Watch: ‘Secret Life of Pets 2’ Exclusive Deleted Scene

With the globally beloved animal stars of The Secret Life of Pets 2 ready to make their DVD, Blu-ray and 4K debut on August 27, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has given us a sneak peek at the special features in store on the release. Check out the deleted scene “Wake Up” form Illumination Ent.’s blockbuster sequel below!

The Secret Life of Pets 2 is out now on Digital.

Don’t forget to enter our online giveaway for a chance to win this furry frolic on disc!

Synopsis: Terrier Max (Patton Oswalt) is coping with major life changes after Katie’s marriage and the arrival of a toddler, Liam. Meanwhile, Gidget (Jenny Slate) tries to rescue Max’s favorite toy from a cat-packed apartment with a little help from her feline friend, Chloe (Lake Bell), who has discovered the joys of catnip. And Snowball (Kevin Hart) believes, despite the other pets’ teasing, that he’s a superhero after his owner starts dressing him in superhero pajamas. But when Daisy (Tiffany Haddish), a fearless Shih Tzu, shows up to ask for Snowball’s help on a dangerous mission, he’ll have to summon the courage to become the hero he’s been pretending to be. The voice cast also features Eric Stonestreet, Nick Kroll, Dana Carvey, Ellie Kemper, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan and Harrison Ford in his first-ever animation role: a farm dog named Rooster.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 is helmed by returning director Chris Renaud and co-director Jonathan del Val; produced by Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy.

Animation Magazine

Sony/Rovio’s ‘Angry Birds 2’ Flies Low with $16.2 Mil Week

Three years ago, when the original Angry Birds Movie debuted in theaters, it was able to deliver over $ 38 million in its first three days. However, the film’s sequel, which was directed by Thurop Van Orman and John Rice failed to attract big numbers to theaters this past week. The Angry Birds. Movie 2 could only make an estimated $ 10.5 million this weekend for a $ 16.2 million six-day performance. Additionally, the film brought in $ 29.3 million overseas, making its worldwide gross around $ 45.4 million.

The reviews, however, were quite positive. The film received a B+ score on Cinemascore playing to an audience that was 51% female, and 53% of audience were 25 or older. The film scored 76% on the review site Rottentomatoes.com.

Meanwhile, Disney’s Lion King shows no signs of slowing down with an estimated $ 11.9 million weekend, bringing its U.S. cume to $ 496 million, and its global tally to $ 1.435 billion. The pic is now the #9 worldwide release of all-time. Universal’s R-rated comedy Good Boys was the number one movie of the weekend with a $ 21 million opener.

The next big animated release Stateside will be Yu Yang’s Chinese blockbuster Ne Zha, which will released in 3D Imax theaters on August 29th, followed by a nationwide expansion on Sept. 6. The film, which will be released by Well Go USA Entertainment, has earned over $ 594 million in China, making its number one animated film of all-time and the number four most popular movie ever in the territory.

Source: Deadline.com

Animation Magazine

‘Frozen 2’ Will Get Sámi Language Version

Walt Disney Animation is working with the Sámi Parliamentary Council and The Saami Council to create a Sámi language version of Frozen 2. The filmmakers consulted with a Sámi working group on elements within the film — to be detailed later in the year — making this translation even more pertinent.

“For all of our films at Disney Animation, research is crucial to building fantastical yet relatable and believable worlds. At the genesis of creating Frozen 2, our filmmaking team embarked on a research trip to Iceland, Norway and Finland. We were deeply moved by so many of the places we visited and the people we met, including a visit with the Sámi,” said producer Peter Del Vecho.

In a joint statement, the presidents of the Sámi Parliaments and the Saami Council – Aili Keskitalo (Norway), Tuomas Aslak Juuso (Finland), Per-Olof Nutti (Sweden) and Åsa Larsson-Blind (Council), expressed their enthusiasm:

“We are deeply proud and grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Disney Animation. We are beyond excited that the film, Frozen 2, will be accessible to Sámi children in their own native tongue. It is also very gratifying to be able to share the news now as the UN celebrates the International Year of Indigenous Languages this year.”

Elements of Sámi culture served as inspiration for the first Frozen movie as well, blended with other influences from across Scandinavia. The film’s opening song, “Veulie” (by Norwegian composer Frode Fjellheim) incorporates traditional Sámi singing known as jojking. Traditional clothing and reindeer herding practices also informed the creation of the character Kristoff.

Frozen 2

Frozen 2

Rick Dempsey, SVP Creative for Disney Character Voices International, and his team will oversee the casting and adaptation of Frozen 2 into the indigenous Northern Sámi language. Disney Animation and Disney Character Voices International most recently engaged with key partners in Tahiti, Hawai‘i and New Zealand to create indigenous Tahitian, Hawaiian and M?ori language versions of Moana, respectively.

Frozen 2 is set to open in U.S. theaters on November 22. The Sámi version is planned for release simultaneously with the other Nordic versions in December. Casting will begin soon.

