Top Animation News is a weekly column that rounds up the biggest, best and breaking stories from the animation industry. This edition covers June 21 to 28, 2019.
1. Toy Story 4 breaks global animation box office records
Pixar’s highly anticipated Toy Story 4 made breaking box office records look like child’s play last weekend, scoring the biggest global opening for an animated film ever with $238 million. Insiders are already suggesting the film will be an Oscar contender, speculatively alongside Frozen 2 and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World as well as traditional hand-drawn features like Netflix’s upcoming Klaus and Denis Do’s Funan (both created with Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and Toon Boom Harmony). Notably, Toy Story 4 was trounced at the Chinese box office by screenings of Studio Ghibli’s 18-year-old anime masterpiece, Spirited Away.
Go to infinity and beyond with the Toy Story 4 box office and Oscar details on The Hollywood Reporter.
2. BoJack Horseman crew unionizes
The artists that bring Netflix’s BoJack Horseman to life unionized last Friday. The new deal with production company ShadowMachine established wage minimums and employer-paid health and retirement benefits via The Animation Guild. Desire for unionization grew after the studio began working on Final Space, with animators on that project performing the same creative tasks but earning $400 to $500 more than their BoJack Horseman counterparts because of a collective agreement.
Rally around the BoJack Horseman crew unionization on Insider.
3. Celebrate Pride Month with these LGBTQ family-friendly cartoons
With Pride Month 2019 coming to a close, there’s still time to binge the veritable parade of family-friendly LGBTQ animated series available. According to GLAAD, the community’s representation on television has hit a record high, with media visibility being essential for building empathy and understanding — particularly with children. Amongst the essential LGBTQ viewing are Steven Universe, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power and more.
March through our list of Pride Month LGBTQ family-friendly animated series on the Toon Boom blog.
4. Flash Gordon animated film to be directed by Taika Waititi
Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) is attached to direct Fox/Disney’s upcoming Flash Gordon animated feature, with John Davis producing. The film has been in development for years, with Matthew Vaughn (Kingsman) and Julius Avery (Overlord) both attached to helm it in recent memory. Animation is a new direction for the Flash Gordon movie and it will return to the source material’s roots as a 1934 science-fiction comic strip following the eponymous character’s battles against his arch nemesis, Ming the Merciless.
Find out more about the Flash Gordon animated reboot on Deadline.
5. Harmony 17 empowers animation from every angle
The latest edition of Toon Boom’s industry-standard animation suite, Harmony 17, gives students, freelancers and independent artists the same production pipeline that major studios rely on every day. Among the 40 new-and-improved features are an improved drawing engine and adjustable pen pressure sensitivity, stabilizer tool, free form deformer node, curvilinear perspective guide and more.
See Harmony 17’s new features in action above and read more on Animation World Network.
6. Discover Triggerfish Academy, the newest free online animation academy
Cape Town, South Africa’s Triggerfish Animation has launched its free online animation education destination, Triggerfish Academy. Aimed at aspiring animators and available via its website and YouTube channel, the program includes shorts videos covering career options, the principles of animation, intro to storytelling and the personal experiences of working professionals — all reinforced with quizzes and exercises. Triggerfish Academy was created by the studio’s animation director Tim Argall (Seal Team) and is designed to help people determine if the toon industry is right for them.
Learn more about Triggerfish Academy on Animation Magazine.
7. Sugar and Toys perfectly parodies hip-hop and kids’ toons
The latest animated series from Carl Jones and Brian Ash (Black Dynamite, The Boondocks) has been promoted as “where adult comedy, social commentary and music culture parody crash the cartoon party”. Airing on Fuse TV in the late-night time slot, the toon deftly combines satire with Saturday morning cartoons for an entirely unique humour. Toon Boom Harmony was among the tools Florida’s Echo Bridge Studio used to achieve a traditional 2D animated look.
Get hip on the Sugar and Toys details on Animation World Network.
8. Watch 10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki documentary for free online
The four-part docuseries following Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, 10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki, is available to stream via the website of Japan’s public broadcast network, NHK. Helmed by Kaku Arakawa (who also made Never Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki), it takes place during the productions of Ponyo and The Wind Rises, and explores the legendary anime filmmaker’s personality and strained relationship with his son, Goro.
Watch the 10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki trailer above and read more on Paste.
Source: Smiley Guy Studios
9. Corner Gas Animated premieres this Canada Day
Brent Butt’s celebrated Corner Gas Animated is back for its second season on Canada Day (July 1), with Michael J. Fox and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau set to cameo during its sophomore run. The Canuck comedy was planned in Storyboard Pro and has found creative freedom with animation. “In the live-action show, we always had these little fantasy pop-outs where we could stretch our reality. In the real world, you’re kind of limited by what you can do, with your budget or the law. In the animated world, you can really have a lot of fun and stretch those boundaries when you do those fantasy pop-outs,” says Butt.
Head over to the CTV for more on Corner Gas Animated season two.
10. Breakdown: Japan’s animation industry
Animation production is booming in Japan, fuelled by streaming services and studios’ desire to replicate the $358.9 million success of 2016’s anime feature Your Name (planned in Storyboard Pro). Last year, anime films saw major success including Dragon Ball Super: Broly ($116.7 million), Detective Conan: Zero the Enforcer ($108.1 million) and Doraemon: Nobita’s Treasure Island ($83.9 million), and the national industry has been growing for the last five years. Animation Magazine invited top Japanese executives to speculate on the market and its future.
Read what they had to say 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