Top Animation News is a weekly column that rounds up the biggest, best and breaking stories from the animation industry. This edition covers November 8 to 15, 2019.
1. Streaming Klaus this weekend? See how it was made first
Before he directed Netflix’s first original animated feature Klaus, available to stream today, Sergio Pablos had a storied 2D animation and character design career at Disney. His latest production is not only a return to that hand-drawn style, but pushes it forward — using new techniques like volumetric lighting. Pablos tells us, “I’ve been meaning to make a modern hand-drawn film for quite some time, but I knew we could only attempt this if two basic conditions were met: We needed a great story that would benefit from the 2D art form — and we had to push the medium forward by breaking its limitations. When the idea for Klaus came along, I knew we had an opportunity to do both.”
Read the full interview with Sergio Pablos about Klaus’ creative process on the Toon Boom blog.
2. Disney+ acquired 10 million subscribers on its first day
According to the House of Mouse, its streaming service Disney+ launched with 10 million subscribers — though many of those sign-ups include users on seven-day free trials. Comparing it to the competition, Netflix has 158 million, Hulu has 28.5 million and Amazon Prime Video has an estimated 100 million, though the platform doesn’t release its numbers publicly.
Investigate the Disney+ subscriber count further on CNBC.
3. Netflix and Nickelodeon sign multi-year content deal
With Disney+ launching this past week, Netflix is fortifying itself against the competition via a multiyear content production deal with Nickelodeon — including animated feature films and television series based on the latter’s library of characters. The first project is rumoured to be a SpongeBob SquarePants spin-off that will focus on Squidward. The Netflix deal is reportedly worth over $200 million to Nickelodeon.
Stream all the Netflix-Nickelodeon deal details on The New York Times.
4. Rick and Morty season four launches on November 18
The highly anticipated 10-episode fourth season of Adult Swim’s animated comedy Rick and Morty blasts off on Monday, November 18. Fortunately, this may be the last time fans will have to go this long, with series co-creator Dan Harmon saying, “I think it’s safe to say that the gap between seasons three and four will be the longest and last time it takes so long that it’s ridiculous.” Rick and Morty is planned in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and animated in Toon Boom Harmony.
Check out the full interview with Rick and Morty co-creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland on Animation Magazine.
5. The 2020 Oscars animation race is the fiercest in years
Four massive entertainment entities are clashing over the Best Animated Feature award at the 2020 Oscars including Disney with Frozen 2, Pixar with Toy Story 4, DreamWorks Animation with How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and Netflix with Klaus. Also in the running are indie and foreign masterpieces including Japanese director Makoto Shinkai’s Weathering With You as well as Jérémy Clapin’s festival darling I Lost My Body.
Get in the middle of the 2020 Oscars animation competition on The Hollywood Reporter.
Source: Chaz Bottoms
6. Battu Kickstarter takes hiplet to independent animation
Freelance animator Chaz Bottoms may have only graduated two years ago, but he’s already made a name for himself with projects like Lil Nas X’s “Panini” music video. He’s back with Battu: An Animated Musical — a 15-minute short he’s launching on Kickstarter. The film is currently being produced using Toon Boom Harmony and is based on the Chicago dance style hiplet, which is a combination of hip-hop and ballet. “I view Battu as a standalone short, but I also hope people want to see more. I think having a hip-hop animated musical feature sounds so exciting to me as an artist and movie fan. I think that’s something we’ve never seen before in animation, especially with African-American characters,” Bottoms tells us.
Leap into the Battu: An Animated Musical Kickstarter details on the Toon Boom blog.
7. What’s driving the animation boom?
With Comcast having bought DreamWorks and Disney acquiring Fox and Blue Sky Studios, the major players in the animation industry are growing in order to scale and continue producing original content — particularly in the face of rising streaming services. Netflix’s internal data shows around half its viewers watch animated content monthly, which explains its increasing investment in toons as well. These factors have produced a gold-rush in the industry, with former DreamWorks Animation senior production executive Teresa Chang saying, “There are hundreds of animation or animation-related job openings in major hubs like L.A., Vancouver, and Montreal, and lots of VR jobs in the Bay Area.”
Curious about the animation industry growth? Surf the toonami further on Vulture.
8. Ubisoft is launching Rabbids animated shorts
French video game company Ubisoft is upgrading its production slate with a new collection of 10 x 2-minute animated shorts inspired by its popular Rabbids brand. Based on a bunch of bunnies originally from the Rayman franchise who love to wreak havoc, the films were made by studio partners of varying sizes and in a variety of styles — ranging from 2D to CGI to pixel art to stop motion animation. Rabbids fans already get to enjoy the IP across video games, comic books and the Netflix series Rabbids Invasion.
Watch all the Rabbids animated shorts above and read more on Cartoon Brew.
9. 41 Entertainment bows young adult series Roswell Conspiracies
American production company 41 Entertainment is pushing its young adult offerings into hyperspace with new sci-fi toon, Roswell Conspiracies. The animated series imagines supernatural beings like vampires and werewolves as aliens from space, and follows a group of humans and extraterrestrials hunting down dangerous escapees from Area 51. Based on the 1999 cartoon Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths and Legends, the team behind the reboot was inspired by the recent #StormAlien51 social media trend.
Abduct more Roswell Conspiracies details from Kidscreen.
10. Cyberchase addresses food waste for Thanksgiving 2019
Just in time for American Thanksgiving, animated math series Cyberchase is serving up a special episode focused on the global food waste issue. Titled “Giving Thanks Day”, it will air on PBS Kids next Friday, November 22, and will feature a Leftover Turkey Cyber-Soup recipe by award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson that families can make together. “By planning more, purchasing less and ‘upcycling’ our leftovers, we can all do our part in reducing food waste —something that will benefit our children, our communities and our world— a lot to be grateful for,” Samuelsson says.
Dig into the Cyberchase Thanksgiving special further on Animation Magazine.
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