Learn more about the Sámi Parliamentary Council and Saami Council at samediggi.no, samediggi.fi, sametinget.se and saamicouncil.net.

About the movie: Why was Elsa born with magical powers? The answer is calling her and threatening her kingdom. Together with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, she’ll set out on a dangerous but remarkable journey. In Frozen, Elsa feared her powers were too much for the world. In Frozen 2, she must hope they are enough. From the Academy Award-winning team — directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, producer Peter Del Vecho and songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez — the sequel once again features the voices of Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad in its original English-language version.

A Sami family (with reindeer!) in traditional dress. [Photo: Lola Akinmade Åkerström/imagebank.sweden.se]

A Sami family (with reindeer!) in traditional dress. [Photo: Lola Akinmade Åkerström/imagebank.sweden.se]

Animation Magazine

‘Secret Life of Pets 2’ Comes Home to Sit ‘n’ Stay

Heartwarming, gut-busting animated family blockbuster The Secret Life of Pets 2 is ready to be adopted on disc and digital this summer, through Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Illumination Entertainment’s warm and fuzzy sequel arrives on Digital August 13, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand on August 27. DVD and Digital versions are packed with well over an hour of bonus content, including two brand-new mini-movies. Meanwhile, 4K and Blu-ray versions include an exclusive Captain Snowball Motion Comic.

In The Secret Life of Pets 2, terrier Max (Patton Oswalt) is coping with major life changes after Katie’s marriage and the arrival of a toddler, Liam. Meanwhile, Gidget (Jenny Slate) tries to rescue Max’s favorite toy from a cat-packed apartment with a little help from her feline friend, Chloe (Lake Bell), who has discovered the joys of catnip. And Snowball (Kevin Hart) believes, despite the other pets’ teasing, that he’s a superhero after his owner starts dressing him in superhero pajamas. But when Daisy (Tiffany Haddish), a fearless Shih Tzu, shows up to ask for Snowball’s help on a dangerous mission, he’ll have to summon the courage to become the hero he’s been pretending to be.

The voice cast also features Eric Stonestreet, Nick Kroll, Dana Carvey, Ellie Kemper, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan and Harrison Ford in his first-ever animation role: a farm dog named Rooster.

Bonus Features (4K, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital):

  • Mini Movie: Minion Scouts – When Margo, Agnes and Edith return from Badger Scout camp, three of the Minions are entranced by the girls’ merit badges. Their own attempt at scout camp results in attracting a bear, eating poison berries and eventually blowing up a dam, creating a massive flood. But, when they arrive back home, the girls share their badges, encouraging the rest of the Minions to try their hand at scouting.
  • Mini Movie: Super Gidget – When Max is kidnapped by an army of squirrels, Super Gidget is the only one who can save him. It turns out that Max’s captor is a flea with the power of mind control. Gidget must use her pluckiness, strength and smarts to save her one true love…until it turns out it was all just a dream.
  • The Making of the Mini Movies – Every Illumination film is accompanied by mini movies that are a production all their own. Each film’s directing partners will explore how the mini movies were made.
  • Deleted Scenes: “Wake Up” – Max and Duke have a new morning routine with Liam. “Duke Explores the Farm” – Duke has a funny interaction with a goat. “Snowball Karate” – Snowball does his superhero warm up. “Secret Confessions” – Dogs gather to talk about their deepest secrets.
  • A Tapestry of a Tail: The Making Of – The plot of The Secret Life of Pets 2 involves multiple storylines ultimately coming together to create a larger than life tale. We talk with the filmmakers, editor and cast about the delicate dance of juggling multiple narratives in one movie.
  • How to Draw – Hosted by Head of Story, Eric Favela, follow the step-by-step tutorial to learn to draw Max, Snowball and Chloe.
  • Frame by Frame: How to Make a Flip Book – In this DIY-style vignette, Head of Story Eric Favela will teach viewers about the essence of animation and how they can create their very own flip book animations at home.
  • Character Pods – Get a closer look at your favorite characters of The Secret Life of Pets 2 with these delightful character pods that might just give away a few more pet secrets. Patton Oswalt – Max; Kevin Hart – Snowbal;l Eric Stonestreet – Duke; Jenny Slate – Gidget; Tiffany Haddish – Daisy; Lake Bell – Chloe; Nick Kroll – Sergei; Dana Carvey – Pops; Bobby Moynihan – Mel; Harrison Ford – Rooster
  • A Party Fit for a Pet – Using stop-motion animation, this step-by-step guide teaches you everything you need to know to throw the very best party for your pet!
  • Pops’ Puppy Training School with Kevin Hart – Join Kevin Hart as he shows off his dog training skills.
  • Pets Yule Log – Sit back and relax in front of this exclusive The Secret Life of Pets 2 themed animated ‘Yule Log.’
  • ‘Panda’ Lyric Video
  • ‘It’s Gonna Be A Lovely Day (The Secret Life of Pets 2)’ Lyric Video

4K & Blu-ray Exclusive:

  • The Further Adventures of Captain Snowball (Interactive) – This animated ‘Motion Comic’ expands the world of our furry hero, Captain Snowball. Using a ‘superhero’ comic book style and custom animation, we discover more about the secret world of our caped crusader with a little help from our viewers. At key moments in the story, the viewer is presented with a choice: left, or right? Fight or flight? Their choice determines our hero’s next move!

