The History of nWave's Furry Features
Since Dronon recently posted the trailer for “Bigfoot Junior” on Newsbytes, it seems like a good time to take a deeper look into nWave Pictures. Their main animation studio is located in Brussels, Belgium, while their regional office in Burbank, California has been working diligently to get its pictures distributed theatrically in English in North America for the past decade. They do get theatrical releases in much of the rest of the world-- but usually have to settle for them going direct-to-DVD as "kid’s cartoons" in the United States. Despite being “family” movies, they’re good ones, and they do feature talking animals. Let's take a look at their history in the animated featured film business to date.
nWave was founded by director Ben Stassen in 1994. Its first animation projects were for amusement park attractions and video games. Their first theatrical feature, “Fly Me to the Moon”, which was about housefly astronauts, was released in January 2008.
Next was “A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures”, a pro-ecology movie in August 2010 about a sea turtle who swims around the world.
This did well enough theatrically (except in America) that it was quickly followed by a sequel, “A Turtle’s Tale 2: Sammy’s Escape from Paradise” in August 2012. The Paradise being escaped here is actually referring to a giant aquarium found in the Arab Emirates.
nWave’s fourth movie, and my favorite, was “The House of Magic” released on Christmas 2013. You can tell that it was designed to be an American release; it’s set in Boston, with English-language signage, and even a U.S. 5¢ coin. But something went wrong, and this film ended up as a Shout Factory! direct-to-DVD release in September 2014 as “Thunder and the House of Magic”.
With its fifth release, nWave finally got the illusive American distribution it chased. “Robinson Crusoe” a.k.a. “The Wild Life”, was released in March 2016 internationally and was later released in the U.S. the September following. Personally, I consider this nWave’s weakest piece – but it does have fart and butt jokes. This was an adventure-fantasy about the talking animals around Daniel Defoe's classic novel character Robinson Crusoe.
As a side note, this is the second theatrical animated feature about Robinson Crusoe in the past decade. Have you seen “Selkirk, el Verdadero Robinson Crusoe”, a.k.a. “7 Seas Pirates”? It was the first Uruguayan animated-feature, which used stop-motion techniques. It was released on February 2012. Unfortunately for the furry inclined, it didn't feature much in the way of animal characters.
This brings us up to nWave’s upcoming film: “The Son of Bigfoot” a.k.a. “Bigfoot Junior”. It is scheduled for release on August 11, 2017 in Britain – no North American release scheduled yet. Notice that even in the German trailer that the signage is in English again. It seems the studio is once again searching for that U. S. theatrical release.
Will this Belgium studio finally get the break it needs to get a solid American release it has always dreamed of? It will not be easy, but as the studio continues to expand from its roots as animator for amusement park attractions and into the theaters of the world one thing is clear: their persistence to their craft will continue to provide fun furry movies that we can enjoy.