Paramount Animation

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Paramount Animation
TypeDivision
IndustryAnimation
Motion pictures
Predecessors
FoundedJuly 6, 2011; 10 years ago (July 6, 2011)
FounderBrad Grey
Headquarters,
United States
Key people
ProductsAnimated films
Animated television shows
OwnerViacomCBS
(National Amusements)
Number of employees
112 (2020)[3]
ParentParamount Pictures
WebsiteOfficial website

Paramount Animation is the animation division and label of Paramount Pictures, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS.[4] The division was founded on July 6, 2011, following the box office success of Paramount's own Rango and the end of their distribution deal with DreamWorks Animation in 2012.

The studio's first film The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water was released on February 6, 2015, and its latest release being Rumble on December 15, 2021, with their next release being Blazing Samurai on July 22, 2022.[5] Other films in their upcoming slate include Under the Boardwalk (set for sometime in 2022), The Tiger's Apprentice (set for February 10, 2023), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Next Chapter (set for August 4, 2023), The Shrinking of Treehorn (set for November 10, 2023), and an untitled Transformers film set for July 19, 2024.

Films produced by Paramount Animation have grossed a total of $604.1 million at the box office. Its highest-grossing film to date is The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, which grossed $325.1 million.

Background[edit]

After the closure of Paramount Cartoon Studios (formerly named Famous Studios) in December 1967, Paramount distributed a few animated films from 1973 to 1992 that were produced by outside studios, including Charlotte's Web, Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown, Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!), and Bébé's Kids.

Following Paramount's merger with Viacom, the studio started releasing several animated films based on Nickelodeon's TV shows, including the Rugrats film trilogy, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. The studio also released features based on MTV's Beavis and Butt-Head and Comedy Central's South Park.

In 2005, Paramount's new CEO Brad Grey considered building an in-house animation division, because he saw family films as the "sweet spot" of the movie business.[6] The following year, Paramount signed a distribution deal with DreamWorks Animation, which filled the studio's schedule with animated films including Over the Hedge, Flushed Away, the third and fourth installments of the Shrek series and How to Train Your Dragon. During this deal, the studio released Barnyard in 2006 and Beowulf in 2007.

On March 4, 2011, the studio released its first in-house animated film, Rango. The film was critically acclaimed and grossed over $245 million at the box office. The success of Rango helped Paramount discover its potential in making successful animated features on its own. In June, the studio acquired the rights to produce an animated film based on Penny Arcade's 2010 webcomic The New Kid.[7]

History[edit]

Brad Grey era (2011–2017)[edit]

Early logo.

In July 2011, in the wake of Rango's success, the high hopes for The Adventures of Tintin, and the departure of DreamWorks Animation upon completion of their distribution contract with Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted and Rise of the Guardians in 2012, Paramount announced the formation of a new animation division. The studio would initially produce one animated film a year with a maximum budget of $100 million. A key portion of the films would be co-produced with Nickelodeon and they would be cross-promoted at Nickelodeon's theme parks and hotels.[4]

In October 2011, Paramount named a former president of Walt Disney Feature Animation, David Stainton, president of Paramount Animation.[8] In February 2012, Stainton resigned for personal reasons, with Paramount Film Group's president, Adam Goodman, stepping in to directly oversee the studio.[9] It was also announced that The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, a standalone sequel to 2004's The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, would be the studio's first film and would be released in 2014. A short time after, the film was delayed to early 2015.[10]

In August 2012, Variety reported that Paramount Animation was in the process of starting development of several animated films in collaboration with Nickelodeon, Mary Parent, and J. J. Abrams. Besides the SpongeBob sequel, Paramount Animation considered adapting Dora the Explorer, The Legend of Korra, and Monkey Quest into films. The increase in animated film production was due to DreamWorks Animation being in talks with other studios to distribute their post-2012 animated films.[11]

On July 31, 2013, Paramount Animation announced that they were developing a new live-action/animated franchise in the vein of the Transformers series, which was titled Monster Trucks. Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger were set to write the film's script, Chris Wedge (director of 2002's Ice Age) was set to direct the film, and Mary Parent was set to produce the film, with an initial release date set for May 29, 2015.[12]

The studio's first film, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water on February 6, 2015, to positive reviews[13] and was a box office success, grossing over $325 million worldwide and becoming the fifth highest grossing animated film of 2015.[14] That same month, Paramount fired Adam Goodman due to the studio's thin film slate and Goodman greenlighting box office bombs at the studio.[15] Paramount announced another SpongeBob film later that year.[16]

In the summer of 2015, Paramount Pictures participated in a bidding war against Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures Animation for the rights to produce The Emoji Movie, based on a script by Tony Leondis and Eric Siegel. Sony won the bidding war in July and released the film in 2017.[17] The studio's head Bob Bacon also left Paramount Animation that summer.[15]