4K, Blu-ray & Digital Exclusives:

  • My Buddy and Me – We interview the Illumination cast and crew talking about The Secret Life of Pets 2 while holding (or trying to hold) their pets.
  • Pets with Jobs: A Documentary – We find and profile animals with special jobs – a service dog that detects when its epileptic owner is about to have a seizure; ponies that provide comfort to children with cancer; police dogs that go the extra mile to catch the bad guys. Meet some of the many animals who make the world a better place every day!
  • Relax the Cat: The Secret Life of Pets Massage – A professional pet masseuse shows the cast how to read signs of tension in their pet and use massage techniques to keep their furry babies relaxed and happy!
  • Production Pets – It takes hundreds of people to make an animated movie and a lot of those people have pets that can’t wait for them to come home. This piece is dedicated to all those faithful companions.

Animation Magazine

Annecy: Disney Unveils ‘Frozen 2’ and Three New Shorts

On Friday, Disney Animation Studios took advantage of the gathering of animation fans at Annecy to showcase a special look at the making of its much-anticipated holiday 2019 feature Frozen 2 and to unveil three new shorts from its experimental program Short Circuit. Head of animation Becky Bresee and head of effects animation Marlon West and three shorts directors Brian Menz (Just a Thought), Natalie Nouigat (Exchange Student) and Jerry Huynh (Jing Hua) took center stage at the Festival’s Bonlieu Theater.

Short Circuit is the studio’s experimental program that began in 2016 where anyone at Walt Disney Animation Studios is invited to pitch an idea and potentially be selected to create an original short film with the support of the Studio and their fellow artists. The goal of is to take risks in both visual style and story, surface new voices at the Studio and experiment with new technical innovation. The program has so far given 20 Disney animation artists the opportunity to create their own short, most averaging two minutes in length.

Last year’s award-winning Disney Animation VR short, Cycles directed by Jeff Gipson, was created within the Short Circuit program as well. The short films within Short Circuit will be available Spring of 2020 on Disney.

Frozen 2, directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, will be released in theaters on Nov. 22nd

Here is the new trailer which was released earlier this week:

Frozen 2

Frozen 2

Frozen 2

Frozen 2

Becky Bresee

Becky Bresee

Marlon West

Marlon West

Animation Magazine

‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’: A Paw-sitively Perfect Second Act

***This article originally appeared in the June/July ‘19 issue of Animation Magazine (No. 291)***

Five years ago, the team at Illumination Entertainment, led by producers Janet Healy and Chris Meledandri, and directors Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney hit animation gold with their exploration into The Secret Life of Pets. The movie received great reviews and went on to gross over $ 875 million worldwide, becoming the animation studio’s biggest blockbuster to date.

This summer, Meledandri, Healy, Renaud and new co-director Jonathan del Val (animation director for the first Pets and The Grinch) offer fans another peek into the lives of Max the terrier, Duke the mutt, Snowball the rabbit and all the other animals they come to meet in a colorful new sequel.

The Secret Life of Pets 2

The Secret Life of Pets 2

The new chapter of the animals’ adventures finds Max (now voiced by Patton Oswalt, replacing Louis C.K.) facing empty nest anxieties as his owner’s child gets ready for preschool. Meanwhile, Gidget (Jenny Slate) tries to rescue Max’s favorite toy, and Snowball (Kevin Hart) attempts to free a white tiger (Nick Kroll) from a circus.

“We started working on concepts for the sequel to Pets while we were finishing the first film,” recalls Renaud, an Illumination studio veteran, who directed the first two Despicable Me movies and The Lorax and exec produced the two Minion movies and The Grinch. Everyone involved loved the characters and felt there was more story to tell. Very early in the process we began focusing on pets and kids.”

Renaud says a sequel is always a bit daunting, because as a director you want to deliver what people liked about the first film but within a completely new and unexpected package. “This means new characters, sets and situations,” he adds. “As filmmakers, creating these new elements becomes the fun part of developing a sequel.”

The Secret Life of Pets 2

The Secret Life of Pets 2

One of The Secret Life of Pets 2’s cool visual elements is the introduction of a farm. Renaud says this new environment allowed the team to create a whole new world with new characters. “Additionally, animals on a farm have a very different perspective on life than our pampered city pets,” he notes. “We used this to create some great comedic and dramatic conflict.”

The sequel, which is penned by Brian Lynch (Minions), brings back Duke (Eric Stonestreet), Gidget (Jenny Slate) and Chloe (Lake Bell), and also welcomes new cast members Rooster the farm dog (Harrison Ford in his first animated role!) and Daisy the Shih Tzu (Tiffany Haddish).

