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This Week in Animation: March 10 to 17

Tags: News Animation This Week in Animation Film Television Harmony News and Opinion

This Week in Animation is a new weekly series for the Toon Boom blog, rounding up the most buzzed about animation stories from the past seven days.


1. Godzilla anime to stomp all over Netflix.

Streaming giant Netflix has announced it will be hosting the first Godzilla animated film later this year. The anime, simply titled "Godzilla", will initially be screened in Toho cinemas in Japan. Produced by Polygon Pictures, with Kobun Shizuno ("Knights of Sidonia") and Hiroyuki Seshita ("AJIN: Demi-Human") set to direct, the film has been described as "an epic re-imagining of the Godzilla world of the future". With the release of "Kong: Skull Island" last weekend, the announcement certainly feels timely.

Get the goods on Godzilla at IGN.

A painted storyboard from the Godzilla anime feature film.
Source: Godzilla film Twitter page.


2. "Big Hero 6 The Series" gets second season plus more TV orders at Disney.

Ahead of its premiere, "Big Hero 6 The Series" has already been given a green light for its second season. The television show will pick up right where the feature film left off, with our hero Hiro using technology to save the day with his trusty robot and superpowered squad. Disney also placed another round of orders for "Mickey and the Roadster Racers" and "The Lion Squad", the latter of which was named the top series across preschool networks in 2016. All three series are produced with Toon Boom Harmony.

See the full "Big Hero 6 The Series" story on "Entertainment Weekly".

A promo poster from Disney for Big Hero 6 The Series.
Source: Walt Disney Studios.


3. Pixar's Mexican-set film "Coco" gets a trailer.

Mexican culture has found itself increasingly in the animation spotlight recently. Last month, Netflix released "Legend Quest" by Anima Estudios, which was lauded for bringing Latino/a characters into the mainstream as well its integration of Mexican history and folklore. On the big screen, Pixar just released its trailer for "Coco", a 3D animated feature film about a Mexican boy named Miguel who uses music and magic to travel to the Land of Dead. The film is set for release on November 22, 2017 in the United States.

Read about "Coco" on "cNet".


4. Japanese mega-hit "Your Name" gets new U.S. trailer.

You might not recognize the name at first, but you have definitely heard of "Your Name". The anime film was massively successful; it earned over $230 million in Japan alone and went on to become the nation's highest grossing film globally — ever. (Yes, even more than Godzilla.) "Your Name" follows two complete strangers, Misuha and Taki, who randomly start switching places. (Think: Mitsuha wakes up in Taki's body, and he in hers. It's like "Freaky Friday" except any day of the week.) A dubbed version of the anime will be released to American audiences this spring.

Get the "Your Name" preview on "First Showing" or watch the trailer below.


New Head of Production at Sony Pictures Animation.

Sony Pictures Animation president Kristine Belson announced former EVP of physical production and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" producer Pam Marsden will be bumped up to head of production. Marsden has been with the studio for six years, overseeing all animation projects and serving as the architect for much of its success and growth.

Get the full update on Pam Marsden on "Deadline".


Hand-drawn epic "Nova Seed" comes out March 28.

Nick DiLiberto's directorial debut and sci-fi adventure, "Nova Seed", will have its North American release on March 28, 2017. The 2D animated film represents four years' work and 60,000 hand-drawn frames done entirely by DiLiberto himself. It has toured festivals globally, including Canada, the U.S. and Europe. The action-packed, post-apocalyptic adventure follows a lion-man (a Neo-Animal Combatant or NAC) who must save the Nova Seed, a mystic force of nature, from the evil Dr. Mindskull.

To see where you can purchase "Nova Seed" on March 28, check out "Animation World Network".


Alcon gets into animation with Pixar, DreamWorks vets.

"Darkmouth", a fantasy adventure feature film based on the eponymous novel by Shane Hegarty, will be Alcon Entertainment's first venture into animation. The studio has brought in the big guns for the piece, hiring David Pimental ("Moana", "How to Train Your Dragon") and Douglas Sweetland ("The Incredibles", "Toy Story") to direct. It is described as a comedic animated fantasy centering on a kid whose eagerness prematurely thrusts him into the family business of monster hunting.

Head over to "The Hollywood Reporter" to see who else is working on "Darkmouth".

A still from the book trailer of Darkmouth.
Source: Darkmouth Youtube channel.


Women in Animation Film Festival at Moore College.

As we mentioned in our round-up last week, there is huge dialogue and movement surrounding gender equality in animation and we love seeing such positive social change. Moore College, the United State's first and only women's visual arts school for undergrads, will be hosting the 2017 MooreWomenArtists: Women in Animation Film Festival from Thursday, March 23, through Sunday, March 26. The event will feature animated film screenings as well as panel discussions.

Learn more about Moore College's Women in Animation Film Festival on "Metro".


Nickelodeon launches gender equity initiative.

Things are looking good at Nickelodeon these days. Fresh off its 2017 upfront and its best Q1 ratings in half a decade, the cartoon kingpin has announced a brand refresh as well as an exciting partnership with child rights organization, Plan International. The joint initiative is called "Together We Rock" and is tied Nickelodeon's hit sitcom, "School of Rock". It will roll out as a pro-social campaign with a mission of encouraging gender equity through a free digital game and global programming marathon surrounding the show's empowerment-centric episodes.

For more news on Nickelodeon, swing by "Kidscreen."


"Chuck Chicken the Movie" coming to Asia.

While Western audiences may not be as familiar with "Chuck Chicken" (or "Kung Fu Chicken" as he is known in China), the character and accompanying television series is huge in Asia. Last Monday at FILMART in Hong Kong, Malaysia's award-winning animation producer Animasia Studio and China's Zero One Animation announced the first trailer for their upcoming $8.5 million co-production, "Chuck Chicken the Movie". According to Animation Magazine, the 3D animated feature film follows "Chuck, Flick and Wing's new life in the city far from their home of Rocky Perch Island". The original series currently airs throughout Asia and has over 1 billion streaming views on iQIYI.

Check out "Chuck Chicken the Movie" on "Animation Magazine".

A poster for Chuck Chicken the Movie.
Source: Animasia Studio/Zero One Animation.


Toon Boom COEs score high on ACR's top animation schools ranking.

We are proud to say Toon Boom's Centres of Excellence (COE) ranked extremely well on Animation Career Review's (ACR) top animation schools of 2017 lists. The post-secondary institutions are broken down into two categories: U.S.-based and international. COEs in the top 10 in the United States were School of Visual Arts and Savannah College of Art and Design, while Sheridan College landed in the top 10 of the international category.

See the full ACR 2017 top animation schools rankings on the Toon Boom blog.


What animation industry news were you most excited about this week? Was there something we forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments below!