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Animation Calendar – 2018

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Early Man / Smallfoot / Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 / Spider-Man: Into the SpiderVerse

[StudioCanal / Warner Bros. Pictures / Disney / Sony Pictures]

Welcome to the year 2018! After last year’s mostly-underwhelming animated features, it seems things are looking brighter for this year’s line-up. Get your calendar set up, and let’s check them out!

These release dates are obtained from the 2017 schedule on Box Office Mojo. Please note that this list is not final, as changes in titles and release dates are possible in the near-future. Don’t forget to also check out our frequently-updated Animation Calendar for all upcoming major releases!


Early Man

Early Man

  • Director(s): Nick Park
  • Writers(s): Mark Burton, John O’Farrell
  • Studio(s): Aardman Animations
  • Distributor(s): StudioCanal (UK), Summit Entertainment (US)
  • US release: February 16, 2018

Aardman Animations and Nick Park bring their stop-motion craftsmanship back to the Stone Age in Early Man, in which we encounter what should be Wallace and Gromit’s ancient ancestors! In this prehistoric comedy, Dug the caveman (Eddie Redmayne) and his trusty pet sidekick Hognob must save their tribe after their land is claimed by their biggest threat yet: the Bronze Age City, ruled by the ruthless Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston).

This is a stop-motion Aardman movie; that alone is enough to make it something great. In my view, if prehistoric comedies are overdone, then Early Man seems to be breathing new life into the stale subgenre, all thanks to the clever comedy and skillful animation expected from the fine Aardman folks. This is one worth keeping an eye out for, even for those burnt out from other prehistoric outings like the Ice Age movies.


Isle of Dogs

Isle of Dogs

  • Director(s): Wes Anderson
  • Writers(s): Wes Anderson
  • Studio(s): Indian Paintbrush
  • Distributor(s): Fox Searchlight Pictures
  • US release: March 23, 2018

Fantastic Mr. Fox director Wes Anderson returns to the world of stop-motion in his newest animated art piece Isle of Dogs. This film is set in dystopian future Japan, where diseased dogs are quarantined onto a remote trash-filled island. When a young boy named Atari Kobayashi (Koyu Rankin) winds up on this island in search for his dog, the junk dogs and their leader Chief (Bryan Cranston) pledge to protect the boy from the Japanese authorities searching for him.

The films I’ve seen from Wes Anderson have been weirdly enjoyable in a great way. And with Isle of Dogs, it looks to be another fantastic one from him. The premise and storytelling are refreshingly unique, the all-star voice acting is solid, and the stop-motion animation is just as amazingly admirable as what Wes did with Fantastic Mr. Fox. For animation fans and Wes Anderson fans, this is definitely something to get excited about.


Sherlock Gnomes

Sherlock Gnomes

  • Director(s): John Stevenson
  • Writers(s): Kevin Cecil, Andy Riley, Ben Zazove
  • Studio(s): Paramount Animation, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Mikros Image
  • Distributor(s): Paramount Pictures
  • US release: March 23, 2018

The world’s greatest detective as a gnome? No ship, Sherlock! Sherlock Gnomes acts as the sequel to 2011’s sleeper hit Gnomeo & Juliet, complete with a new home at Paramount Animation. When garden gnomes mysteriously disappear, Gnomeo (James McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt) call in the famous detective Sherlock Gnomes (Johnny Depp) and his sidekick Gnome Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor) to solve the case.

Who would have thought Gnomeo & Juliet would be popular enough for a sequel? I may mildly enjoy Gnomeo & Juliet, but the fact we’re getting one six years later is surprising, especially when it’s coming from Paramount instead of Disney’s Touchstone Pictures. Something like a spoof of Sherlock Homes does have potential, but what we get in the trailer is rather off-putting with just a series of crude jokes. But there could be a chance this sequel ends up better than what the trailer presents. Who “gnomes”? It’s still a mystery!


Duck Duck Goose

Duck Duck Goose

  • Director(s): Chris Jenkins
  • Writers(s): Scott Atkinson, Chris Jenkins, Rob Muir, Tegan West
  • Studio(s): Original Force Animation
  • Distributor(s): Open Road Films
  • US release: April 20, 2018

From Surf’s Up creator Chris Jenkins comes his directorial debut feature in Duck Duck Goose. An American-Chinese co-production, this animated comedy follows an injured goose named Peng (Jim Gaffigan) who must accompany two lost ducklings (Lance Lim and Zendaya) on a long journey to southern migration. Also joining the cast includes Stephen Fry, Craig Ferguson, and Diedrich Bader.

