Anthropomorphic Animated Features, 2015-2016 – by Fred Patten
by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Yarst! This has gotten really complicated, so bear with us. These release dates are mostly useless.
Yes, the official American release date of Minions was July 10, 2015, but it was released in Indonesia on June 17 and in Australia (in English) on June 18, and in the United Kingdom on June 26.
Boonie Bears: A Mystical Winter (Xiong Chumo Zhi Xueling Xiongfeng) was released throughout China on January 30, 2015, but most Americans won’t see it until it is released by Warner Bros., dubbed in English, on January 17, 2016. Frog Kingdom – (“Princess Froglegs goes undercover to compete in her father’s Froglympics in order to avoid being married off to a male suitor,” from IMDB) – is a new movie as far as the U.S. is concerned, produced by Grindstone Entertainment in Santa Monica, California and distributed by Lionsgate Entertainment, also in Santa Monica, and released on June 30, 2015; but it was released first in China on December 28, 2013. A Mouse Tale premiered on February 10 as an American direct-to-DVD release; but its theatrical premiere was not until April 7 in Kuwait. (Interestingly, A Mouse Tale was first distributed on DVD in the U.S. by Lionsgate Entertainment, but it was co-produced by Red Post Animation Studio in Lima, Peru and Vista Sur Films in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was announced by Vista Sur as Rodencia y el Diente de la Princesa http://www.vistasurfilms.com.ar/) Japanese animated features are notoriously unofficially subtitled and available in America on video or DVD within a month or two of their Japanese theatrical release.
All that a release date usually means is that the movie has been released; e.g., is real and should be findable somewhere.
Titles, especially of non-English-language features, are also mostly useless. One theatrical feature about “the animals that DIDN’T make it onto the Ark” was produced in CGI animation by Ulysses Filmproduktion GmbH in Hamburg, and originally released theatrically in thirteen countries between April 9 and August 21, 2015. In the U.S., its release was July 17. In Germany its title is Ooops! Die Arche ist Weg …, in the U.K. it’s Two By Two; in America it was announced with trailers as both Ooops! Noah is Gone … and Two By Two before settling on All Creatures Big & Small. You shouldn’t need translations of its Dutch title (Beestenboot) or Spanish title (¡Upsss! ¿Dónde Está Noé…?). The Japanese feature listed as The Boy and the Beast is actually titled in Japanese Bakemono no Ko, which is literally The Beast’s Child or Son of the Beast (or Monster); who knows what it’ll be titled if it gets an American release? The Spring 2016 Russian feature Volkii i Ovtsi has been announced as coming to the U.S. as Sheep and Wolves. In case you don’t know any Russian, that’s a reversal of the Russian title.
This list is arbitrary. It is probably missing some titles that you’d include; fill them in according to your tastes. It does not include Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle or Back to the Jurassic on the grounds that the monkey and the funny dinosaurs aren’t anthropomorphic. The monster video game characters in Pixels do not seem anthropomorphic. But I do include the “live-action” Jurassic World because its dinosaurs are certainly animated, and some of them are supposed to be intelligent. (But see the BBC article asking why, based on well-known recent paleontological evidence, the dinosaurs in Jurassic World aren’t feathered?) It doesn’t include My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games because are they ever ponies in that movie? It does include both movies where everyone is an anthro animal, and movies with only one anthro animal – or, in the case of Ted 2, an anthro plushie. It does include both theatrical features and direct-to-DVD features. It stretches anthro animals to include gremlins, trolls, Chinese home ornaments, metegol/foosball players and Illumination’s banana-yellow minions. Animated features have been announced about an anthro sausage (Sausage Party, 2016) and anthro luggage (Lost Case, 2018).
Because it’s not worth a separate article, it also includes the single anthro live-action feature Pups United (which has the worst voiceover photography for the talking dogs that I’ve ever seen).
Even if a movie hasn’t been released in North America yet or ever, you may have seen it thanks to a video or a DVD. Home video is wonderful. Back in April 1993, UCLA’s Animation Workshop hosted a birthday party for animation veteran Walter Lantz, then 94 years old. Lantz was wheelchair-bound and very weak, but his mind was still sharp. He died the next March, just before the Animation Workshop could hold a 1994 birthday party for him.
Someone at that 1993 party asked Lantz, who worked on his first cartoon in 1915 and directed his first cartoon in 1924, what he thought had been the greatest technological development in the history of animation. The addition of sound to silent cartoons? The multiplane camera? The replacement of hand cel coloring by computer coloring?
Lantz surprised everyone by insisting that it was the introduction of home VCRs during the Christmas 1975 season. I don’t know if he was recorded, but he said approximately:
“In 1975 animation was a dying art! All the theatrical animation studios were closed except Disney, and by 1975 even Disney was moribund. Animation for TV was all toy and cereal commercials, and was so bland that nobody but little children watched it. The very few festivals of animation were glorifications of the past, attended mostly by animation veterans and cinematic scholars, not the public. Then in 1975 the first home video cassette recorders came out. They took about a decade to become widespread, but suddenly the public was asking TV stations to show more classic cartoons so they could record them to watch whenever they wanted. Movie studios and whoever owned the rights to old cartoons found that there was big money in putting them out on video. The first video releases of old prints were later upgraded to remastered prints with original title cards. Today new animation features are being made because the studios know that they can make as much or more from video sales as from theatrical screenings. Animation that hasn’t been seen in decades is available again, and permanently for whenever anyone wants to see it, not just when its studio re-releases it theatrically or on TV. The animation industry was just short of dying when the first VCRs came out; now it’s bigger than ever!”