The Secret Life of Pets 2

The Secret Life of Pets 2

Janet Healy (Despicable Me movies, Sing), who also produced the first movie, adds “All the characters in The Secret Life of Pets 2 are in some way familiar, they represent the personalities and behaviors we see in our beloved pets every day. Just like we humans, these pets have close friendships, deep loyalties, big problems to solve and heroic deeds to accomplish. The pets in our franchise are a familiar and dear part of our families, and now they are a wonderful part of our film experience.”

According to Renaud, the movie utilized over 200 people in both France (at Illumination Mac Guff in Paris) and the U.S. Besides the Illumination team in Santa Monica, the writer and storyboard artists were based in the U.S. Everyone else on the production, from layout up through animation and final rendering, was located in Paris.

The Secret Life of Pets 2

The Secret Life of Pets 2

Weaving It All Together

One of the most challenging aspects of the production was the moment when the creative team had to tie all three storylines back together. “Through the course of the film, Max, Gidget and Snowball are operating somewhat independently within their own narrative,” notes Renaud. “But, to make the movie work and create a satisfying ending, we had to figure out how to connect these disparate elements and provide a catalyst into the third act action.”

Renaud admits, “Sometimes you can get trapped into worrying about logic, but you usually find that you need less than you think. It’s the emotion and character stakes that carry the day.”

One of the director’s favorite sequences of the movie arrives in the end. “I don’t want to give anything away, but it truly turned out the way I had originally hoped,” he says. “The whole movie is really a metaphor for modern parenting, and I think this scene captured the genuine emotion of what parents go through as they recognize they can’t control or safeguard every aspect of their children’s lives.”

The Secret Life of Pets 2

The Secret Life of Pets 2

Renaud points out that the first Pets movie clearly struck a chord with audiences around the world purely because it was about pets. “We really tried to capture animals as they are, in both attitude and animated performance,” he explains. “I also feel that the question about what your pets do when you’re not home was so simple and compelling, people couldn’t resist watching a movie that attempted to answer that conundrum.”

When asked to compare the sequel to the original, Renaud says the second movie may have a stronger, more nuanced and layered story. “In the first film, we found that we had to tell a very simple story just to have the space to introduce our huge cast of pets,” he says. “In this one, we can forgo the introductions and get right into storytelling.

The Secret Life of Pets 2

The Secret Life of Pets 2

In Pursuit of Perfect Fur

In the five years since the first movie came out, CG animation technology has obviously improved. However, according to Renaud, no new tools were used to produce the animation. It’s just that the old tools kept improving. “For instance, we now review our animation hardware renders with fur on the characters. This is important because a character like Duke can have his whole facial expression wiped out by all of that shaggy fur!”

Since The Secret Life of Pets 2 comes out in the middle of a very jam-packed family movie season — sandwiched between UglyDolls, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, Toy Story 4, The Lion King and The Angry Birds Movie 2 — we asked Renaud how he feels about the growing competition. “In reality, every movie made right now seems to be an ‘all audience four quadrant’ family film,” he replies. “This used to be where animated films were unique. However, those days have passed since most parents are happy bringing their young children to the latest superhero movie, science-fiction fantasy or animated reboot. In my view, we have to strive to retain our distinction through unique visual stylization and strong comedy that can only be achieved through broader character animation.”

Snowball vs. Monkey pic

As Healy sees it, the Pets franchise has lasting appeal and will hopefully continue to capture the hearts of moviegoers. “We think this franchise is unique and special because it connects us to our beloved pets in an intriguing and humorous way,” she says. “People in every part of the world adore their pets and wonder what really goes on in their pets’ minds. When they see The Secret Life of Pets films they get a magical, fun insight. The Secret Life of Pets is far more thrilling and busy than we ever could have imagined!”

Renaud says he also hopes moviegoers will relish reconnecting with these lovable, hilarious characters. “I hope the audience will leave the movie theater glad that they had another chance to spend some time with these characters,” says the director. “I know we had a great time working with these guys again, and I’m hoping that joy and fun comes across in this movie!”

Universal/Illumination’s The Secret Life of Pets 2 begins its U.S. theatrical run on June 10.

Everything’s Illumination

Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment empire is showing no signs of slowing down.

After unleashing The Secret Life of Pets 2 in theaters this month, the studio will release Minions 2 in July 2020 and Sing 2 in December 2020. Here’s a look at the studio’s amazing box office record to date:

Rank Title Domestic Gross Release Date
1. The Secret Life of Pets $ 368,384,330 7/8/16
2. Despicable Me 2 $ 368,061,265 7/3/13
3. Minions $ 336,045,770 7/10/15
4. Seuss’ The Grinch $ 270,620,950 11/9/18
5. Sing $ 270,395,425 12/21/16
6. Despicable Me 3 $ 264,624,300 6/30/17
7. Despicable Me $ 251,513,985 7/9/10
8. Seuss’ The Lorax $ 214,030,500 3/2/12
9. Hop $ 108,085,305 4/1/11

Source: boxofficemojo.com

Janet Healy

Janet Healy

Chris Renaud

Chris Renaud

Animation Magazine

Illumination’s ‘Sing 2’ Set for 2021, DWA’s ‘Croods 2’ Moves to Holiday 2020

Universal Pictures has shifted release dates for two highly anticipated sequels from its powerhouse animation studios. Sing 2 from Illumination Entertainment has been pushed back half a year to July 2, 2021, while DreamWorks Animation’s neolithic family will finally return to the big screen in The Croods 2 on the former’s previous December 23, 2020 release date — freeing up September 18, 2020.

