Top Animation News is a weekly column that rounds up the biggest, best and breaking stories from the animation industry. This edition covers January 17 to 24, 2020. Read more »
Top Animation News: Klaus review, Disney+, Spider sequel and more!
Top Animation News is a weekly column that rounds up the biggest, best and breaking stories from the animation industry. This edition covers November 1 to 8, 2019.
1. Klaus lands on reviewers’ nice lists
With Netflix’s first original feature film Klaus set for release on November 15, the reviews have begun to come down the chimney. Most have been full of holiday cheer, with The New York Times writing, “The inventive use of color evokes the work of Mary Blair, the Disney studio’s secret tint weapon from the 1940s to the ’60s.” This speaks to director Sergio Pablos and The SPA Studio’s artistic innovations in lighting techniques; Klaus was made using Toon Boom Harmony.
Read the full Klaus review on The New York Times.
2. What trial users were watching on Disney+
The House of Mouse’s streaming service, titled Disney+, launches on November 12 in the US and Canada. The platform had a trial run in the Netherlands in September, with data showing six out of the 10 most-viewed programs were television series — though the most-watched was a film, Avengers: Infinity War. Marvel notably took four spots on the top 10 while Star Wars projects landed two, showing audiences may be more interested in Disney’s contemporary projects than their classics.
Head over to Tech Crunch to preview these viewing habits ahead of the Disney+ launch.
3. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel gets a release date
Sony’s acclaimed feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will get a sequel, swinging into cinemas on April 8, 2022. Set in an alternate dimension where Miles Morales (who is of mixed African-American and Latinx heritage) is Spider-Man, the film was groundbreaking for both its content and animation. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse webbed itself the Oscar for Best Animated Feature earlier this year.
Get into your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel details on The Verge.
4. TRAILER: Netflix is serving up Green Eggs and Ham
Netflix, Warner Bros. and showrunner Jared Stern's adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham comes out today. The 13-episode first season took four years to produce, and the toon has been praised for it stunning hand-drawn animation style. Stern’s team pursued 2D over CG because they felt it would be more aligned with Seuss’ illustrations and character designs — and we think the results rhyme for themselves.
Whether you watch it in a box or watch it with a fox, catch the Green Eggs and Ham trailer above and read more about it on Animation World Network.
5. Anime is Netflix’s not-so-secret weapon in the streaming wars
With Disney+ set to come out next week and Apple not far behind, Netflix is fortifying its leadership position by stockpiling Japanese anime content. The streaming service is investing heavily in high-quality original series (such as Eden and an Ultraman reboot) to appease global audience’s appetite, with the Nippon animation style more popular overseas — including in Southeast Asia, Europe and Latin America. Additionally, while HBO Max has the US streaming rights for Studio Ghibli, Netflix is attempting to secure the films for other markets internationally.
Stream all the Netflix anime investment details on Bloomberg.
6. Hand-drawn 2D video games are levelling up
In recent years, animation and video games have converged across writers, designers and software. This is particularly true among 2D titles, where artists and indie developers have come together — and seen a huge growth in popularity. Among the most recent projects from the field is Later Alligator, which used Harmony to create its hand-drawn aesthetic. Animator Lindsay Small-Butera said, “The visual assets were created and animated in Toon Boom Harmony. We did almost everything in Harmony, on our end, only using Photoshop to paint the parodies of fine art in the game.”
Plug into the full 2D animated video game trend on Cartoon Brew.
7. Jeff Goldblum to voice lead in They Shot the Piano Player
Animated musical They Shot the Piano Man has found its lead in Jurassic Park actor Jeff Goldblum. He will play a New York journalist digging into the disappearance of Brazilian piano prodigy Tenorio JR. The latest production from Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal, best known for the Oscar-nominated Chico & Rita, it is ultimately an origin story for the internationally celebrated Latino musical movement Bossa Nova.
Investigate more They Shot the Piano Player details on Deadline.
8. Disney Television Animation celebrates 35 years
For many Millennials and Gen Zeds, it’s hard to picture childhood without cartoons like Gargoyles, Darkwing Duck and Gravity Falls — all part of a legacy honoured in a video celebrating Disney Television Animation’s 35th anniversary. Many of the studio’s most iconic titles will also be introduced to new generations of viewers thanks to Disney+ next week.
In the meantime, watch the Disney Television Animation 35th anniversary video above and read more on Comicbook.com.
9. Pixar’s Kristen Lester on how the animation industry is changing for the better
Pixar Animation’s head of story Kirsten Lester recently released her first short for the studio, Purl, which was inspired by her time in the male-dominated industry. The film follows a ball of yarn whose personality unravels in a chauvinistic workplace, but she learns to roll with it and stand up for herself — much to her and her colleagues’ benefit. While she is a director now, Lester notes it wasn’t always that way: “It’s weird to be part of an industry that is changing so rapidly, and so drastically. I went from being in a situation where, if I was on a story team, I would be the only woman.”
Find the full interview with Kristen Lester on Deadline.
10. Universal releases Christmas classics as animated music videos
A number of holiday songs like Frank Sinatra’s “Jingle Bells” and Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” have been adapted into animated music videos by Universal Music Enterprises. Perennially popular around the festive season, the label decided to give the tunes the toon treatment to help them connect with contemporary fans through digital platforms. Each video has its own animation style, with Lee’s classic produced by Ingenuity Studios and Sinatra’s created by Fantoons studio.
Gift yourself the holiday classics’ animated music videos on uDiscoverMusic.
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!
Banner image source: Netflix