I can’t particularly say I’m impressed with what’s been presented so far. It basically seems like the generic family road trip comedy with the predictable plot points and low-brow humor you’d expect from them. I’m not too excited, but hopefully it delivers at least some charm alongside its okay animation.


Animal Crackers

Animal Crackers

  • Director(s): Tony Bancroft, Scott Christian Sava
  • Writers(s): Scott Christian Sava, Dean Lorey
  • Studio(s): Blue Dream Studios
  • Distributor(s): Entertainment Studios
  • US release: May 4, 2018

Remember those animal crackers you ate as a kid? Well, someone had the crazy idea to make a whole animated movie out of these snacks titled… well, Animal Crackers. The independent feature is the brainchild of comic artist Scott Christian Sava, in which Owen and Zoe Huntington (John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) discover a rundown circus and magical animal crackers than changes them into the specified animal. Sava co-directs the film with veteran Disney animator Tony Bancroft.

Animal Crackers looks like a commendable effort for something produced independently, especially with its fascinating concept on how the crackers work that can open many possibilities. However, we’ll have to wait to see how the execution takes full advantage of this bold idea in the final product. It’s not known yet if Entertainment Studios is giving this a wide release, but, if so, good luck going up against Avengers: Infinity War!


Incredibles 2

Incredibles 2

  • Director(s): Brad Bird
  • Writers(s): Brad Bird
  • Studio(s): Pixar Animation Studios
  • Distributor(s): Walt Disney Pictures
  • US release: June 15, 2018

Incredibles 2 is among the most-demanded movie sequels ever, and now Pixar is finally making it a reality! Releasing over thirteen years after the first movie, director/writer Brad Bird reunites his iconic superhero family who must take down the Underminer (John Ratzenberger), a villain who desires war and world destruction. Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) takes the spotlight for crime fighting while Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and the kids stay at home examining baby Jack-Jack’s new powers.

When the first Incredibles film ended with Underminer’s reveal, it was perfect. A fantastic setup for a potentially great sequel. Sure, the wait had to be so long, but that extra time Pixar spent planing this followup should make it well worth the wait. I honestly don’t know what to say other than what everyone else has said: It’s going to be incredible (no pun intended)!


Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

  • Director(s): Genndy Tartakovsky
  • Writers(s): Michael McCullers, Genndy Tartakovsky
  • Studio(s): Sony Pictures Animation
  • Distributor(s): Columbia Pictures
  • US release: July 13, 2018

Dracula (Adam Sander) and his pack are back to relax in “a hotel on the water” with Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (internationally titled Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation). It’s all smooth sailing until Drac falls in love with the ship’s captain, who may seem too good to be true. Series director Genndy Tartakovsky returns to helm this third installment after being inspired by a miserable family vacation.

While I’m not a big Hotel Transylvania fan, I can defiantly see what makes the franchise so appealing, whether it’s Sony Animation’s cartoony aesthetics, or that they’re among the better Adam Sandler movies. For this third installment, it seems like Genndy has been given more creative freedom since he’s co-writing. So, maybe on the script side, it’ll be an improvement over the second movie. Fans should have fun checking in with the zany cruise ship gags. But for those who aren’t fond of the series, well there’s always the option to check out instead.


Teen Titans Go! to the Movies

Teen Titans Go!

  • Director(s): Aaron Horvath, Peter Rida Michail
  • Writers(s): Aaron Horvath, Michael Jelenic
  • Studio(s): Warner Animation Group, DC Entertainment
  • Distributor(s): Warner Bros. Pictures
  • US release: July 27, 2018

In an industry dominated by superhero movies, it seems like every hero has their own big-budget flick. Well, except for the Teen Titans that is. Teen Titans Go! to the Movies does exactly what the title says to fix this, as Robin (Scott Menville) and his teammates, determined to be seen more than just sidekicks, head to Tinsel Town to try and get their own major motion picture. Along with the show’s main voice cast, Will Arnett and Kristen Bell will guest star in currently undisclosed roles.

It’s well known that Teen Titans Go! is a much-disliked show, so, of course, those who hate the show will probably hate the movie too. I may not be a fan, nor hater of the show, but looking past the negativity, I think this ridiculous premise could lend itself to plenty of jokes on the current superhero movie craze. Fans of the show should get a kick out of the movie, but if you know you’re going to hate this, why not just watch something else instead of complaining?


