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Top Animation News: Klaus on Netflix, Lasseter out at Pixar and more!

Tags: Animation Trends Top Animation News News Film Television Games

Top Animation News is a weekly column that rounds up the biggest, best and breaking stories from the world of animation. This edition covers November 17 to 24, 2017.

  1. Netflix adds Harmony-created "Klaus" to its Christmas 2019 wish list.

The streaming giant is the first major American entertainment company in years to produce a hand-drawn 2D animated feature. "Klaus", the directorial debut of Sergio Pablos ("Despicable Me"), is a holiday comedy that tells the story of a postal worker who inadvertently invents Santa Claus. Produced by The SPA Studios in Madrid, Spain, the 2D animated feature film is being created in Toon Boom Harmony and features an all-star voice cast including Jason Schwartzman, Rashida Jones, J.K. Simmons, and Joan Cusack. Netflix has set a Christmas 2019 release for "Klaus".

Unwrap all the "Klaus" details early on "Cartoon Brew".

  1. John Lasseter takes leave of absence from Pixar-Disney, plus updates.

The industry was rocked this week when John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, sent a memo stating he was taking a six-month leave of absence from his position, citing "missteps" amid allegations of sexual harassment. A Hollywood heavyweight compared to Walt Disney himself, he has been credited with reversing the division's fortunes thanks to a slew of hits including "Frozen" and "Zootopia". Since the announcement, it has been rumoured that he will be replaced by "Inside Out" director Pete Docter. Additionally, actor Rashida Jones has come forward saying she did not leave "Toy Story 4" due to unwanted sexual advances by Lasseter, but rather because of Pixar's culture that does not value women or people of colour. (Editor's note: a previous version of this story stated that Jones left "Toy Story 4" because of unwanted advances from Lasseter, based off a report by "The Hollywood Reporter".)

Dig more into the John Lasseter Pixar-Disney allegations on "Los Angeles Times".

  1. "Incredibles 2" has the most-viewed animated trailer ever.

Well, it hasn't been all bad for Pixar this week. When the studio released the teaser trailer for its upcoming sequel, "Incredibles 2", the fan response was… well, incredible! The film picks up with the superpowered Parr family where the original left off in 2004, and the sneak peek garnered over 113 million views during its "College Gameday" premiere. That is the most eyes ever for any animated feature film trailer and the overall seventh highest in history.

Watch the "Incredibles 2" teaser trailer above and see the full story on "Entertainment Weekly".

  1. Black Friday: The VR and AR experience.

The (in)famous camp-outs, lines and headaches of Black Friday may soon be replaced by a headset. As retailers clamour for customer attention online, an increasing number are turning to Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) as a means to drive digital dollars. Among the stores who have already incorporated AR into their shopping experience are IKEA, Wayfair and Amazon, with numbers only set to grow — presenting huge opportunities for those who work in the animation and VFX fields.

Head over to "CNET" to see more on the future of Black Friday.

  1. Sommets du cinéma d'animation in Montreal this weekend!

Toon Boom's hometown of Montreal will be hosting five days of animation celebrations and education this weekend at the 16th Sommets du cinéma d'animation. Organized by la Cinémathèque québécoise, the event will bring together 190 shorts and six feature films, plus three master classes and three exhibitions.

Stop by the "Montreal Gazette" for more on Sommets du cinéma d'animation.

Source: Pixar.

  1. Pixar should be grateful for "Coco" this Thanksgiving.

Despite the controversies surround CCO John Lasseter, Pixar has a lot to be thankful for with its latest release: "Coco". The 3D animated feature film, based on the Mexican holiday Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), is set to take the domestic Thanksgiving box office with projected earnings of $55-60 million. "Coco" is already a hit in Mexico; it is the country's highest-grossing motion picture ever. Disney Animation Studios and Pixar combined can claim the six top five-day Thanksgiving openings of all time, not accounting for inflation.

Dig into "Coco" and Thanksgiving weekend on "The Hollywood Reporter".

  1. Harley Quinn gets her own solo animated series.

Warner Bros has announced a 26-episode standalone series for the breakout star of "Suicide Squad", Harley Quinn. The character was made famous by Margot Robbie in the aforementioned lacklustre blockbuster, and her upcoming action-comedy show will bring together two of the biggest trends in the industry right now: adult animation and direct-to-consumer original content. The Harley Quinn series will launch on Warner Bros' upcoming DC-branded platform alongside a live-action "Titans" show and a revival of contemporary cult classic cartoon "Young Justice".

Have a look at more Harley Quinn animated series info on "Deadline".

  1. Indie video games one of 2017's biggest trends.

In a recent "The Guardian" piece, indie titles were named one the biggest video game trends of 2017. The article specifically cites "Cuphead", a hand-drawn, 1930s-cartoon-style 2D action game coloured in Toon Boom software, which is cause for celebration. The elevation of indie video games is proof of the growing recognition and opportunities for 2D animators in the interactive media market, where the art style can serve as a major differentiator from more mainstream 3D options.

Tap into more of the latest video game trends on "The Guardian".

  1. LatAm industry gets big boost at Animation! in Buenos Aires.

The second edition of the Animation! showcase, part of the Ventana Sur film market in Buenos Aires, Argentina, saw 16 projects announced —eight animated feature films and eight television series— from LatAm studios. Among them were "Escape to India" (produced by Juan José Campanella), "Noah's Ark" (produced by Walter Salles) and "Inzomnia" by Inzomnia Animation.  The 16 pieces selected were in association with the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, with four advancing to a presentation at MIFA 2018.

Venture over to "Variety" for more on what's happening at the Animation! showcase.

Source: Griffin Capital.

  1. DreamWorks Animation Studio Campus sells for $290 million.

The five-building, 460,000-square-foot property was sold by Griffin Capital to Korea-based Hana Asset Management and Los Angeles-based Ocean West Capital Partners. It was originally constructed for DreamWorks SKG in 1997, led by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen. The building became the nucleus of DreamWorks Animation when it became a separate company in 2004 and was where franchises like "Shrek," "Kung Fu Panda" and "How to Train Your Dragon" were produced.

Browse the DreamWorks Animation deal details on "Variety".

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

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