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Sony Pictures Animation is set to reboot The Boondocks and is in development on the anthology series Hungry Ghosts based on the late Anthony Bourdain’s graphic novel.
In an expansive presentation Wednesday at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, SPA president Kristine Belson unveiled the studio’s full slate. Fresh off of its Oscar win for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the studio is moving full steam ahead.
Belson brought out Hotel Transylvania director Genndy Tartakovsky, who holds rock-star status in Annecy, to show first images from his new films Black Knight and the dog tale Fixed. But the exec also made several key announcements.
SPA is “committed to making big, bold movies, where the hand of the artist, the hand of the filmmaker, is strongly felt,” said Belson, emphasizing that the studio does not have a specific style. “We intend to continue down the path that we are on — bringing all audiences stories from around the world, stories no one else is telling — and do so in a way that pushes the boundaries of animated storytelling.”
The exec revealed the studio has two major new initiatives, the first an international program spearheaded by Shrek and The Book of Life producer Aron Warner.
The first project under Warner’s program is the China-set Wish Dragon, directed by Coraline helmer Chris Appelhans. It is set up as a co-production, and Tencent has boarded the project. Jackie Chan’s Beijing Sparkle Roll Media and Base Media are also on board. The film is set for a 2020 release.
The team debuted stills from Wish Dragon, which takes place in Shanghai and centers on a boy, his dragon and his search for a long-lost friend who has been swept up into a consumer lifestyle.
“The future is all of us working together, learning from each other’s stories, mistakes and triumphs,” said Warner.
The second initiative will be aimed at older audiences, with series and features aimed at that demographic. “We want to continue to tell stories that speak to modern audiences, while exploring different methods of storytelling that are appealing to new filmmakers and artists,” said SPA vp physical production Kevin Noel.
Three series are in development under that initiative. Bourdain’s graphic novel Hungry Ghosts will be adapted as one of the first projects, with the culinary-inspired ghost stories taking form as an anthology series.
The studio is also rebooting the Adult Swim series The Boondocks with creator Aaron McGruder, as a co-production with Sony Pictures Television. The new telling will be a complete reimagining of the animated classic and will see the Freeman family do battle against local government.
The third effort, Superbago, will blend Claymation and live-action to follow two buddies traveling across the U.S. in a Winnebago.
Belson also announced that Zootopia director Rich Moore and Oscar-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins have boarded Lin-Manuel Miranda’s highly anticipated musical Vivo as a producer and cinematographer, respectively. The story takes place in modern-day Miami and Havana, with Miranda providing 10 songs, which vary in musical style.
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