Top Animation News is a weekly column that rounds up the biggest, best and breaking stories from the animation industry. This edition covers January 10 to 17, 2020.
1. Oscars 2020 nominees: 2D animated productions get major recognition
The nominees for the 92nd Academy Awards were announced this week, with 2D animated productions Klaus and Hair Love making the cut in the Best Animated Feature and Best Animated Short categories, respectively. Both were made using Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and Toon Boom Harmony. A record 32 animated feature films were submitted this year for consideration, including other 2D productions like Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles, Funan and Weathering with You.
For more Oscars 2020 animation analysis, check out Cartoon Brew.
2. Netflix will spend over $17B on content in 2020
Coming into 2020, Netflix is facing rising competition from nascent streaming services including Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV Plus, HBO Max and more. To maintain its leadership position and continue to grow its subscriber base, the SVOD will invest $17.3 billion in content this year. Most of Netflix’s 2020 production budget will be spent on originals including those associated with its recently signed multi-year animation deal with Nickelodeon.
Catch up on the Netflix 2020 content budget on Variety.
Following a decades-long relationship with 20th Century Fox TV, #FamilyGuy mastermind @SethMacFarlane has signed, what sources say, is a five-year, $200 million deal with NBCUniversal Content Studios. All the details: https://t.co/tBtFrZNQOE
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) January 10, 2020
3. Seth MacFarlane inks $200M NBCUniversal deal
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane left 20th Century Fox TV last week for a five-year, $200 million overall television deal with NBCUniversal. Under the agreement, he will have the freedom to make musicals, political dramas, anthologies and animated shows, while still being able to sell to outside buyers and act in other productions. Worry not — MacFarlane will continue to work on his existing series Fox’s Family Guy, Hulu’s The Orville and TBS’ American Dad.
Get into all the Seth MacFarlane NBCUniversal deal details on The Hollywood Reporter.
4. Annecy 2020 will be the festival’s biggest event yet
Having hit a record 12,300 badge-holders in 2019, CITIA, the organizers behind the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, have added 21,700 extra seats ahead of this year’s 60th anniversary event — a 26-percent increase. There will also be an additional 10 screenings per day and new venues. “Annecy 2020 will offer more screenings, more theaters for a festival that must address the next decade with the ambition of sustainable growth that puts the comfort of the festivalgoer at the heart of its policy,” said Mickaël Marin, CEO of CITIA.
Read more about the Annecy 2020 expansion plans on Cartoon Brew.
5. NBCUniversal shows off its new Peacock streaming platform
NBCUniversal is ready for its Peacock streaming service to take flight this summer, with a public launch date set for July 15. Viewers will have access to the ad-supported, no-cost Peacock Free with 7,500 hours of programming, or they can pay for Peacock Premium — including additional full-season original and tentpole series. Animation offerings will include DreamWorks Animation IPs as well new toons like Curious George and The Adventure Zone, based on the McElroy Family’s super popular Dungeons & Dragons podcast and associated graphic novels.
See what other Peacock animated series NBCUniversal is ruffling up on Animation Magazine.
6. How Smoke’s Last Thought was made by one artist in Harmony
Award-winning animated short Smoke’s Last Thought is the vision and creation of Los Angeles-based artist Miranda Javid. Inspired by early cartoons, the film beautifully depicts mortality and death — and was brought to life using Toon Boom Harmony. “Working in Harmony was so helpful because I could modify things but still have all that flexibility. Going back to the idea of camera movement, for example, if I realized that one character needed a different body part or movement, I could easily pull in the shot and rework something and export it out again,” says Javid.
Watch Smoke’s Last Thought above and read the full interview on the Toon Boom blog.
7. CBS All Access orders five new animated series
American streaming service CBS All Access is investing heavily in original animated series. Among them are current events-based comedy Tooning Out the News from Stephen Colbert, The Harper House by Brad Neely (China, IL) and Katie Krentz (Star Trek: Lower Decks), and three new adaptations of classic kids’ toons: Lassie, George of the Jungle and Mr. Magoo. This trio will join CBS All Access’ current animated children’s lineup including Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Danger Mouse, both produced using Toon Boom animation software.
Access all the CBS All Access new animated series on Animation Magazine.
8. Syfy invests in new series for TZGZ animation block
It’s not just streamers ordering new toons; American broadcaster Syfy got into adult animated content by acquiring the rights to Futurama and subsequently launched original series Alien News Desk. Last November, the channel combined the two to form a weekly late-night animation block, TZGZ, which has proven popular. This led Syfy to get into more original toons, including female-driven anime comedy series Magical Girl Friendship Squad as well as two 15-minute animated pilots: Wild Life and Devil May Care.
Venture to Deadline for more on Syfy’s new original animated series.
9. How animation students are being taught to avoid burnout
The issue of burnout in the animation industry has become increasingly publicized, from overworked anime artists in Japan to those in the West facing a “crunch” during the final stages of production. While many enter the field due to passion, plenty leave it because of this pressure — which educators are now teaching students to avoid. Seneca College animator program coordinator Jim Zub says, “[Students] need to be able to consistently do this job without burning yourself out. You need to be able to measure your productivity and accurately be able to gauge that.”
Learn more about how avoiding burnout is being taught to future animators on NOW Toronto.
Source: HBO Max
10. HBO Max is diving into Aquaman: King of Atlantis
If you are a fan of Aquaman, your fish is HBO Max’s command. The streaming service is launching a three-part animated mini-series based on DC Comics’ mightiest marine monarch titled Aquaman: King of Atlantis. It will join HBO Max’s rapidly growing animation slate that already includes Looney Tunes Cartoons, Jellystone, Adventure Time: Distant Lands, Little Ellen, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, Rick and Morty, The Boondocks and more.
Submerge yourself in the HBO Max Aquaman: King of Atlantis details on CNET.
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 and Sony Pictures Animation