Sony Forecasts 'Chance of Meatballs'
Future looks bright and 'cloudy' for Sony Pictures AnimationLOS ANGELES --
The fledgling Sony Pictures Animation announced Tuesday, Aug. 15 that it would adapt the beloved picture book "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" into its latest feature film.
"This is a project that we put into development right after we formed the company," says Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment president Yair Landau at the roadshow presentation to introduce SPA's slate of upcoming films. "It's one of my favorite books. It's something we chased right away."
"Meatballs" is based on the book by Judi and Ron Barrett about a fictional town called Chewandswallow where the sky provides all meals, whether it's a soup rain, mashed potatoes snow or hot dogs blowing in at five miles per hour. Unlike the book, the film will give the origins of the phenomena: a scientist who seeks to end world hunger by creating the unusual weather. Unfortunately, the weather, like sour milk, takes a turn for the worse.
The afternoon presentation included a tongue-in-cheek teaser trailer that spoofed disaster films. Development on the project, written and directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, has been underway for six months.
The presentation also included sneak previews of SPA's first feature "Open Season." The animated film starring the voices of Martin Lawrence and Ashton Kutcher as forest creatures turning the tables on humans during hunting season will open nationwide on Sept. 29. Jill Culton ("Toy Story"), who co-directs the film with Roger Allers ("The Lion King") and Anthony Stacchi ("Antz"), promises the film will deliver two "splendid losers" as its furry protagonists as well as the "most excellent mullet you've ever seen" on the hunter-villain voiced by Gary Sinise.
Producer Chris Jenkins also introduced the Ash Brannon and Chris Buck-directed film "Surf's Up" about a penguin who enters the Big Z Memorial Surf Off, while Stacchi sneak previewed "Hotel Transylvania," a tale about the heir to a castle turning the lives of a group of monsters upside down. "Surf's Up" will be released on June 8, 2007. No release date for "Transylvania" was announced.
Executive Vice President Penney Finkelman Cox announced SPA's intent to release "one movie every 12 to 18 months," while fellow exec VP Sandra Rabins described the company's animation philosophy.
"At Sony Pictures Animation, we're steeped in the tradition of classic animation and have a deep respect for our past, but we are extremely excited about our future," she says. "SPA is not going to have a house style. We have talented directors, producers and animators ... [and] we want each of our filmmakers to bring a unique style and their vision to each project."
SPA, a part of Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment, was formed in May 2002.