Needless to say, in 1975 there were hardly any theatrical animation studios in either North America or abroad, while by 1993 Disney was going through a rebirth, Pixar was starting up, and studios like Warner Bros. were re-establishing their animation departments. Today there are dozens if not hundreds of animation studios all around the world, with new ones being established almost every week. There are animation studios in Armenia, in Moldova, and in Singapore. Here are 49 animated features released or announced for release during 2015, and over two dozen announced so far for 2016; and these are just the features including anthro animals (or things). There are plenty of others featuring only humans.
Strange Magic. ([U.S.] Lucasfilm Ltd./Disney, January 23)
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. ([U.S.] Nickelodeon/Paramount, January 28)
Boonie Bears: A Mystical Winter. ([China] Le Vision Pictures, January 30)
Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Amazing Pleasant Goat. ([China] Creative Power Entertaining, January 31)
Legend of the Moles: The Magic Train Adventure. ([China] China Film Group Corporation, February 5)
Shaun the Sheep: The Movie. ([U.K.] Aardman Animations, February 5)
A Mouse Tale. ([U.S.] Grindstone Entertainment/Red Post Studio/Lionsgate, February 10)
Legend of a Rabbit: The Martial of Fire. ([China] TianJin BeiFang Film Group Ltd., February 21)
Doraemon: Nobita’s Space Heroes. ([Japan] Shin-Ei Animation/Toho, March 7)
Home. ([U.S.] DreamWorks Animation, March 27)
Kung Fu Style. ([China] Shanghai Hippo Animation, April 10)
Little From the Fish Shop. ([Czech Republic] Miracle Film, May 28)
Monkey King Bar Legend 2: Drifting Counterattack. ([China] Jiangxi Kaitian Cartoon Co., Ltd., May 29)
Super Rabbit Heroes. ([China] May 30)
Inside Out. ([U.S.] Pixar, June 19)
Ted 2. ([U.S.] Universal Pictures, June 26)
Frog Kingdom. ([U.S.] Grindstone Entertainment Group/Lionsgate, June 30)
Monkey King: Hero is Back. ([China] Beijing Weiyingshidai Culture & Media, July 10)
The Boy and the Beast. ([Japan] Studio Chizu/Toho, July 11)
Monster Hunt. ([China] Dream Sky Entertainment Co., Ltd., July 16)
Pokémon the Movie XY: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages. ([Japan] OLM, Inc./Toho, July 18)
Le Petit Prince ([France] Onyx Films/Paramount, July 29)
Looney Tunes: Rabbits Run. ([U.S.] Warner Bros. Animation/WB Home Video, August 4)
Mr. Black: Green Star. ([China] Shanghai Animation Film Studio, August 7)
Mune, Guardian of the Moon. ([France] Onyx Films, August 12)
Underdogs. ([U.S.] Weinstein Company/Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales, August 14 – postponed)
El Americano: The Movie. ([U.S.] Animex Studios/FilmSharks International, August 28)
Regular Show: The Movie. ([U.S.] Cartoon Network, digital download September 1, DVD October 13)
Pups United. ([U.S. Lionsgate/Parkside Pictures, September 15)
Hotel Transylvania 2. ([U.S.] Sony Animation, September 25)
Rock Dog. ([U.S.] Reel FX Creative Studios, October 1)
Don Gato: El Inicio de la Pandilla. ([Mexico] Ánima Estudios/Warner Bros., October 9)
The Snow Queen 2: The Snow King. ([Russia] Wizart Animation, October 11)
The Peanuts Movie. ([U.S.] Blue Sky/20th-Century Fox, November 6)
The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar. ([U.S.] Walt Disney TV Animation, November 2015)
Quackerz. ([Russia] Rome Animation & Film Studio, December 12)
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip. ([U.S.] 20th-Century Fox; December 23)
Little Door Gods. ([China] Light Chaser Animation, January 1)
Norm of the North. ([U.S.] Lionsgate/Shout Entertainment, January 15)
The Nut Job 2. ([Canada] ToonBox/Open Road, January 22)
Kung Fu Panda 3. ([U.S.] DreamWorks Animation, January 29)
DOFUS. Livre 1: Julith. ([France] Ankama, February 3)
Monster Trucks. ([U.S.] Vancouver Film Studios/Paramount, March 18)
Open Season [#4]: Scared Silly. ([U.S.] Sony Pictures Animation, Spring)
Sheep and Wolves. ([Russia] Wizart Animation, Spring)
Trouble Down Under. ([Australia] Fastlane Entertainment, April)
Angry Birds. ([U.S.] Sony Animation, May 20)
Finding Dory. ([U.S.] Pixar, June 17)
The Secret Life of Pets. ([U.S.] Illumination/Universal, July 8)
Ice Age [#5]: Collision Course. ([U.S.] Blue Sky/20th-Century Fox, July 22)
Storks. ([U.S.] Warner Bros. Animation, September 23)
Trolls. ([U.S.] DreamWorks Animation, November 4)
Animal Crackers. ([U.S.] Blue Dream Studios, 2016)
Bull Brothers. ([China] Crimson Forest Films, 2015)
Bunyan & Babe. ([U.S.] Toonz Entertainment, 2016)
Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds. ([Spain] BRB Internacional, ?) This was a Spanish-Japanese cartoon TV series in 1982, and BRB has been announcing a CGI theatrical feature for 2014, then 2015, and now 2016.
Robodog. ([U.S.] Marza Animation Planet, 2016)
Sly Cooper. ([U.S.] Rainmaker Entertainment, Inc., 2016)
The Snow Queen 3: Fire & Ice. ([Russia] Wizart Animation, 2016)
Spark. (U.S.] ToonBox Entertainment, 2016)