The Croods 2, directed by Joel Crawford (Trolls Holiday; head of story, Trolls), will welcome back voice stars Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherina Keener, Cloris Leachman and Clark Duke along with newcomers Leslie Mann and Peter Dinklage. The sequel will see the Croods face their biggest threat since leaving their cave: another family. The original The Croods (2013) earned Oscar, Golden Globes and BAFTA Kids nominations for Best Animated Feature and won three Annies, on top of a $ 587.2 million worldwide box office — landing it in the top 5 animated releases of the year.

Accomplished music video maker Garth Jennings (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) returns to write and direct Sing 2, which will follow the stagestruck animals of the 2016 hit prepare to leave the Moon Theater and take on the entertainment scene in the big city. Stars Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Taron Egerton, Nick Kroll and Tori Kelly reprise their roles from the first song-filled flick, which was also a top 5 animated champ at the worldwide box office with $ 634.2 million and earned two Golden Globe nominations — for best feature and original song for “Faith.”

[Source: Deadline]

The Croods

The Croods

Animation Magazine

FMX 2019: ‘Aquaman,’ ‘Fantastic Beasts 2,’ ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Join Lineup

The 2019 FMX Conference on Animation, Effects, Games and Immersive Media (April 30 – May 3, Stuttgart) is quickly approaching, but there are still new additions filling out the program. Tickets can be purchased at fmx.de for an early bird rate until March 29.

John Gaeta (Senior Vice President Creative Strategy at Magic Leap) is an inventor, innovator and an Academy Award-winning designer. He is best known for his work on The Matrix trilogy where he explored groundbreaking techniques like Virtual Cinematography and Volumetric Capture. These approaches foreshadowed today’s XR platforms. Epic Games CTO Kim Libreri’s career in digital technology and visual effects spans over 20 years. Prior to Epic Games, he was the Chief Strategy Officer at Lucasfilm, responsible for the company’s Star Wars technology strategy and innovations in interactive storytelling. For The Matrix, he and Gaeta were among the team of artists responsible for the film’s signature “Bullet Time effect.” At FMX 2019, they will trace the path from The Matrix — and from even earlier — to look at what is happening now and into the future in the realm of storytelling, entertainment and human experience, with imagination, innovation and transformation at the core of that discussion.

Gary Wu, Creature Supervisor, and Rachael Dunk, Look Development Lead (both Industrial Light & Magic) will talk about the effects of DC superhero movie Aquaman. The VFX behind the Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will be the topic of a talk by Thomas Hullin, VFX Supervisor & Head of Munich Studio, Rodeo FX. Christian Kaestner, VFX Supervisor at Framestore, will give insights into the studio’s work on the Annie Awards winner Mary Poppins Returns. For the Coen Brothers’ latest film, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Alex Lemke and Michael Huber (both Co-Founders and VFX Supervisors, east side effects) supervised the creation of over 700 visual effects shots.These VFX maestros will recount the creation processes behind these projects, from script and storyboard to filming and post-production.

The Storytelling track at FMX 2019 will shine a light on practitioners and academics who bridge the gap between the universal basics of story-building and the latest world-building happening on screen and in immersive experiences. Trisha Gum, Head of Story on The LEGO Batman Movie and Co-Director/Animation Director on The LEGO Movie 2 will be walking the audience through the importance of story in an animated feature. Craig Caldwell, Professor at The University of Utah, will dedicate a session to character development in storytelling. Jörg Ihle will shine a light on Voletarium, Europe’s largest flying theater, offering a highly immersive storyworld. Jan Pinkava, director of Oscar-awarded Geri’s Game, will review Google Spotlight Stories‘ greatest hits and biggest learnings, bringing the visitors up to date with an in-depth look at the Oscar shortlisted Age of Sail.

Ray Tracing is changing the way content is being created. FMX curators Jon Peddie and Kathleen Maher (both of Jon Peddie Research) will conduct three consecutive panels on how it is used in the film production pipeline, including conceptualization and design, realization and marketing. Blue Sky Studios’ CTO Hank Diskill, Davide Pesare (Allegorithmic), Brian Savery (AMD), Mauro Van der Vlasakker (MAXON) and Philippa Carroll (Glassbox Technologies) will talk about how pitch-viz is changing, tools being used and how having fast, full-resolution rendering is impacting the process. Hugo Guerra (fire without smoke), James Jeffers (Intel) and Emily Paige (e?d films) will explain the cost benefit of good pre-viz. Paige and Savery will also discuss the challenges that teams are facing during early production stages in another panel.

