Sony Pictures Animation Unveils Varied Upcoming Slate

January 19th, 2017

Making good on the commitment to increase overall output while continuing to offer its distinctive mix of family films, Sony Pictures Animation today released the project details on its upcoming roster of titles through 2018, along with additional highly anticipated future feature film projects, including one from Pulitzer Prize-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Kristine Belson, President of Sony Pictures Animation, says, “We are proud of the artist-driven titles we have coming to the marketplace. The abundance, variety and quality of the features are a testament to the wealth of creative talents who call Sony Pictures Animation their home.”

SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE (April 7, 2017 release)

Newly announced voice cast includes: Michelle Rodriguez (SmurfStorm), Ellie Kemper (SmurfBlossom), Ariel Winter (SmurfLily) and Julia Roberts (SmurfWillow), all residents of the title’s Lost Village. Special voice cameos to include: Gordon Ramsay (Baker), Gabriel Iglesias (Jokey), Tituss Burgess (Vanity), Jeff Dunham (Farmer), Jake Johnson (Grouchy), and director Kelly Asbury (Nosey).

Previously announced voice cast includes Demi Lovato (Smurfette), Rainn Wilson (Gargamel), Joe Manganiello (Hefty), Jack McBrayer (Clumsy), Danny Pudi (Brainy), and Mandy Patinkin (Papa).

The feature is directed by Kelly Asbury (SHREK 2), produced by Jordan Kerner (CHARLOTTE’S WEB) and Mary Ellen Bauder Andrews (HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA), and written by Stacey Harman and Pamela Ribon, based on the characters and works of Peyo. Digital animation by Sony Pictures Imageworks.

In this fully animated, all-new take on the Smurfs, a mysterious map sets Smurfette and her best friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an exciting and thrilling race through the Forbidden Forest filled with magical creatures to find a mysterious lost village before the evil wizard Gargamel does. Embarking on a rollercoaster journey full of action and danger, the Smurfs are on a course that leads to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history!

THE EMOJI MOVIE (August 4, 2017 release)

Newly announced voice cast: Jennifer Coolidge (Gene’s mother, Mary Meh), Maya Rudolph (Smiler), Jake T. Austin (Alex), and Sir Patrick Stewart (Poop).

Previously announced voice cast includes T.J. Miller (Gene), James Corden (Hi-5), Ilana Glazer (Jailbreak), Steven Wright (Gene’s father, Mel Meh).

The feature is directed by Tony Leondis, produced by Michelle Raimo Kouyate, and written by Tony Leondis & Eric Siegel and Mike White. Digital animation by Sony Pictures Imageworks.

THE EMOJI MOVIE unlocks the never-before-seen secret world inside your smartphone. Hidden within the messaging app is Textopolis, a bustling city where all your favorite emojis live, hoping to be selected by the phone’s user. In this world, each emoji has only one facial expression – except for Gene, an exuberant emoji who was born without a filter and is bursting with multiple expressions. Determined to become “normal” like the other emojis, Gene enlists the help of his handy best friend Hi-5 and the notorious code breaker emoji Jailbreak. Together, they embark on an epic “app-venture” through the apps on the phone, each its own wild and fun world, to find the Code that will fix Gene. But when a greater danger threatens the phone, the fate of all emojis depends on these three unlikely friends who must save their world before it’s deleted forever.

THE STAR (November 10, 2017 release)

The voice cast will be led by Steven Yeun (Bo the donkey), Kelly Clarkson (Leah the horse), Aidy Bryant (Ruth the sheep), Keegan-Michael Key (Dave the dove), Kristin Chenoweth (Mouse), Anthony Anderson (Zach the goat), Gabriel Iglesias (Rufus the dog), Ving Rhames (Thaddeus the dog), Delilah Rene (Elizabeth), Kris Kristofferson (Old Donkey), Gina Rodriguez (Mary), Zachary Levi (Joseph), with Oprah Winfrey (Deborah), Tyler Perry (Cyrus) and Tracy Morgan (Felix) as the three camels, and Christopher Plummer (King Herod).

THE STAR is directed by Academy Award® nominated writer/director Timothy Reckart (HEAD OVER HEELS); executive-produced by DeVon Franklin (MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN), Lisa Henson and Brian Henson (The Jim Henson Company); produced by Jenni Magee Cook; with a story by Carlos Kotkin and Simon Moore; and screenplay by Carlos Kotkin. Digital animation by Cinesite Studios.

