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Trailer: 'The Secret Life of Pets'

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And we've just become furry Variety.

Illumination Entertainment has released a trailer for The Secret Life of Pets, due summer of 2016, "a comedy about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day," according to Illumination's own description.

Given how jam-packed 2016 is with fully anthropomorphic animal movies, the fact that this movie only features talking animals makes it feel like almost a footnote (Finding Dory is another 2016 movie with "only" talking animals that would in any other year be the upcoming furry movie, but is also dealt with as an after thought, if at all). That being said, at the very least skip to the pogoing poodle at the end of the trailer.

Doggy derring-do to get big-screen debut

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Adding to the list of upcoming anthropomorphic animal movies, a feature film version of 1980s cartoon Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds was announced at the Annecy Film Festival on June 15.

dogtanian.jpg

As the title suggests, Dogtanian was an adaptation of The Three Musketeers, with dogs in the roles of d'Artagnan and his friends. Your humble reporter surely cannot have been the only nascent furry to be stirred by the portrayal of Aramis, one of literature's great lovers, as a Springer Spaniel.

'Kung Fu Panda 3' images begin to appear as well

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Father and Son

As if in response to Disney's Zootopia featuring the groan-worthy tagline "Like nothing you've seen be-fur," DreamWorks Animation has finally shed some light on its Kung Fu Panda 3 in an article from USA Today. Seeing as how Kung Fu Panda 3 is the third movie in a trilogy that comes out in January 2016 and Zootopia is a March 2016 movie, that makes the tagline wildly inaccurate as well as groan-worthy. Furries are looking forward to both, but, hey, it's a bad tagline.

Spoiler warning: The USA Today article linked may have bluntly spoiled a possible subplot, which is discussed below the break.

Update (6/13): A Chinese language trailer has apparently been leaked; it's since been taken down.

Update (6/19): An official English trailer appears, and it is hilarious.

First character images of 'Zootopia' revealed

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Nick and Judy

The first character images of the upcoming movie Zootopia have been revealed [Tip: GuilRosmer via Reddit]; meet the two main characters. Wunza a criminal fox (Nick Wilde, played by Jason Bateman). Wunza cop bunny (Judy Hopps, played by Ginnifer Goodwin). Together, they fight crime. Or something. Details on the actual plot are scarce at this point.

The movie will be co-directed by Disney veterans Rich Moore and Byron Howard, and the release date is currently scheduled for March of next year. This is one of four movies featuring complete casts of fully anthropomorphic animals planned for wide release in 2016; the others include Kung Fu Panda 3 in January, plus Sly Cooper and Spark, which currently don't have release dates.

Update (6/11): Now with a teaser trailer. (Tip: Mink)

Beast of Burden Closer to Escaping?

A recent article in Variety notes that Beast of Burden is now set to shoot as the first China / New Zealand co-production animated feature film. “Written and directed by Kirby Atkins (Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron), the story sees a species of now-extinct creatures called Thoriphants rebel against their life of servitude to mankind and embark on a treacherous journey.” You may recall that we previously discussed the film on this very web site. As a reminder, we’ll give you the link to Mr. Atkins’ original proof-of-concept short film, which helped him to secure the production deal for his first solo feature.

image c. 2015 Kirby Atkins

image c. 2015 Kirby Atkins

The Boy and the Beast

Can’t think of a better title than that, so why try? Several places on the Net (including Flayrah) have already made note recently of The Boy and the Beast. It’s the latest anime feature from Hosoda Mamoru, the man who brought us Summer Wars and The Wolf Children. As you can tell from those works, the man has an interest in anthropomorphic characters — and this new one just may be his most furry feature yet! The Boy and the Beast “… tells the story of a lonely young boy who strays into a parallel world inhabited by supernatural creatures, where a bear-like beastman becomes his companion and mentor.” It’s set to premier in Japan this July. No word yet on any planned release in North America, but most of director Mamoru’s works have made it over here eventually. Check out the article over at Twitch Film — it includes a trailer with subtitles.

image c. 2015 Toho Studios

image c. 2015 Toho Studios

The Lamb. No Lion.