In June 2015, it was revealed that Spain's Ilion Animation Studios (the studio behind 2009's Planet 51) won a bidding war against other animation studios to produce a 3D animated tentpole film for Paramount Animation, which was already in production since 2014.[18] In November 2015, Paramount Animation officially announced the project as Amusement Park, (later renamed Wonder Park) with former Pixar animator Dylan Brown helming. The studio also announced Monster Trucks, The Little Prince, Sherlock Gnomes, and the third SpongeBob film.[19]

On May 4, 2016, Paramount Pictures announced that they had signed a deal with UK-based Locksmith Animation to co-develop and co-produce three original animated projects to be released under the Paramount Animation label (with animation produced by DNEG).[20]

The studio's second film, Monster Trucks was released to mixed reviews[21] and became a box office failure, grossing $64.5 million on a $125 million budget and losing the studio $120 million.[15][22][23]

In March 2017, Skydance Media formed a multi-year partnership with Ilion Animation Studios and in July, Skydance announced its first two animated feature films — Luck and Spellbound — which would be distributed by Paramount Pictures as part of their deal with Skydance. On October 10, 2017, Bill Damaschke was hired to head the division as president of animation and family entertainment.[24]

Jim Gianopulos/Mireille Soria era (2017–2021)[edit]

In April 2017, Paramount ended its deal with Locksmith Animation when Paramount chairman and CEO Brad Grey was replaced by Jim Gianopulos, who decided that their projects did not fit in with Paramount's other upcoming releases. Locksmith formed a multi-year production deal with 20th Century Fox four months later.[25][26]

In July 2017, Paramount Pictures named former DreamWorks Animation co-president Mireille Soria as the president of the studio.[27] Soria restructured the studio, increasing its number of employees from 10 to over 110, and created a new goal of releasing two tentpole animated films a year with different animation styles and genres. She would also look over the completion of Sherlock Gnomes and Wonder Park, which were in production before her arrival.

The studio released its third film, Sherlock Gnomes on March 23, 2018, and became a critical[28] and financial disappointment, grossing $90.3 million on a $59 million budget.[29]

In April 2018, Paramount Pictures named former Blue Sky Studios and Nickelodeon Movies producer Ramsey Naito as the executive vice president of the studio.[30][31] She later left the company in order to become the head of animation at Nickelodeon.[32][33] In the same month, Soria greenlit the studio's first three animated features under her leadership to be released in 2020 and beyond: The SpongeBob Movie: It's a Wonderful Sponge (later renamed Sponge On the Run), Reel FX's Monster on the Hill (later renamed Rumble), and Skydance Animation's Luck.[34]

On January 14, 2019, Mireille Soria announced that the team at Paramount Animation will no longer work with Skydance Animation because of their hiring of former Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar CCO John Lasseter as the head of animation.[35] Luck and Spellbound were still going to be released by Paramount Pictures without the Paramount Animation brand[36] until Apple TV+ acquired the distribution rights to both films in February 2021 as part of a larger pact with Skydance Animation.[37]

The studio's fourth film, Wonder Park was released on March 15, 2019. It received mixed reviews[38] and it became a box office flop, grossing only $119.6 million worldwide on a budget of less than $100 million.[39]

In June 2019, Paramount Animation announced a new slate of animated features, including an animated Spice Girls film, a live-action/animated Mighty Mouse film, an animated film adaptation of The Tiger's Apprentice, a musical film titled Jersey Crabs (later Under the Boardwalk), and the Imagine Entertainment co-production The Shrinking of Treehorn.[40]

The studio's fifth film The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run theatrically released only in Canada on August 14, 2020, with a March 4, 2021 release in the United States on Paramount+ and a November 5, 2020 release internationally on Netflix due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[41][42][43] The film received positive reviews from critics, and grossed $4.4 million worldwide with a $60 million budget.[44]

In January 2021, Paramount Animation picked up two new films: an adaption of the upcoming Tom Wheeler book C.O.S.M.O.S.[45] and an original animated film from the Comedy Central star Trevor Noah.[46]

Brian Robbins/Ramsey Naito era (2021–present)[edit]

On September 30, 2021, shortly after Brian Robbins replaced Jim Gianopulos as the chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures, it was announced that Ramsey Naito would replace Mireille Soria as the president of Paramount Animation in addition to her current role as the president of Nickelodeon Animation Studio.[1]

The studio's sixth film Rumble was released on December 15, 2021 on Paramount+. It was originally expected to be released on February 18, 2022, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was later moved to Paramount+. It received mixed reviews.

On January 20, 2022, Latifa Ouaou (a veteran of both Illumination Entertainment and DreamWorks Animation) was hired as the executive vice president of movies and global franchises for both Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation Studio. In this position, Ouaou will oversee both streaming and theatrical films for the two companies. It was also revealed that The Tiger’s Apprentice (which was originally being directed by Carlos Baena) will now be directed by Raman Hui, with Paul Watling and Yong Duk Jhun being co-directors. Bob Persichetti (the Academy Award-winning co-director of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) had also joined the film as a producer.[47]

[edit]

Initially, Paramount Animation did not have its own opening logo. On September 19, 2019, Paramount Animation introduced a new animated logo featuring a character nicknamed "Star Skipper".[48] When Mireille Soria came to Paramount Animation, one of the first goals set by Jim Gianopulos was to make a logo for the division. The crew wanted to put a female character in the logo because the studio's team is mostly female, and according to Soria, it captures "the magic" of the division. The logo and the character of Star Skipper were designed by Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie lead visual development artist and art director Christopher Zibach and animated by ATK PLN and Reel FX Creative Studios.[48] This logo debuted in front of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run in 2020. The logo's music is the same as the standard Paramount logo, which is composed by Michael Giacchino.