A small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a lovable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become accidental heroes in the greatest story ever told – the first Christmas.

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3 (September 21, 2018 release)

Mavis surprises Dracula with a family voyage on a luxury Monster Cruise Ship so he can take a vacation from providing everyone else’s vacation at the hotel. The rest of Drac’s Pack cannot resist going along and once they leave port, romance zings Drac when he meets the mysterious ship captain Ericka. Now it’s Mavis’ turn to play the overprotective parent, keeping her dad and Ericka apart. Little do they know that his “too good to be true” love interest is actually a descendent of Van Helsing, arch nemesis to Dracula and all monsters!

The voice ensemble of favorites returns, including Adam Sandler (Dracula), Selena Gomez (Mavis) and Andy Samberg (Johnny).

Director Genndy Tartakovsky (SAMURAI JACK, STAR WARS: CLONE WARS) is back in the director’s chair, along with Michelle Murdocca back producing and Adam Sandler executive-producing, with a screenplay by Genndy Tartakovsky and Michael McCullers (AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME).

In addition to this feature film, a new animated short, PUPPY, directed by HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA’s Genndy Tartakovsky, will be debuting in theaters attached to THE EMOJI MOVIE in August 2017. In the short, the residents of Hotel Transylvania find their world turned upside-down when youngster Dennis gets a surprise monster-sized pet!

UNTITLED ANIMATED SPIDER-MAN (December 21, 2018 release)

From Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, the geniuses behind THE LEGO MOVIE, comes an animated SPIDER-MAN feature starring Miles Morales.

The feature is directed by Bob Persichetti (head of story on PUSS IN BOOTS and THE LITTLE PRINCE) and Peter Ramsey (RISE OF THE GUARDIANS). The film is written by Phil Lord. Avi Arad (IRON MAN, SPIDER-MAN), Amy Pascal (SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING), Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (Untitled HAN SOLO Movie) are executive producing; Christina Steinberg (TROLLHUNTERS) is producing.

VIVO (December 18, 2020 release)

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the award-winning (Emmy, Tony, Grammy, Olivier, Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient) creative force behind the groundbreaking Broadway musical HAMILTON, writes new songs for this musical animated feature. Academy Award® nominated director Kirk De Micco (THE CROODS) is set to helm a script by Pulitzer Prize winner Quiara Alegría Hudes (IN THE HEIGHTS). Academy Award® nominated producer Laurence Mark (DREAMGIRLS, JULIE & JULIA) serves as executive producer, and Lisa Stewart (ALMOST FAMOUS) produces.

Gravitas Acquires Worldwide Rights to “Folk Hero & Funny Guy”

January 19th, 2017

Gravitas Ventures has secured worldwide rights to Folk Hero & Funny Guy, from first-time feature Writer/Director Jeff Grace. The film premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, earning rave reviews and a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Alex Karpovsky (“Girls”), Wyatt Russell (22 Jump Street), Meredith Hagner (“Search Party”), Melanie Lynskey (“Togetherness”), Hannah Simone (“New Girl”), Heather Morris (“Glee”), Michael Ian Black (“Another Period”) and David Cross (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) star in this charming comedy about a successful singer-songwriter who hatches a plan to help his friend’s struggling comedy career and broken love life by hiring him as his opening act on his solo tour.

Folk Hero and Funny Guy will premiere in theaters and on demand on May 12.

Paul (Karpovsky) and Jason (Russell) are old friends who have drifted apart as they’ve reached their 30s. Jason is a good-looking and free spirited singer-songwriter whose career is taking off while Paul is a struggling stand-up comedian whose once promising trajectory is now in decline. The pair reunites when Jason passes through town and a night of drinking leads to Jason offering Paul the opportunity to be the opening act for his upcoming solo tour. What Paul doesn’t know is that Jason has booked the tour in order to win back the heart of an old flame and Jason hopes that having Paul on his “last hurrah of singledom” will resuscitate both his friend’s comedy career and love life mojo.

