behind the film, released a tone-deaf advertisement at Cannes Film Festival last weekend. In the poster, a plumper version of the film’s protagonist, meant to be a parody of Snow White, is placed alongside the tagline: “What if Snow White was no longer beautiful”. Accusations of bodyshaming were swift on the Internet, and Moretz, who has expressed disgust with online bodyshaming in the past, had to make clear that she was unaware of this ad campaign. “I am just as appalled and angry as everyone else,” Moretz wrote on Twitter. She later explained that she chose to provide the voice for the protagonist because of the film’s story being “powerful for young women”, so it remains to be seen what is the truth. One of the film’s teaser trailers, which shows two dwarfs watching the main character strip down to her lingerie, doesn’t help its case. However, the film is still looking for a distributor, and if anything, bad press may be better than no press in the eyes of the studio, so maybe in the end this entire fiasco worked to their advantage. [Salon]
Other News and Notes
- Studio Ghibli and the government of Aichi Prefecture in Nagoya have announced a plan to build a park based on Hayao Miyazaki’s classic 1988 film My Neighbor Totoro. The park is tentatively scheduled to open in 2020. One would hope a recreation of Spirited Away‘s bathhouse is also included at this park. [Variety]
- Cartoon Network partnered with gourmet ice cream manufacturer Coolhaus to get an ice cream truck to sell Cookie Cats, an ice cream sandwich inspired by the iconic frozen treat featured on the first aired episode of Steven Universe. It was first seen in Culver City, California, one of Coolhaus’ anchors. [Twitter]
- Pope Francis is confirmed to provide voice work for two characters in the European Christian animated film Fatima and the Secret Treasure, slated to premiere in May 2018. Holy [Animation Magazine]
- And finally, in this edition of Weird Animation of the Week, here’s an animated parody of the trailer for Thor: Ragnarok, courtesy of online animation shorts studio A-OK.