The Digital Humans track will explore the very best of both cinematic and real-time digital humans. Mike Cozens (Weta Digital) will – in addition to his Alita: Battle Angel talk in the The State of VFX track – elaborate on Alita’s facial pipeline. Justus Thies (Technical University of Munich) will present facial performance capture using commodity hardware (such as a standard webcam). Akihiko Shirai (Director, Gree VR StudioLab) will share his knowledge and a future forecasting of the new ecosystem Reality in VR 4.0. Doug Roble (Digital Domain) will discuss how new machine learning techniques can be applied to the creation of digital humans and how these characters work in real time. Track curator Mike Seymour (fxguide) will host a panel discussion on the ethics of virtual humans, the role of identity and the nature of who can represent you, impersonate you and even pass themselves off as you.

The organizers also confirmed that Backstage will be supporting FMX as a Main Partner once more. The Marketplace will be extended with AMD, Fraunhofer IIS, Gravity Sketch and Wacom. Industrial Light & Magic invite the FMX visitors to their Company Suite and booth at the Recruiting Hub. Esri and Intel will be offering workshops.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Aquaman

Aquaman

Animation Magazine

Movie News: Bob Persichetti Directing ‘Puss in Boots 2’, ‘Hotel Transylvania 4’ Dated

DreamWorks Animation’s next Shrek franchise installment, Puss in Boots 2, will be placed in the capable hands of newly crowned Oscar winner Bob Persichetti (co-director, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), Deadline reports. The director has worked on a number of DreamWorks films in his 20-plus year animation career, including serving as head of story (and voicing a small role) for the first Puss feature. Persichetti was also head of story on the internationally acclaimed The Little Prince adaptation; he got his start as an animation artist at Disney Feature Animation.

Latifa Ouaou, producer of the first film, is overseeing development of Puss in Boots 2 for Illumination chief Chris Meledandri, who is shepherding the franchise reboot for parent studio Universal in close collaboration with the DreamWorks team.

Starring Antonio Banderas as the voice of the titular feline hero, Puss in Boots (2011) was directed by Chris Miller and garnered a $ 555 million global box office as well as an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature. A series, The Adventures of Puss in Boots, has run for six seasons on Netflix since 2015.

In other animation sequel news, Sony Pictures Animation has officially slated Hotel Transylvania 4 for release on December 22, 2021. It is unclear whether franchise helmer Genndy Tartakovsky will return from Summer Vacation — but the creator of Star Wars: Clone Wars and Dexter’s Laboratory has helped the studio rake in a franchise total of $ 465.5 million domestic, $ 1.36 billion worldwide. Last year’s installment, Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, brought in the film series’ highest international take yet with $ 528.6 million.

Hotel Transylvania features the voices of Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, and an ensemble cast including Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key and Mel Brooks. All three films have been produced by Michelle Murdocca. The films have received awards and nominations from the Kids’ Choice Awards, People’s Choice Awards, Annie Awards, VES Awards and Golden Globes.

[Sources: Deadlinegt;, Collider]

Puss in Boots

Puss in Boots

Bob Persichetti

Bob Persichetti

Animation Magazine

Disney Skates ‘Frozen 2’ Up Five Days

Disney is breaking with its Thanksgiving Eve release tradition and moving the launch of hotly anticipated sequel Frozen 2 up five days to November 22, the Friday before the holiday. In recent years, Disney-Pixar has opened Coco, Moana and The Good Dinosaur the night before Turkey Day in the U.S. — this year’s holiday release will be Ralph Breaks the Internet (Nov. 21).

The first Frozen also released on Nov. 22, in 2013, and remains the top five-day Thanksgiving opening at the box office with $ 93.5 million. Directed by Jennifer Lee (now Chief Creative Officer of Disney) and Chris Buck, the wintry musical adventure went on to gross $ 1.276 billion worldwide and receive two Academy Awards, for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song (“Let It Go” by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez).

Lee and Buck return to direct the sequel, with Allison Schroeder (Christopher Robin, Hidden Figures) aiding Lee in the screenwriting. Lopez and Anderson-Lopez are also back on board for the music, with composer Christophe Beck. The voice cast includes Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, Evan Rachel Wood and Sterling K. Brown.

[Source: Deadline, boxofficemojo]

Animation Magazine

The Fine Art of Jorge R. Gutiérrez Exhibits in ‘Border Bang 2’

Coagula Curatorial Art Gallery in Los Angeles will present the Border Bang 2 art show from October 20 to December 30, featuring original new and bootlegged art works created or curated by artist, animator, writer and director Jorge R. Gutiérrez (The Book of Life, El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera).

In Border Bang 2, Gutiérrez continues his love letter to the cultural collisions born of the Tijuana/U.S. border, rendering his own version of the bootleg items hawked to tourists and locals alike:

Re-appropriating the bombardment of pop culture images is the border’s reaction to global issues and events. In cultural spaces marked by hybridity, viewers and consumers know not to glorify the political but rather to acknowledge its cultural impact through subversive presentation.

