Superheroes stories are a genre that, like many others, rarely get explored in feature animation. Even more rare are the number of films based on actual comic book properties. Even last year’s Big Hero 6, despite being based off a Marvel property, only used the source material as inspiration to create something entirely new. To that end, fans have always wondered what an animated movie based on an actual comic property (emphasis on based, not inspired by) would look like. Luckily, the folks at Sony may be the first to answer this question!
Courtesy of Collider, Sony Pictures’ new chairman Tom Rothman made the announcement at CinemaCon yesterday that the studio has officially green-lit production on a fully animated Spider-Man film. The film is now in production for a July 20, 2018 release window. While Rothman didn’t exactly specify which studio will animate the film, it’s safe to say that Sony Pictures Animation might handle this specific area.
What’s more, the studio will enlist the talents of none other than Phil Lord and Chris Miller! The duo are currently set to write the treatment and produce the film (with a mild possibility that they could be in the director’s chairs).
The film will exist independently from the new string of live-action Spider-Man films, which will see the character relaunched and fully integrated into the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). The first of these live-action films will arrive in July 28, 2017.
By this point, Phil Lord and Chris Miller are fully established as the hottest and most exciting names to watch in animation (and in Hollywood, period). Last year saw their star power skyrocket with The LEGO Movie, which was the recipient of multiple awards and universal praise. This not only kicked off the formation of Warner Animation Group, a creative think tank of writers, producers, and animators responsible for the creation of new animated Warner Bros. films, but also launched a mini-shared universe of LEGO films that are now in development (let’s refer to it as the LCU, or Lego Cinematic Universe).
The duo is well known for their charming, meta-heavy, quick-witted sense of humor and eye for brisk storytelling. All these elements have led Lord and Miller to become the creative powerhouses they are now and will certainly lend themselves well to a character like Spider-Man.
It’s still a mystery as to how they struck a deal with Sony for this film. Emails from last year’s company-wide hack revealed the duo’s dissatisfaction with the state of Sony Pictures Animation and the studio’s failed attempts to get Lord and Miller to spearhead a creative brain-trust in order to re-energize the company (a very similar arrangement to what they have going at Warner Animation Group). At this stage, we can only speculate that the changes in management (Sony Animation is now run by Kristine Belson) may have led Lord and Miller to come back on amicable grounds for this project.
What is clear is that Lord and Miller’s creative slate is going to be pretty busy over the next few full years (with animation and live-action projects). And, speaking of comic book films, they are also quite involved on the DC side of things. At Warner Bros., the first of the LEGO spinoffs will be the LEGO Batman film based on Will Arnett’s portrayal of the character (arriving February 10, 2017). Lord and Miller have also been courted to write the treatment for a live-action film adaptation of The Flash.
Like I’ve said many times before, animation can house more than the standard laugh-out-loud comedy. This news is very exciting, as it may open the door for more comic book properties to have animated treatments on the big screen.
What do you think? Are you excited for Sony’s Spider-Man film?
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes