Sony Pictures Animation Inc. is an American animation studio owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment through their Motion Picture Group division and founded on May 9, 2002. The studio's films are distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures Releasing under their Columbia Pictures label, while all direct-to-video releases are released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
The first Sony Pictures Animation film, Open Season, was released on September 29, 2006. Its latest release was The Angry Birds Movie 2 on August 13, 2019, with their next release currently set to be Ico on November 27, 2019.
In 2001, Sony Pictures considered selling off its visual effects facility Sony Pictures Imageworks. After failing to find a suitable buyer, having been impressed with the CGI sequences created for Stuart Little 2, and seeing the box office success of DreamWorks Animation's Shrek and Disney/Pixar's Monsters, Inc., SPI was reconfigured to become an animation studio. Astro Boy, which had been in development at Sony since 1997 as a live-action film, was set to be SPI's first all-CGI film. On May 9, 2002, Sony Pictures Animation was established to develop characters, stories and movies, with SPI taking over the digital production while maintaining its visual effects production. Meanwhile, SPI produced two short films, the Academy Award-winning The ChubbChubbs! and Early Bloomer, as a result of testing its strengths and weaknesses in producing all-CG animation.
On its first anniversary on May 9, 2003, Sony Pictures Animation announced a full slate of animated projects in development: Open Season, an adaptation of a Celtic folk ballad Tam Lin, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Surf's Up, and a feature-length version of the short film The ChubbChubbs!.
Its first feature film was Open Season, released in September 2006, which became Sony's second-highest-grossing home entertainment film in 2007 and spawned three direct-to-video sequels. Its second feature film, Surf's Up was released in June 2007, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, and won two Annie Awards. A motion-captured animated film, Neanderthals, written and produced by Jon Favreau, was cancelled sometime in 2008, after four years in development. SPA's first 3D movie since the IMAX 3D release of Open Season, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, was released in September 2009, and was nominated for four Annie Awards, including Best Animated Feature. The Smurfs (2011) was the studio's first CGI/live-action hybrid. SPA's parent company Sony Pictures had partnered in 2007 with Aardman Animations to finance, co-produce and distribute feature films. Together, they produced two films: Arthur Christmas (2011), and The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012), which was SPA's first stop-motion film. In September 2012, SPA released Hotel Transylvania, which grossed over $350 million worldwide and launched a successful franchise with two sequels and a TV series. SPA's latest releases are Addie, a stand-alone spin-off of The Emoji Movie, and The Angry Birds Movie 2, a sequel to the 2016 film The Angry Birds Movie produced by Rovio Animation. SPA has since signed Genndy Tartakovsky to a long-term deal with the studio to develop and direct original films.
The studio is currently working on The Mitchells vs. the Machines, a robot apocalypse/road trip film written and directed by Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe while produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (2020), Vivo (2020), Hotel Transylvania 4 (2021), and Addie 2 (2022). It has many other projects in development, including an animated Ghostbusters spin-off film, an untitled film from Jon Saunders, Fixed, and Black Knight.
On November 3, 2014, the studio collaborated with Frederator Studio's Cartoon Hangover on GO! Cartoons, an incubator series consisting of 12 short films, with at least one short film being developed into a series. The short films were funded by SPA, with the additional goal of attracting new talent for the studio.
According to Kristine Belson, president of SPA, the studio produces films on a 1:1 development-to-production ratio, meaning that the studio puts films into development as much as it places films in production, unlike other animation studios.
The studio has plans to produce adult animated content for digital platforms.
In a similar fashion to the Warner Animation Group and Paramount Animation, the studio often collaborates with Sony Pictures Imageworks to produce its films. Though certain films are sometimes outsourced to different studios. Some films, such as Arthur Christmas, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Ico, and Wish Dragon, were acquired by Sony Pictures Animation to be released under their banner; while others, such as Goosebumps and Peter Rabbit, was made with no involvement with the studio.
- Main article: List of Sony Pictures Animation productions
|Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs||2||2009–present|
|Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse||1|
- ABSony Pictures Animation was not involved with the first Angry Birds Movie.
See also Edit
- The company was the subject of a false rumor spread by internet reviewers and critics, claiming that Sony had cancelled every planned film from Sony Pictures Animation (including Popeye, Medusa, Harold and the Purple Crayon, an animated reboot of Ghostbusters, etc) because of the critical backlash received by The Emoji Movie. However, this was merely a false rumor instigated by internet reviewers and critics, and spread by standard internet users, mainly detractors of The Emoji Movie. Sony has not canceled any films from Sony Pictures Animation due to the movie. All films in development at the time of its release remained in development.
- However, as of May 2019, all films except for the animated Ghostbusters film were removed from the production schedule after the huge success of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.