Smallfoot

Smallfoot

  • Director(s): Karey Kirkpatrick
  • Writers(s): Karey Kirkpatrick
  • Studio(s): Warner Animation Group, Sony Pictures Imageworks
  • Distributor(s): Warner Bros. Pictures
  • US release: September 28, 2018

Warner Animation Group flips the classic Bigfoot legend into its total opposite with Smallfoot. This time, a Yeti named Migo (Channing Tatum) starts to believe that the hideous creatures known as “Smallfeet” actually exist in real life. Smallfoot will mark the directorial comeback of Over the Hedge‘s Karey Kirkpatrick, who also wrote the script.

Just like what it did with 2016’s Storks (which I am a fan of), the fact that WAG is putting a twist on the Bigfoot folklore is quite intriguing and could open the doors for plenty of comedic mayhem. And considering that the co-director/co-writer of Over the Hedge (one of my favourite movies) is helming Smallfoot, this makes me rather excited to see what he does with this clever premise. I’m definitely “yeit” to check out this one.


The Grinch

The Grinch

  • Director(s): Peter Candeland, Yarrow Cheney
  • Writers(s): Michael LeSieur
  • Studio(s): Illumination Entertainment
  • Distributor(s): Universal Pictures
  • US release: November 9, 2018

After its polarizing adaptation of The Lorax, Illumination takes another shot at a Dr. Seuss story with The Grinch. It follows the mean green titular character (Benedict Cumberbatch) who plans an evil scheme to ruin Christmas for the residents of Whoville by stealing all their presents. This will be the Ginch’s third screen re-telling following the classic Chuck Jones cartoon and Ron Howard’s live-action feature.

Cumberbatch may sound solid for the role of Mr. Grinch, but movies based on the works of Dr. Seuss haven’t had a good track record with critics aside from Blue Sky’s Horton Hears a Who!. Plus the fact that Illumination is handling this is a bit worrisome, considering that it also made The Lorax, which missed the point of the original book. Even if Illumination can make the animation nicely faithful to Seuss’ style, it’s going to take a lot for it to gain my trust on this, especially when we have Jones and Howard’s nostalgic versions to compare it to.


Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2

Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2

  • Director(s): Phil Johnston, Rich Moore
  • Writers(s): Phil Johnston, Pamela Ribon
  • Studio(s): Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Distributor(s): Walt Disney Pictures
  • US release: November 21, 2018

It may seem like a huge mouthful of a title, but Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 is reuniting us with our favorite video game bad guy on a big adventure across the World Wide Web. Set six years after the first movie, a newly-installed Wi-Fi router in the arcade gives Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) the opportunity to find a replacement part to fix Vanellope’s game, Sugar Rush. Disney promises this sequel will feature plenty of cameos ranging from Disney princesses, Marvel, and even Star Wars.

I always believed that a Wreck-It Ralph sequel would have great potential. While the possibilities of more worlds and cameos to encounter are truly endless, this inclusion of the characters exploring the internet opens up to even more of these possibilities, as well as being ripe for satire on our everyday communication. It’s also worth noting that Walt Disney Animation Studios hasn’t made a true sequel since The Rescuers Down Under in 1990, so it’ll be interesting to see how it will continue the story for one of its modern hits.


Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

  • Director(s): Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
  • Writers(s): Phil Lord
  • Studio(s): Sony Pictures Animation, Marvel Entertainment
  • Distributor(s): Columbia Pictures
  • US release: December 14, 2018

Oh boy, Sony is making yet another Spider-Man movie, how surprising. But let it be known that this ain’t no typical Peter Parker story; it’s something completely different. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
brings animation and the superhero genre to new heights, as Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) takes over as the masked web-slinger following Peter Parker’s death. Lego Movie duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller serve as executive producers, with Lord providing the screenplay.

After a series of lackluster outputs from Sony Pictures Animation, finally, there’s something from it that I’m hotly anticipating. Like I said, this is something very different from most mainstream animated movies. The stylish comic-like animation, the dark tone, the fact it’s a pure action movie instead of a typical family comedy, the potential Sony could deliver is very high. It’s a risk that I do hope pays off greatly and encourages other animation studios to produce more mature content.


Which animated features are you excited for this year? Feel free to tell us in the comments!

Edited by: Hannah Wilkes

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