The makers of “The Nut Job” — Gulfstream Pictures, Redrover Co. Ltd. and ToonBox Entertainment Ltd.— have launched a trio of animation projects as part of a lab to develop toons for film and TV.
The move comes with “The Nut Job” (pictured above) having grossed a solid $42 million in the U.S. in its first two weeks and a sequel already announced for 2016.
The initiative — dubbed The Gulfstream ToonBox Animation Lab and located in Toronto and Los Angeles — is aimed at providing a means to determine the viability of a project before commissioning an entire script by first developing treatments and creating the animated world. The first projects in the program are:
— A romance set inside a turf war in the animal kingdom by Jason Horwitch, whose credits include “A-Space” and “Rubicon.”
— A coming-of-age comedy by writer/producer/actress Rebecca Drysdale (“Key and Peele”).
— An aspirational comedy by Alfredo Botello, writer/co-director of the web series “Reality Reboot.”
“Our Animation Lab is unique because it is centered on the writers and the engaging characters and amazing worlds they can develop,” said Gulfstream partner Bill Bindley.
Jay Ahn, Toonbox president and CEO, said, “The Animation Lab will allow for the best and most promising projects to be afforded a dedicated space for first-rate creative and narrative development.”
Gulfstream Pictures also produced the romcom “Blended,” starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore for a Memorial Day release by Warner Bros., where Gulfstream has a first-look deal. The banner is also developing Dan Gutman’s book series “The Genius Files” for Warners with Robert Rugan writing, and action-thriller “The Feud,” from “The Conjuring” writers Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes.
Bindley and Mike Karz are partners in two-year-old Gulfstream. “After the success of ‘The Nut Job’ and anticipation for ‘The Nut Job 2,’ the Animation Lab allows Gulfstream and ToonBox to together bring to life for global audiences a whole new slate of exciting animated projects,” Karz said