More news from Cartoon Brew: The first major-studio release of a faith-based animated feature film. “Academy Award-nominated director Tim Reckart (Head Over Heels) will make his feature directorial debut with faith-based feature The Lamb, Sony Pictures Animation revealed today in a late-Easter Weekend announcement. First announced in September 2014, The Lamb will be a fully CG-animated pic based on the Christian nativity story, telling the ‘inspirational story of a young lamb who will change the world’ with an all-animal cast.” Lest you forget, the last time there was a faith-based anthropomorphic animated film (independently released) it was Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie. Stay tuned for more information on a release date for The Lamb.

image c. 2015 Morethings.com

image c. 2015 Morethings.com

Australian Animals on the Big Screen

Cartoon Brew has an article about the first teaser trailer for the new CGI (of course) feature film version of Blinky Bill. Wot, ye’ve not ‘eard o’ Blinky Bill? He’s one of Australia’s most famous animated animals: A young koala with an adventurous attitude and a strong environmental heart. “Blinky Bill first rose to fame in the 1930s in a series of lavishly illustrated and conservation-themed books by Dorothy Wall. A new generation of children… was introduced to Blinky through the classic 1990s animated series The Adventures of Blinky Bill.” The new CGI film features Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) as Blinky Bill himself, while other Australian voices include Toni Collette and Barry Humphries (“Dame Edna”). The film is directed by Deane Taylor, who previously was art director on The Nightmare Before Christmas.

The Wolf and Rabbit are Friends

In the came-from-out-of-nowhere division: Animation Scoop has a review of a new DVD release, Wolfy, The Incredible Secret from France. Random Media (in partnership with Cinedigm) have now released it with an English soundtrack. “A story of political machinations, anamorphic animal hierarchy and gypsy fantasy – traditionally hand-drawn with a look that leans far away from photorealism. The convoluted English title (French title: Loulou, l’incroyable secret) actually refers to quite a few secrets, which unravel as Wolfy, an easygoing wolf, and Tom, his neurotic bunny pal, travel to Wolfenberg to find Wolfy’s mother. A gypsy has told them that she is the true princess as well as the leader of a rebellion against an evil usurper—a manipulative wolf named Lou Andréa.” Take a look at the trailer linked to the article. It won’t make much more sense, but it’ll give you an overall idea of the movie’s look and feel.

image c. 2015 Random Media

image c. 2015 Random Media

The Return of Pig and Fox

Besides the Oscar-winning animated short film Feast, one of the animated shorts that was making a whole lot of buzz during awards season was called The Dam Keeper. Here’s the description from Wikipedia: ” It tells the story of Pig, an introverted youth who lives in a windmill and keeps a dark fog from engulfing his town. Although socially rejected by his peers, he is befriended by the artistic Fox.” The Dam Keeper was directed by Robert Kondo and Daisuke Tsutsumi, both art directors at Pixar (they worked together on Monsters University). Now comes this bit of news from Cartoon Brew: “Tonko House, the studio founded by former Pixar art directors Robert Kondo and Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi, is developing a feature film based on their Academy Award-nominated short The Dam Keeper. The announcement was made along with the news that Tonko House is partnering with First Second Books, an imprint of Macmillan, to expand their short into a graphic novel series. The first book in The Dam Keeper graphic novel series will be released in 2016, picking up the narrative some years after the original story of the orphaned Pig and his quest to maintain the town dam. It will address two questions unanswered in the film: what happened to Pig’s parents, and how did his world come to be at the mercy of a dark cloud?

Down at Fraggle Rock — Again

Word has been spreading fast among the Silly Creatures that the long-rumored big screen version of Jim Henson’s cult TV series Fraggle Rock is finally a go. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception) is set to produce and star in the feature film version. (Interesting side note: Mr. Gordon-Levitt was the voice of Jim Hawkins in the Disney animated film Treasure Planet.) Here what we got from The Nerdist:

Originally an HBO series which ran from 1983-1987, Fraggle Rock centered around a group of tiny creatures called Fraggles, along with the even smaller Doozers who lived among them. The Fraggles and the Doozers lived in a series of caves called Fraggle Rock, and would only venture outside of it to gather radishes to eat, where they would have to avoid the giant Gorgs.

