Animation News Roundup 1/6/17

Happy New Year, friends! The readership of this site is absolutely amazing, and you’re why I keep doing it. Thank you!

This week, we have news on the apparently eternal video game voice actors strike. There’s also a rundown of how animated films did in the box office last year. It might surprise you!

Finally, a couple of great recommendations in animation. If you truly love voice acting and cartoons, one of these will especially resonate with you.

Which Games are Affected by the Voice Actors Strike?

SAG-AFTRA logo

The SAG-AFTRA video game voice actors strike still has no end in sight. Although the effects of the strike have been minimal so far, that’s going to change if it keeps up much longer.

As previously reported, the strike targets 11 large publishers. Between them, most AAA developers are represented, along with a smattering of small studios. Indies won’t be affected, and to be honest, those indie studios probably treat the actors better, too.

The kicker is that the strike only blocks work on games that began production after February 17, 2015. Games that signed on their voice actors before then can keep recording on schedule. Since AAA games can easily take several years to build, devs have yet to truly feel the brunt of the strike.

New games start production all the time, though, and sooner or later those games are going to need voice actors. SAG-AFTRA maintains a list of “struck video game titles”, meaning games that will have a hard time hiring voice actors.

After filtering through the trailers, DLC, and mobile apps, the list is relatively short. Highlights include a new Brothers In Arms title, a couple of new Lego games, and Song of the Deep.

The list will only grow, though. Fingers crossed the strike resolves soon.

The #1 Top-Grossing Cartoon in 2016

Dory, the blue tang fish from Finding Dory

Box Office Mojo is the #1 source for ticket sales figures in the United States. It’s a great way to keep tabs on the success of films, by the time-honored metric of butts in seats.

By taking a look at the newly completed 2016 box office numbers, one can see that animated films are doing great.

The #1 movie in theaters for 2016 was Finding Dory. It beat out Marvel movies, a Harry Potter movie, and even a Star Wars movie!

Furthermore, of the top 10, three films were animated. Four if you count The Jungle Book.

Box office isn’t everything, of course, and these days digital sales are arguably even more important. Taking those into account, Captain America: Civil War is the overall winner of 2016. But still, take ‘em where you can! Go, Dory!

Sing Did Pretty Good, too!

Big Daddy, the criminal gorilla from Sing. Voiced by Peter Serafinowicz

Meanwhile, musical epic Sing has steadily climbed week over week. It released alongside Rogue One, which is pretty stiff competition. The latest from Illumination was a calculated risk by Universal. They bet on families choosing Sing over multiple repeat viewings of the Star Wars film, and they seem to have been right. Cartoon Brew reports that the movie has earned $180 million in its first two weeks, despite never actually defeating Rogue One for the top box office spot. That puts it ahead of Moana and just about every animated film that’s not Finding Dory, Secret Life of Pets, or Zootopia.

Also from Cartoon Brew: Here’s a list of every song in Sing.

Hulu Strikes a Blow for Animation Dominance, Gets Complicated

Hulu recently struck a deal that might make them the top streaming choice for animation fans. The company announced an exclusive arrangement with Disney to stream over 50 titles. It’s a mix of animated and live-action features, but it includes heavyweights like Mulan, Pocahontas, and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Meanwhile, Netflix’s 2012 deal with Disney took effect this fall. Under the terms of that arrangement, Disney (including Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm) titles may stream on Netflix simultaneously to airing on HBO, Showtime, and other subscription cable channels.

So, for new Disney movies, Netflix. For old Disney movies, Hulu. Yikes!

Life, Animated Premiering on A & E

Speaking of Disney: Saturday, January 7 will see the television premiere of Life, Animated. It’s a truly beautiful documentary about an autistic boy who learned to relate to the world through Disney characters.

As a reader of this site, you know the power of cartoons, animation, and voice acting. If you’ve ever doubted it, or you just want to have it affirmed, I highly recommend this film.

Spider-Who?

Miles Morales Spider-Man

Sony has been working on a new animated Spider-Man movie for some time, now. Although live-action rights for the character have (finally!) returned to Marvel, Sony is still free to use the character in animated form.

In a nice piece of investigative reporting, Comic Book Movie noticed that a casting call for a new Sony animated project seemed, well, like a bunch of BS.

They’re looking to cast a new movie called Cabin Fever, featuring Terrence, “a young African-American/Puerto Rican teen from Brooklyn; he is new to this suburban school and now feeling out of place, overwhelmed, pressured with new responsibilities, and dealing with puberty; while trying to fit in he must do his best to stay out of trouble; along the way in developing his identity he’s losing old friends but now making a new one, Pete.”

Once you realize that there is no such movie as Cabin Fever, it’s not hard to wonder if the casting call is a cover for something big. Like a superhero movie. From there, it’s not a big stretch to realize that Terrence is likely a cover for Miles Morales, the much-beloved African-American/Hispanic Spider-man.

Read the full article here.

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