In an era where cultural appropriation policing has become a favored virtue signaling strategy, Gutiérrez remind us that artistic inspiration can come from anywhere and should be open to anyone.

The exhibition is a follow-up to Gutiérrez’s debut solo show at Gregorio Escalante Gallery in 2016, and will feature art pieces and an altar dedicated to the late Greg Escalante in tribute. The works created by Gutiérrez for the show will be published in a hardcover Border Bang book coming from Cernunnos — a signing at the Coagula Curatorial is slated for Sunday, Oct. 21 from 2-5 p.m.

The five other exhibiting artists are:

  • Sandra Equihua – Emmy-winning artist for El Tigre and The Book of Life born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico.
  • Gerald De Jesus – Emmy-winning artist for El Tigre and Teen Titans Go! Art Center grad. Born and raised in the U.S./Mexico border.
  • Robot Soda – Art directed campaigns for Pepsi and Nike, illustrated children’s books and toy design. Born and raised in the U.S./Mexico border.
  • Raul The Third – Pura Belpre award-winning illustrator of Lowriders to the Center of the Earth. Raised in the border town of El Paso/Juarez, he made his way north with his wife Elaine Bay and makes his home in the Boston area.
  • Alfredo Echeverria Ripstein – Mexican artist living in LA. Jorge and Alfredo collaborated on a series of Bootleg homage paintings for the show.

Border Bang 2 will open with an artists’ reception on Oct. 20 from 5-9 p.m.

Visit coagulacuratorial.com for more information.

Border Bang

Border Bang

Border Bang

Border Bang

Border Bang

Border Bang

Animation Magazine

Evan Rachel Wood, Sterling K. Brown Might Heat Up ‘Frozen 2’

Sterlin K. Brown and Evan Rachel Wood

Sterlin K. Brown and Evan Rachel Wood

Emmy-nominated Westworld actress Evan Rachel Wood and Emmy/Golden Globe winning This Is Us lead Sterling K. Brown are reportedly in talks to voice roles in Frozen 2, according to Variety.

The sequel to the Oscar winning box-office smash will be directed by returning helmers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck. Also confirmed to return are voice stars Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell and Josh Gad. Lee is also writing the screenplay, in addition to her new duties as Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios. Frozen 2 is due out November 27, 2019.

Sterling K. Brown, recently seen in Disney/Marvel’s Black Panther, got to try out animation voice over with a guest appearance on Robot Chicken. He is also signed on for The Angry Birds Movie 2, out next year.

Evan Rachel Wood plays Dolores on Westworld, and is also known for her roles in Mildred Pierce and True Blood. She has also guests on Robot Chicken, and lent her voice to Strange Magic, Battle for Terra and the English dub of Asterix and the Vikings.

Sterlin K. Brown and Evan Rachel Wood

Sterlin K. Brown and Evan Rachel Wood

Animation Magazine

Method Puts a James Bond Twist on ‘Deadpool 2’ Opener and Montage

Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2

To set the mood for the murderous mayhem of its hotly anticipated, utterly irreverent sequel Deadpool 2, Twentieth Century Fox’s turned to Method Studios. The New York team created a dramatic opening vignette with 90 seconds of full CG, full of fandom-appropriate flourishes. And, nods to one of the OG action blockbuster legends.

“I’ve always loved Deadpool. In fact, I taught myself to animate using Deadpool back in the day,” said Method Studios Creative Director John Likens, who led the studio’s work for both the opening titles and main-on-ends. “The first Deadpool film had such an iconic opening sequence, it set a high bar for the franchise and inspired us to create something equally as strong for the sequel. We thought it would be really fun to take Deadpool through the tropes of Bond film opening sequences, so we pitched the concept to David Leitch and the team. Turns out they loved it as much as we did.”

To bring this vision to the big screen, Likens, together with Method Studios Executive Creative Director Jon Noorlander and a team of artists, collaborated with production VFX supervisor Dan Glass, director David Leitch, and producer and lead actor Ryan Reynolds, with Leitch and Reynolds providing much of the creative. Throughout the opening, the Merc with a Mouth breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience at various points, while navigating situations brimming with action, sex appeal, and the power ballad chords of Celine Dion’s “Ashes.”

While Deadpool is portrayed in abstract environments, the character himself is photoreal. Method helped develop a feature film Deadpool asset, which was the keyframe animated into scenes by Method’s Matt Hackett and Goran Ognjanovic. Keeping in line with the Bond-esque visual approach, artists employed dynamic light and shadow, and created stylized transitions.

“The opening sequence went through every department here at Method New York so our entire team brought something to the table. It was a really fun project; everyone was doing their best work and it was definitely a career highlight for me,” added Likens.

