News in Animation

2011 is gearing up for an onslaught of animation in films, television and even in commercial television advertisements. With the international success of Disney’s “Tangled,” the modern adaptation of Rapunzel, it appears that animation and those who choose a career in animation are striking gold with adults and children alike.

Nickelodeon recently announced its renewal of Spongebob Squarepants for a ninth season of 26 epidodes, including its 200th episode to be aired in 2012. This long-running cartoon staple has been a favorite of children aged 2-11 since its debut in 1999 and has been entertaining us, and our children, ever since. The Spongebob Squarepants franchise is worth an estimated $8 billion, according to Viacom.

Ozzy Osbourne, or his claymation lookalike, has taken on the role as animated spokesperson for Lipton Brisk Tea, much like his predecessors, Bruce Lee, Elvis Presley and Babe Ruth. This claymation campaign features an animated Ozzy doing what he does best, with clay style and humor, and promotes a new Facebook page that is rumored to allow people make their own claymation animations.

In other animation news, the hit movie, Megamind, is coming to DVD in February 2011. This spectacular release features a new a venture with the original the voice cast, including David Cross, Will Farrell, Tina Fey and Brad Pitt. Megamind: The Button of Doom follows Megamind and Minion on their first day on the job as the new protectors of Metro City. 

Gnomeo and Juliet, produced by Sir Elton John, will be released in theaters by Touchstone on February 11, 2011. The voice cast for the animated garden gnome version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet includes James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Jason Statham, Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, Patrick Stewart and Julie Walters. Rango, starring Johnny Depp as its main character, a gecko, will be released in theaters on March 4, 2011 by Paramount. Other voice talent in Rango includes Timothy Olyphant, Bill Nighy, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina, Ray Winstone, Harry Dean Stanton and Stephen Root.

Dreamworks is currently developing a Bollywood animation featuring monkeys titled Monkeys of Bollywood.  This animated film is based on the Hindu epic poem, The Ramayana, in which two monkeys work together to stop an evil demon from taking over the world, Bollywood style. Fans of Disney’s Phineas and Ferb should also keep an eye out for an animated film in development.

From movies to television, computer-generated or claymation, the world of animation is constantly producing new films and shows (and commercials!) to entertain adults and children. For those who enjoy the experience of watching animation, the coming months promise hours of entertainment and inspiration for further Technicolor imaginings. For the animation professional, rest easy, with this never-ending need for cartoon and caricature entertainment, animation is a career that may be unstoppable.

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