Sony Pictures Animation Inc. is an American animation studio that is a subsidiary of Sony Pictures and division of their Motion Picture Group, founded on May 9, 2002. The studio works closely with Sony Pictures Imageworks, which handles digital production. All of its theatrical releases are currently distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures Releasing under their Columbia Pictures label, and all home video releases are distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The studio's movies and franchises include Open Season, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Smurfs, Hotel Transylvania, the 2007 Oscar-nominated film Surf's Up, and The Emoji Movie.
In 2001, Sony Pictures considered selling off its visual effects facility Sony Pictures Imageworks. After failing to find a suitable buyer, having been impressed with the CGI sequences created for Stuart Little 2, and seeing the box office success of DreamWorks Animation's Shrek and Disney/Pixar's Monsters, Inc., SPI was reconfigured to become an animation studio. Astro Boy, which had been in development at Sony since 1997 as a live-action film, was set to be SPI's first all-CGI film. On May 9, 2002, Sony Pictures Animation was established to develop characters, stories and movies, with SPI taking over the digital production while maintaining its visual effects production. Meanwhile, SPI produced two short films, the Academy Award-winning The ChubbChubbs! and Early Bloomer, as a result of testing its strengths and weaknesses in producing all-CG animation.
On its first anniversary on May 9, 2003, Sony Pictures Animation announced a full slate of animated projects in development: Open Season, an adaptation of a Celtic folk ballad Tam Lin, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Surf's Up, and a feature-length version of the short film The ChubbChubbs!.
Its first feature film was Open Season, released in September 2006, which became Sony's second-highest-grossing home entertainment film in 2007 and spawned three direct-to-video sequels. Its second feature film, Surf's Up was released in June 2007, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, and won two Annie Awards. A motion-captured animated film, Neanderthals, written and produced by Jon Favreau, was cancelled sometime in 2008, after four years in development. SPA's first 3D movie since the IMAX 3D release of Open Season, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, was released in September 2009, and was nominated for four Annie Awards, including Best Animated Feature. The Smurfs (2011) was the studio's first CGI/live-action hybrid and is currently its most successful release. SPA's parent company Sony Pictures had partnered in 2007 with Aardman Animations to finance, co-produce and distribute feature films. Together, they produced two films; Arthur Christmas (2011), and The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012), which was SPA's first stop-motion film. In September 2012, SPA released Hotel Transylvania, which grossed over $350 million worldwide and launched a successful franchise with a sequel, a TV series, and an upcoming third installment, which is slated for a 2018 release. SPA's latest releases are Smurfs: The Lost Village, the fully animated reboot to the live-action Smurfs films; The Emoji Movie, a computer-animated film based off emojis, and The Star, an animated comedy based on the Nativity of Jesus. SPA has since signed Genndy Tartakovsky to a long-term deal with the studio to develop and direct original films.
The studio is currently working on Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), and Vivo (2020). It has many other projects in development, including an untitled robot apocalypse/road trip film directed by Michael Rianda; an animated Ghostbusters film, and an untitled superhero film directed by Shannon Tindle, creator of Focus Features/Laika's Kubo and the Two Strings. Additionally, SPA has three currently untitled projects slated for 2020; the release dates are April 3, 2020, July 24, 2020 and September 25, 2020.
On November 3, 2014, the studio made a deal with Cartoon Hangover to create GO! Cartoons, an incubator series consisting of 12 short films, with at least one short film being developed into a series. The short films were funded by SPA, with the additional goal of attracting new talent for the studio.
According to Kristine Belson, president of SPA, the studio produces films on a 1:1 development-to-production ratio, meaning that the studio puts films into development as much as it places films in production, unlike other animation studios.
The studio also currently has plans to produce adult animated content for digital platforms.
|1||Open Season||September 29, 2006||$85 million||$197 million||48%||49|
|2||Surf's Up||June 8, 2007||$100 million||$149 million||78%||64|
|3||Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs||September 18, 2009||$100 million||$243 million||87%||66|
|4||The Smurfs||July 29, 2011||$110 million||$563 million||22%||30|
|5||Arthur Christmas||November 23, 2011||$100 million||$147 million||92%||69|
|6||The Pirates! Band of Misfits||April 27, 2012||$55 million||$123 million||86%||73|
|7||Hotel Transylvania||September 28, 2012||$85 million||$358 million||45%||47|
|8||The Smurfs 2||July 31, 2013||$105 million||$347 million||14%||34|
|9||Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2||September 27, 2013||$78 million||$274 million||70%||59|
|10||Hotel Transylvania 2||September 25, 2015||$80 million||$473 million||54%||44|
|11||Goosebumps||October 16, 2015||$58 million||$150.2 million||76%||60|
|12||Smurfs: The Lost Village||April 7, 2017||$60 million||$197.2 million||38%||40|
|13||The Emoji Movie||July 28, 2017||$50 million||$217 million||9%||12|
|14||The Star||November 17, 2017||$20 million||$61 million||44%||42|
|Peter Rabbit||February 9, 2018|
|Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation||July 13, 2018|
|Goosebumps: Horrorland||October 12, 2018|
|Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse||December 14, 2018|
|Untitled films||April 3, 2020|
|July 24, 2020|
|September 25, 2020|
|Vivo||December 18, 2020|
Films in development
|How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack|
|Kazorn and the Unicorn|
|Harold and the Purple Crayon|
|Genndy Tartakovsky's Can You Imagine?|
|Untitled Michael Rianda film|
|Untitled Shannon Tindle film|
|Untitled Jon Saunders film|
|1||Open Season 2||January 27, 2009|
|2||Open Season 3||January 25, 2011|
|3||Open Season: Scared Silly||March 8, 2016|
|4||Surf's Up 2: WaveMania||January 17, 2017|
|The ChubbChubbs!||July 3, 2002|
|Early Bloomer||May 9, 2003|
|Boog and Elliot's Midnight Bun Run||January 30, 2007|
|The ChubbChubbs Save Xmas||August 8, 2007|
|The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol||December 2, 2011|
|So You Want to Be a Pirate!||August 28, 2012|
|Goodnight, Mr. Foot||October 26, 2012|
|The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow||September 10, 2013|
|Super Manny||October 2, 2013|
|Earl Scouts||October 11, 2013|
|Steve's First Bath and Attack of the 50-Foot Gummi Bear||January 28, 2014|
|Puppy!||July 28, 2017|
|#||Title||Premiere date||End date||Network|
|1||Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: The Series||February 20, 2017||present||Cartoon Network|
|2||Hotel Transylvania: The Series||June 25, 2017||present||Disney Channel|
|3||Ghostbusters: Ecto Force||Early 2018||TBA||Nickelodeon|
- This company has not yet made a G-rated production, as every one of its feature-length films so far has been rated PG by the MPAA (as of the short films Boog and Elliot's Midnight Bun Run and The ChubbChubbs Save Xmas), due to stricter reasons.