Filmmaker Jeff Grace shared: “I couldn’t be more excited to have my debut film as a writer/ director be released in theaters this May. Nolan Gallagher, Laura Florence and the rest of the Gravitas team really impressed us with their pitch to market the film as counter-programming to the big summer blockbusters. I think there is a good chance Folk Hero & Funny Guy will be the first film to unseat Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 from the number one box office spot this summer.”

“It was impossible to resist the witty and memorable characters in Folk Hero & Funny Guy,” said Nolan Gallagher, Founder and CEO of Gravitas Ventures. “It’s a laugh-out-loud bromance that we know will resonate with audiences near and far.”

Writer/Director Jeff Grace (It’s A Disaster) combined tales of his own stand-up touring experience with that of the film’s composer Adam Erza to create Folk Hero & Funny Guy. Grace also produced with Ryland Aldrich (L.A. Times). Executive Producers are Vinny Chhibber, John Davenport, Dom Genest, Tom Hamilton, Mike C. Manning, Katherine Ann McGregor, Micki Purcell, Tripp Rhame and Tom Simpson.

The deal was negotiated by Nolan Gallagher for Gravitas Ventures and by UTA Independent Film Group on behalf of the filmmakers.

HAVENHURST – Trailer

January 19th, 2017

Here is the trailer from the upcoming film “HAVENHURST.” The film is directed by Andrew C. Erin. starring Julie Benz, Fionnula Flanagan, Belle Shouse.

Los Angeles Theatrical Release: Friday, February 10, 2017

Jackie (Benz), a troubled young woman struggling with addiction, is released from rehab and given a second chance with a new job and a furnished apartment at Havenhurst. Guilt-ridden over the loss of her 8-year-old daughter, Jackie is quickly drawn into the mysteries of Havenhurst, in particular the disappearance of apartment 1006’s previous lost soul, a young woman (Harris) she befriended in rehab who vanished without a trace.

Aided by a hardened New York police detective (Stamberg) and a lonely foster child (Shouse) who lives under the sadistic shadow of her caretakers, Jackie must not only battle her inner demons… but the very real ones that live within the walls of Havenhurst.

THE SHACK – Trailer 2

January 18th, 2017

Here is the second trailer from the upcoming film “THE SHACK.” The film is directed by Stuart Hazeldine. starring Academy-Award winner Octavia Spencer, Sam Worthington and Grammy Award winner Tim McGraw.

THE SHACK Based on the New York Times Bestseller In Theaters March 2017

CALL OF THE WOLF – Trailer

January 18th, 2017

Here is the green band trailer from the upcoming film “CALL OF THE WOLF.” The film is directed by RD Womack II. starring Aleksander Ristic, Cynthia Bravo, Matthew Oliva.

Release date February 7, 2017

The Film tells the story about two kidnapped and trapped strangers, who must survive the brutal onslaught of winter, and is forced to play a deadly game of survival to outsmart their kidnaper; a sniper calling himself ‘Wolf.’

WILSON – Green Band Trailer

January 18th, 2017

Here is the green band trailer from the upcoming film “WILSON.” The film is directed by Craig Johnson. starring Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern, Judy Greer, Cheryl Hines and Isabella Amara.

Wilson will have its World Premiere at the 2017 The Sundance Film Festival on Sunday, January 22 in the Premieres section

Fox Searchlight will release WILSON in theaters March 24, 2017



Chris Columbus of Maiden Voyage Pictures Signs on as Executive Producer of MENASHE

January 18th, 2017

Academy Award nominee Chris Columbus has come on board as Executive Producer of MENASHE, the narrative fiction feature debut from Joshua Z Weinstein. The film is premiering at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival in the NEXT Section.

Performed entirely in Yiddish, MENASHE follows a kind, Hasidic Jewish widower as he struggles to make ends meet and responsibly parent his young son, Rieven. Tradition prohibits Menashe from raising his son alone, so Rieven’s strict uncle adopts him, leaving Menashe heartbroken. Meanwhile, though Menashe seems to bungle every challenge in his path, his rabbi grants him one special week with Rieven prior to his late wife’s memorial, and a chance to prove himself a suitable man of faith and fatherhood.