Process[edit]

Similar to Warner Animation Group and Sony Pictures Animation, Paramount Animation outsources its animation production to other animation studios such as Mikros Image and Reel FX.[49] Rumble was developed outside of Paramount Animation by Reel FX, but the studio acquired the rights to the film and is co-producing it.[50][51]

Like 20th Century Animation with 20th Century Studios, the studio also acts as somewhat of a distribution label for animated films that are made under or acquired by Paramount Pictures. The earliest case of this would be the aborted deal with Locksmith Animation[20]. Additionally, Blazing Samurai, originally expected to be distributed by Open Road Films and later STX Entertainment, was acquired by Paramount to distributed under Paramount Animation.[5]

Paramount Animation will not have an in-house animation style. According to Mireille Soria, each film will have their own unique style created by the filmmakers, which would be helped by outsourcing animation to different vendors.[52]

Filmography[edit]

Feature films[edit]

Released films[edit]

# Title Release date Co-production with Animation service(s) Directors Budget Box office RT MC
1 The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water[a] February 6, 2015 Nickelodeon Movies
United Plankton Pictures
Rough Draft Studios
Iloura
Paul Tibbitt
Mike Mitchell (live-action sequence)
$74 million $325.1 million[53] 81% 62
2 Monster Trucks[a] January 13, 2017 Disruption Entertainment
Nickelodeon Movies
Mr. X
Moving Picture Company
Chris Wedge $125 million $64.4 million[54] 31% 41
3 Sherlock Gnomes March 23, 2018 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Rocket Pictures
Mikros Image
(London and Paris)
Reel FX Creative Studios
John Stevenson $59 million $90.3 million[55] 27% 36
4 Wonder Park March 15, 2019 Nickelodeon Movies
Midnight Radio Productions (uncredited)
Ilion Animation Studios
Dylan Brown (uncredited)[56] $100 million $119.5 million[57] 34% 45
5 The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run[a] August 14, 2020[b]
November 5, 2020 (Netflix)[c]
March 4, 2021 (Paramount+)
Nickelodeon Movies
United Plankton Pictures
MRC
Mikros Image (Montreal)
Mr. X[58]
Tim Hill $60 million $4.8 million[59] 68% 65
6 Rumble December 15, 2021 WWE Studios
Walden Media
Reel FX Animation Studios
New Republic Pictures
Paramount+
Reel FX Creative Studios Hamish Grieve TBA N/A 38% 48

Upcoming films[edit]

# Title Release date Ref. Co-production with Animation service(s) Directors
7 Blazing Samurai[d] July 22, 2022 [5] Blazing Productions, Ltd.
Aniventure
Brooksfilms
Huayi Brothers
Cinesite Rob Minkoff
Mark Koetsier
8 Under the Boardwalk 2022 [60] New Republic Pictures[61] DNEG[62] David Soren[63]
9 The Tiger's Apprentice February 10, 2023 [60][64][65] Mikros Image (Paris)[66] Raman Hui
10 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Next Chapter August 4, 2023 [67][68] Nickelodeon Movies
Point Grey Pictures
Mikros Image (Montreal and Paris)[69] Jeff Rowe
11 The Shrinking of Treehorn November 10, 2023 [70][71] Imagine Entertainment Animal Logic Ron Howard
12 Untitled Transformers animated film July 19, 2024 [72][73][74] Entertainment One
Di Bonaventura Pictures
TBA Josh Cooley

In development[edit]

Title Notes
C.O.S.M.O.S. [75]
Rainbow Serpent Co-production with Imagine Entertainment and Animal Logic[70]
Stray Dogs [76]
Untitled Avatar animated film Co-production with Nickelodeon Movies and Avatar Studios[77]
Untitled Hanazuki: Full of Treasures film Co-production with Entertainment One[78]
Untitled Mighty Mouse film[a] [65]
Untitled Spice Girls film [65]

Accolades[edit]

Annie Awards[edit]

Year Film Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2015 The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water Animated Effects in an Animated Production Brice Mallier, Paul Buckley, Brent Droog, Alex Whyte and Jonothan Freisler Nominated [79]
Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Tom Kenny

Golden Raspberry Awards[edit]

Year Film Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2018 Sherlock Gnomes Worst Actor Johnny Depp Nominated [80]
Worst Screen Combo
His fast-fading film career

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Combines live-action with animation
  2. ^ Released theatrically only in Canada
  3. ^ Released on Netflix internationally
  4. ^ Distribution only

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]