In a press release issued today about Universal‘s slate of upcoming animated movies produced by Illumination Entertainment, we got word on when the already announced “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and the properly assumed “Despicable Me 3” would hit theaters nationwide. But they also announced an untitled project for 2016, one that is infinitely more interesting than either of these projects—an animated feature written and directed by Garth Jennings, who was responsible (alongside frequent creative partner Nick Goldsmith) for some of the more unforgettable videos in recent memory—bands such as Radiohead, Blur, Pulp, Badly Drawn Boy, Beck, Hot Chip, Supergrass, R.E.M.—as well as big-screen vehicles “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and “Son of Rambow.” Color us intrigued.
Not much is known about the project (you can read the annoyingly cryptic synopsis below), although it should be known that this is the first big-screen project Jennings has made apart from his longtime collaborator Goldsmith. Back in 2012, it was announced that the two would be separating, and presumably retiring the Hammer & Tongs title, with today’s release noting that Illumination head Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy would be serving as the film’s producers. It will be fascinating to see what the director, who is no stranger to whimsy and imaginatively cartoonish scenarios, will do with an animated feature, especially when left to his own devices, away from Goldsmith.
Details and dates below, for those who are interested. We kind of feel like there should be an asterisk attached to the “Despicable Me 2‘ boast of being the year’s highest-grossing animated feature. Considering how unstoppable “Frozen” is, it’s likely that claim will be short-lived.
About UNTITLED ILLUMINATION ENTERTAINMENT 2016 PROJECT 2
This original animated comedy event about courage, competition and carrying a tune will be written and directed by Garth Jennings (Son of Rambow, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). The film will be produced by Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy.
About DESPICABLE ME 3
The team who brought you DESPICABLE ME and the biggest animated hit of 2013, DESPICABLE ME 2, returns to continue the adventures of Gru, Lucy, their adorable daughters—Margo, Edith and Agnes—and the Minions. Get happy on June 30, 2017.
About DR. SEUSS’ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS
A newly imagined version of the enduring holiday classic will be directed by Pete Candeland and adapted from Dr. Seuss’ book by Michael LeSieur. The film will be produced by Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy and executive produced by Audrey Geisel.