While its live-action film side has been suffering from a dearth of successful releases, Sony's Animation department has been going from strength to strength with a series of hits. The company has now set several new projects in motion, including an original Genndy Tartakovsky ‘toon called Can You Imagine?
Tartakovsky, the Samurai Jack creator who managed to pull the Adam Sandler-spawned Hotel Transylvania out of a creative tailspin, and who is now working on an updated take on Popeye, is one of the company’s leading lights. He’s now locked in not only a Hotel Transylvania sequel but also the new project, Can You Imagine?, which is being kept largely under wraps but which appears to be a journey through one boy’s imagination. With his experience working on multiple episodes of shows such as Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Dexter’s Laboratory, Tartakovsky is able to juggle different projects, with Popeye being readied for a 2016 release and Hotel Transylvania 2 apparently still targeting a September 2015 date. The premise of Can You Imagine? sounds superficially similar to Pixar's Inside Out, but we assume that the different approaches will become clear as both projects approach release.
In related ‘toon news, Sony is also taking over the Smurfs franchise, following up the two successful live-action/CG hybrids with a new, all-animated adventure that will try to capture the feel of Smurfs creator Peyo’s original artwork. Gnomeo & Juliet director Kelly Asbury is at work on that one, which is also being kept quiet but looks to be an origin story, according to The Hollywood Reporter’s sources. That one is scheduled to hit US cinemas on August 14 next year.