Animation Articles: May 3, 2020

A selection of the best animation articles including news, opinions, and features from around the world for the week beginning the 3rd of May, 2020.

News

Trolls: World Tour hit the headlines for reasons not related to its art this week. Producing studio Universal’s decision to release the film digitally ruffled a few feathers. Their announcment that the film’s brought in more money in a few weeks from digital than the previous Trolls film made in months at the cinema caused a ruckus. What produced an uproar was parent company CEO Jeff Shell’s comments that the studio plans to release more of its upcoming films simultaneously on digital and in cinemas. The backlash was swift as AMC banned the studio from its nationwide chain.

A couple of aspects make these events worth watching:

  • Universal sees an economic benefit from digital releases but still wants to hedge its bets by continuing future cinematic releases
  • Cinema chains foresee their day of reckoning is fast approaching and are still woefully unprepared
  • We can’t discount all this as blustering on the part of Universal (and by extension, other studios) as they exploit the leverage COVID-19 finally gives them leverage over the cinemas

The big questions is whether consumers will rent films for $20 once cinemas reopen and social restrictions disappear. For adult films, my guess is no; competition from Netflix et al is too great. For family films (like a lot of animated fare is) my hunch is yes. A fifty foot screen is nice, but with a decent sized television and another $20 in snacks, a family of four could save a lot of money over a trip to the cinema.

A feature film of Dogtanian and the Three Muskerhounds is in the works and more surprising than the delightfully faithful rendering above is the fact that the original TV series is still being broadcast in more than 100 countries around the world.

In other miscellaneous news, Toy Story 4 director Josh Cooley is set to direct a Transformers prequel which will likely be animated due to COVID-19 preventing live-action production. France’s equivalent of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences faces pressure over its makeup and animation studios spot an opportunity. Lastly, discover how Cartoon Saloon continues production on Tomm Moore’s next film ‘Wolfwalkers’ while many countries including Ireland are in lockdown.


Features

Here’s a list of 10 animated films to watch on Netflix this month. The Willoughbys (above) is highly recommended.

Pen Ward’s new series with Duncan Trussell gets positive reviews. I haven’t seen it yet, so please leave a comment if you have!

Cartoons Aren’t Just Bright Colors — There’s A Lot Of Connection There For Kids

Here’s yet another article on how A Goofy Movie holds up after 25 years. (This film apparently impacted a LOT of people.)

Former Simpsons showrunner Josh Weinstein posted a few character style guides from the early seasons of the show that make for interesting viewing.

Lastly, Jeffrey Katzenberg discusses animated content on the new short-format video service Quibi. There’s not an awful lot of new material here, but it is worth reading for Katzenberg’s recognition and praise of voice actors.


Cool Thing of the Week

Cartoons are a major part of my style. I prefer to watch cartoons, but also I feel like people shy away from creativity when it comes to making a statement with clothing, and those things are not inhibited in cartoons. I am a cartoon sometimes.

Thundercat: ‘This outfit looks playful, but it’s very serious’

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