Bookending the feature, a smaller design team at Method also created the main-on-end titles for Deadpool 2. The 90-second sequence features a montage of crayon drawings, presumably done by Deadpool, that revisit scenes from the film. Likens drew nearly 60 different scenarios for the sequence by hand, with about half making it into the final cut.

Likens concluded, “We had a lot of back and forth with production on the jokes and how far to push things. There’s so much Deadpool culture and memes to pull from, it was a really fun exploration and I hope the audience enjoys the drawings. My personal favorite is Deadpool dressed as Blind Al – smile for GrannyPool!”

Additionally, Method VFX teams handled about 300 VFX shots for the sequel, and Skip Kimball of Method sister company EFILM provided the color grade.

Deadpool 2 is now in theaters. More info and showtimes at www.deadpool.com .

Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2

Animation Magazine

Sam Rockwell, Chance the Rapper Get Down with ‘Trolls 2’

Trolls

DreamWorks Animation has announced Oscar-winning Actor Sam Rockwell and Grammy-winning artist Chance the Rapper have joined the cast of Trolls 2, the sequel to the highly successful animated comedy-adventure starring Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake. Both will lend their voices to new characters, and will also show off their musical talents by recording songs for the soundtrack.

Further expanding the diverse and eclectic cast are Anthony Ramos (Hamilton), Karan Soni (Deadpool 1 & 2), Flula Borg (Ferdinand) and Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades of Grey, and upcoming Robin Hood: Origins), who join returning cast members Kendrick (Poppy), Timberlake (Branch), James Corden (Biggie), Caroline Hjelt (Chenille), Aino Jawo (Satin), Ron Funches (Cooper) and Kunal Nayyar (Guy Diamond) for the new installment of the franchise.

“We are thrilled to have these talented artists join the cast of Trolls 2. This film, like the first, gives our cast an opportunity to show their performance range — integrating comedy, adventure, and emotion with centerpiece musical numbers that resonate with fans across the globe. This second film will be every bit as unique in design, and we can’t wait for audiences to experience the adventurous journey our filmmakers are taking Poppy, Branch and all of the Trolls on next,” Chris deFaria, President of DreamWorks Animation Film Group, stated in the announcement.

Synopsis: It’s all glitter and hugs in Troll Town until Queen Poppy and Branch make a surprising discovery — there are other Troll worlds beyond their own, and their distinct differences create big clashes between these various tribes. When a mysterious threat puts all of the Trolls across the land in danger, Poppy, Branch, and their band of friends must embark on an epic quest through unfamiliar lands to do the impossible: create harmony among the feuding Trolls to unite them against certain doom.

Set for release in spring 2020, the film is produced by Gina Shay, directed by Walt Dohrn and co-directed by David P. Smith. Trolls 2 follows in the footsteps of the 2016 film, providing a musical showcase for original songs and re-recordings of classic favorites woven into the narrative of the film. The sequel expands the series’ music genres, representing a variety of songs from pop, country, and hip-hop, to hard rock, funk, and EDM – as well as everything in between.

Trolls earned a worldwide box-office of $ 346,864,462 ($ 153,707,064) and earned a number of accolades, including best song Oscar and Golden Globes nominations for “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” (Max Martin, Shellback and Justin Timberlake), which won the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media.

Trolls

Trolls

Sam Rockwell

Sam Rockwell

Chance the Rapper

Chance the Rapper

Animation Magazine

Voice Cast Revealed for ‘Angry Birds Movie 2’

Angry Birds Movie 2

Angry Birds Movie 2

Is the world ready for more pig vs. birds battles? Rovio and Sony sure think so as they’ve announced the voice cast for their 2019 Angry Birds Movie sequel. Deadline is reporting that Leslie Jones, Rachel Bloom, Sterling K. Brown, Eugenio Derbez, Zach Woods, Awkwafina, Lil Rel Howery, Dove Cameron, Beck Bennett and Brooklynn Prince are on board as the new additions to the cast list.

Returning from the first Angry Birds movie are Jason Sudeikis (Red), Josh Gad (Chuck), Bill Hader (Leonard), Danny McBride (Bomb) and Peter Dinklage (Mighty Eagle).

Slated for a September 20, 2019 release, Angry Birds Movie 2 is directed by Thurop Van Orman (The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack) with co-director John Rice (Rick and Morty, King of the Hill). The script is by Peter Ackerman (Ice Age, The Americans). The film is exec produced by David Maisel and Catherine Winder.

John Cohen is the film’s producer. “I’m thrilled about our incredibly talented filmmaking team and the hilarious people we’ve brought together for the sequel,” he said. “We’re so happy that Jason, Josh, Bill, Danny, and Peter are back for a second adventure joined by Leslie, Rachel, Sterling, Eugenio and this awesome ensemble of new talent.”

The first Angry Birds movie made over $ 352 million worldwide in 2016 and became one of the highest-grossing vidgame adaptations to date. (Critics didn’t care for it and only gave it a 46% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.)

Angry Birds Movie 2

Angry Birds Movie 2

Leslie Jones

Leslie Jones

Animation Magazine