Chris Columbus and Eleanor Columbus will executive produce the film under their banner company Maiden Voyage Pictures. The company has produced THE WITCH, TALLULAH, MEDITERRANEA, LITTLE ACCIDENTS, and has PATTI CAKE$ premiering this month at Sundance as well. Alex Lipschultz, Traci Carlson, Danny Finkelman, Joshua Z Weinstein and Yoni Brook produced MENASHE, with Danelle Eliav and Adam Margules serving as executive producers. David Hansen and Johnny Mac of Autumn Productions serve as co-executive producers. Agent Craig Kestel at WME put the deal together between the filmmakers and Maiden Voyage.

“Maiden Voyage Pictures is a company that prides itself on the beauty, artistry and vision of great storytelling” said Chris Columbus. “MENASHE is a film that deals with a world that hasn’t been seen onscreen in decades. It’s a masterfully directed and performed gem, an exceptional piece of filmmaking.”

Mongrel International will be handling worldwide sales.

First Run Features Acquires Lesbian Dramedy AS GOOD AS YOU

January 18th, 2017

First Run Features has acquired U.S. and Canadian rights to the award-winning indie dramedy, AS GOOD AS YOU.

In her feature film debut, Heather de Meichele directs a screenplay by Gretchen M. Michelfeld, executive produced by Michelfeld and produced by Reena Dutt. AS GOOD AS YOU, starring Laura Heisler, Anna Fitzwater, Raoul Bhaneja, Bryan Dechart, and Annie Potts, is the story of a recently widowed Jo (Heisler) who asks her late wife’s brother (Dechart) to be her sperm donor. Mayhem ensues after a visit to the fertility clinic’s eccentric psychotherapist (Potts) and a love triangle with her two best friends (Fitzwater and Bhaneja).

Dutt and Michelfeld state, “First Run Features is the perfect home for AS GOOD AS YOU – a film that is part of a new wave of niche cinema featuring universal stories that normalize diversity with humor and joy. We are thrilled to have found a partner with the same progressive values.”

“We are excited to bring this wonderfully entertaining film to North American audiences,” said Marc Mauceri, Vice President of First Run Features. “It’s not often that we come across such a smart American comedy-drama that delivers on so many levels.”

AS GOOD AS YOU is a co-production of Tanky Productions and Off-Chance Productions and also features Peter Maloney, Karis Campbell, Elizabeth Herring, and Karen Wexler. Director of Photography: Robert C. Webb, Production Designer: Keseh Morgan, Editor: Trevor M. Carlee, Composer: Trevor McLean, Original Songs: Melineh Kurdian.

GIRLFRIEND’S DAY – Trailer and Poster

January 17th, 2017



Ever wonder who penned the perfect words to the Mother’s Day card you sent last year? Or the hilarious birthday card you gave your best friend? A master of words, that’s who.

In the Netflix original film, Girlfriend’s Day, director Michael Paul Stephenson (The American Scream) invites you to experience a clever and quirky story about love, loss and the worst place to get a paper cut. Meet Ray Wentworth (Bob Odenkirk), once a king of the wordsmith world, and now a down-on-his-luck romance card writer. In an effort to recapture the feelings that once made him the greatest, he gets entangled in a web of murder and deceit as writers vie to create the perfect card for a newly crowned holiday: Girlfriend’s Day.

The film also stars Amber Tamblyn, Natasha Lyonne, Ed Begley Jr., Stacy Keach, Rich Sommer, June Diane Raphael, Andy Richter, Stephanie Courtney, Toby Huss, Stephen Michael Quezada, Derek Waters, and Echo Kellum.

Girlfriend’s Day premieres on Valentine’s Day – the “Greeting Card Holiday” (Tuesday, February 14th) – everywhere Netflix is available!

CHiPs – Trailer

January 17th, 2017

Here is the trailer from the upcoming film CHiPs The film is directed by Dax Shepard, starring Michael Peña, Dax Shepard, Jessica McNamee.

Opening on March 24, 2017 in theaters

Jon Baker (Shepard) and Frank “Ponch” Poncherello (Peña) have just joined the California Highway Patrol (CHP) in Los Angeles but for very different reasons. Baker is a beaten up pro motorbiker trying to put his life and marriage back together. Poncherello is a cocky undercover Federal agent investigating a multi-million dollar heist that may be an inside job—inside the CHP.

The inexperienced rookie and hardened pro are teamed together, but clash more than click, so kickstarting a partnership is easier said than done. But with Baker’s bike skills combined with Ponch’s street savvy it might just work…if they don’t drive each other crazy along the way.