That and get advice from a matronly trash heap named Marjory, and occasionally interact with the human (and his dog) who lives above them all. Trust us, none of this even begins to capture the magic that went into making this show and the magic that viewers took away from it. This new live-action feature film version is being created by the Jim Henson Company and released by New Regency.  (Hmm, not by Disney, eh?) No word yet on a targeted released date, but you can bet you’ll be hearing more about it soon.

And Then MORE Monkeys in Space

Toonbox Entertainment (the folks who last year brought us The Nut Job) are starting to look as if they have a particular interest in furry characters. They’re hard at work on The Nut Job 2, but in the interim comes the announcement of Spark, a space adventure film currently in production and scheduled for release in 2016. Here’s what we got from ComingSoon.net: “Spark follows a teenage monkey Spark, voiced by Jace Norman (Nickelodeon’s Henry Danger), and his friends Vix, a battle-ready fox voiced by Jessica Biel, and Chunk, a tech-savvy warthog, as they embark on a mission to take back the besieged planet Bana from the power-mad General Zhong. Spark’s dangerous odyssey leads him to the farthest reaches of the universe, and to the secret of his true identity, with characters like the comically forgetful nanny robot Bananny, voiced by Susan Sarandon, and the noble, self-sacrificing Queen, voiced by Hilary Swank by his side.” Spark is being directed by Aaron Woodley. The film already has an official web site and also its own Facebook page.

Finn and Jake Make It BIG

Word has been spreading rapidly that Warner Brothers have put the mega-popular show Adventure Time on the fast-track for development as a feature film. Needless to say, many are assuming they were encouraged by Paramount’s success with the new Spongebob Squarepants movie. According to Cartoon Brew: “The animated film will be produced by Chris McKay, the animation supervisor of The LEGO Movie and director of the forthcoming The LEGO Batman Movie, and Roy Lee, one of 18 producers on The LEGO Movie. Adventure Time creator Pen Ward will have some involvement with the film, according to Deadline, specifically ‘in writing and producing the feature version.'” No word yet on a release date, but given how early in the project they are it’s a good guess it won’t be before 2017. The question on a lot of people’s minds then is: Will Adventure Time still be as big then, and bring as many people to the theaters?

image c. 2015 Cartoon Network

image c. 2015 Cartoon Network

They Grow Strong in Scandinavia

If you hadn’t heard, one of Sweden’s most popular funny animals came to European movie screens in 2014. “Sweden’s most popular comic book character – the bear Bamse – now gets his first feature film. In Bamse Och Tjuvstaden (Bamse and the City of Thieves) the strongest bear in the world and his two friends Little Hopp and Shellman show that the best weapon against evil is -friendship (and a few drops of Grandma’s Thunder Honey of course).” After a popular animated TV series and several TV movies you can check out the feature film’s trailer over on YouTube. As usual, of course, there’s little chance we’ll be able to see this stuff anytime soon in North America — at least not translated!

image c. 2015 Tre Vanner Productions

image c. 2015 Tre Vanner Prod.

More Bear, More Marmalade

The film adaptation of Paddington has become, world-wide, one of the biggest box office successes of all time for a “family film”. Now come the word (thanks to Cartoon Brew again) that Studio Canal (the French film creators who brought Paddington to CGI life) are fast-tracking a sequel to the 2014 film — once again to be produced by David Heyman from the UK. In the meantime, the studio is busy distributing another oh-so-English property: Aardman Animation’s Shaun the Sheep Movie, which premiered in Britain last week. No word yet on a release date for Paddington 2, but you can bet it will be sooner rather than later.

image c. 2015 Studio Canal

image c. 2015 Studio Canal