×

For 2019, Big Sequels on Deck Look to Boost Oscar Race

Some of the year’s most-anticipated sequels dominate 2019’s animated feature release slate, and are already adding heat to the race for next year’s Oscars.

Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” and Disney’s “Frozen 2” are as close to sure-fire commercial hits as they come. Both franchises, however, bring with them the kind of sky-high expectations in which anything short of excellence will disappoint, putting pressure on each studio to deliver at the highest level.

And the competition is tough. Warner Bros. is surely looking to reverse a perceived snub when the Academy passed over “The Lego Movie” with “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” which has already won critics over but its less-than-blockbuster box office surprised observers.

Hot on its heels is DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” which is earning writer and director Dean DeBlois praise for making the rare trilogy finale that delivers.

“Dragon” has already made more than $85 million overseas in less than two weeks of release. It opens Stateside March 22.

Further down the release sked is Illumination’s “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” now with 100% less Louis C.K., and Aardman looks to get its silent kids star back into the nom circle with “Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon.”

Carrying the banner for original features is Portland, Ore.-based Laika, now backed by Annapurna Pictures and following up its hit “Kubo and the Two Strings” by searching its Pacific Northwest backyard for a legendary creature in “Missing Link,” starring the voice of Hugh Jackman.

Blue Sky recruits Will Smith and Tom Holland for the comic buddy movie “Spies in Disguise,“ and Paramount opens the doors this spring to “Wonder Park,” produced in conjunction with Spain’s Ilion Animation.

The indie contenders picture becomes more clear as major festivals such as Annecy and Ottawa make their selections, but “Weathering With You,” director Makoto Shinkai’s follow-up to the hit “Your Name,” is worth watching as an anime release with the potential to crash the party.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • La Rouei

    Lumiere Festival to Premiere Epic Restoration of 'La Roue'

    LYON, France  —  This coming Saturday and Sunday, the Lumière Festival will turn back the clock nearly one hundred years as the festival premieres a new completed reconstruction of Abel Gance’s 1923 masterpiece “La Roue” (“The Wheel”) that restores the classic to its original 7.5 hour length. Consisting of a prologue and four movements, “La [...]

  • Lina Wertmuller portrait

    Lina Wertmuller’s Exceptional Career Revisited

    In the still American-led realm of the Academy Awards, it’s unusual for the helmer of a film not in the English language to score a Best Director nomination. It’s far rarer still, meanwhile, for a woman to be nominated in the category at all: just five have done so in 91 years. Only one director, [...]

  • Fifth Seal

    Lumière Festival Honors Hungary, Screens Classics ‘Women,’ ‘The Fifth Seal’

    For the fifth year running, Lyon’s Lumière Festival will honor Hungarian cinema and invite guests of the Hungarian National Film Fund to present two classic Hungarian films from important national filmmakers, Márta Mészáros’ “Ők ketten” (“Women”) and Zoltán Fábri’s “Fifth Seal.” Both films will be presented by Lumière Festival special guest Marina Vlady on Oct [...]

  • Godzilla

    Criterion Collection President Peter Becker on Storytelling, Bergman vs Godzilla, B-movies

    LYON, France  —  The Lumière Festival’s International Classic Film Market (MIFC) kicked off on Tuesday in Lyon, France, with a keynote address by Criterion Collection President Peter Becker. The exec discussed the company’s storied history and evolution over the decades into a leading publisher of classic and contemporary films from around the world in high-quality [...]

  • Manuel Chiche

    Boutique Distributor Manuel Chiche Offers A State of The Industry

    LYON, France  — Manuel Chiche is riding high. Since June, his boutique distribution outlet The Jokers set admission records with Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite,” selling nearly 1.7 million tickets in France and still going strong as the film heads into its 19th week in theaters. Indeed, “Parasite” is now the second most successful Palme d’Or winner of [...]

  • Toni

    Italy’s L'Immagine Ritrovata Expected to Take Over France’s Eclair Cinema

    LYON, France  —  Leading Italian restoration company L’Immagine Ritrovata’s acquisition of renowned film lab Eclair Cinéma, announced last month, is expected to be approved by the French Commercial Court of Nanterre at the end of November or beginning of December, according to a source familiar with the deal. L’Immagine Ritrovata’s French subsidiary, L’Image Retrouvée, last [...]

  • Jay and Silent Bob Reboot

    Film Review: 'Jay and Silent Bob Reboot'

    In a film culture overrun by Marvel epics, wild-stunt action flicks, and other grandiose juvenilia, it is often said that the mid-budget, script-driven movie for adults is becoming a thing of the past. But don’t tell that to Kevin Smith, whose “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot,” a shaggy antic throwaway that premiered Tuesday in the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content