Sony Pictures Animation, Studios, The Latest Animation News

Sony’s Genndy Tartakovsky Directing New Film Called ‘Can You Imagine?’ in Addition to ‘Hotel Transylvania 2’ & ‘Popeye’

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Sony Pictures Animation is sure betting the farm on Genndy Tartakovsky. The studio just announced via the Hollywood Reporter that Tartakovsky will not only direct Hotel Transylvania 2 and Popeye, but he also will direct a newly announced film called Genndy Tartakovsky’s Can You Imagine?. We also got a few more details about The Untitled Smurfs Film (known by fans as Smurfs 3).

Genndy Tartakovsky’s Can You Imagine? (2016)

The most interesting part of this news was the announcement of a brand new, original animated feature tentatively called Genndy Tartakovsky’s Can You imagine?, which is due out 2016. We don’t know much about the plot except that it is “a fantastic journey through one boy’s imagination.” It’s interesting because Pixar has a similar film about a child’s mind (in this case a girl’s) called Inside Out, which will be released next year. It will be interesting to see if there are any similarities between the two films or if they will explore completely different facets of the imagination.


Also exciting was the release of this piece of concept art. The art is beautiful and a bit reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland and Dr. Seuss. The characters are all over the place; we see a mustached fish, some crazy caterpillars that are transporting robots and human inside of them. All this is set against a backdrop of a lovely forest. Whatever this movie is about, you better believe that it’s going to be zany, wacky and really enjoyable.

Michelle Murdocca will produce the film and Tartakovsky will both write and direct the film. Can You Imagine? is expected to be released sometime in 2016.

 Hotel Transylvania 2 (September 25, 2015) & Popeye (2016)

It is no surprise that Tartakovsky is returning for Hotel Transylvania 2, since he directed the first one and it was a big hit for the studio. He also is currently directing an 3D animated revival of Popeye. Popeye was originally due out in 2015, a year before Hotel Transylvania 2, but it appears the two have swapped dates: Hotel Transylvania 2 will now be released September 25, 2015 and Popeye is set for a 2016 release date.

In the press release, Tartakovsky also talked more about these two films saying:

“It’s good to be back at the Hotel Transylvania, and I’m very excited to work on Popeye, a character that I’ve loved since I was a kid. I’m also looking forward to developing an entirely new and original animated feature here at Sony Pictures Animation. This is an exciting time for me and for the studio.”

I’m not sure how he does it, but Tartakovsky is one busy man.

Smurfs 3 (August 14, 2015)

And the Sony Animation tidbits don’t stop there. The article also went into some Smurfs 3 news, which actually will be the next animated film released by the studio. We already know that this third installment in the franchise will be all animated, but now we are cued into what the art style will look like. It seems that The Smurfs will be going back to their visual roots as this film will have designs and environments more reflective of the original art by Peyo, the creator of The Smurfs. This is really exciting news as it seems that the company is going to be taking the franchise a bit more seriously, which might bring back some more original and animation fans to the theatre.

No news on the plot yet, except that Smurfs 3 will be more of an origins story of the beloved bright blue creatures. The film will be produced by Jordan Kerner and co-produced by Mary Ellen Bauder. Kelly Asbury, who directed Gnomeo & Juliet and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (check out our Spirit podcast here), will direct. The film will be released August 14, 2015.

Asbury said, “I’m really excited about taking the Smurfs in a completely new fresh direction. We’re not making a Smurfs 3 film. Our character designs and environments will be stylistically closer to the original artwork created by Peyo. Our story will explore the beginnings of the beloved little blue creatures in a fun full CG animated comedy-adventure for every generation to enjoy.”

What do you think about ‘Can You Imagine?’ To which of the other Sony Pictures Animation films are you most looking forward?

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About Morgan Stradling

Morgan is a native of Arizona and is a desert rat who loves the heat--she doesn’t even turn on the AC in her car in the middle of the summer! She loves big eyeliner, Survivor, Lady Gaga, and, of course, animated films. She has her MBA in Marketing from ASU and now works as a Product Manager for a tech company. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.