Monthly Archives: August 2012

Russell Hicks named Nick’s president of content

Russell Hicks

Russell Hicks

Russell Hicks, a 14-year Nickelodeon veteran and its chief creative officer since 2008, has been named to the new position of president of content development and production for the Nickelodeon Group.

Hicks will be based at Nickelodeon’s Burbank and Santa Monica, California offices, where he will lead the company’s animation and live-action development and production teams for all of Nickelodeon’s content platforms.

The announcement was made Wednesday by Nickelodeon Group president Cyma Zarghami, to whom Hicks will continue to report.

Prior to working at Nickelodeon, Hicks was vice-president of marketing of Cartoon Network/Turner brands for Warner Brothers, where he was responsible for the marketing and creative that turned Scooby Doo and the Power Puff Girls into cultural icons. Hicks started his career as an animator that led him to work on Teddy Ruxpin, the first talking teddy bear, for Worlds of Wonder toys. It is this combination of both animation and consumer products that has given Hicks his extensive knowledge of the children’s entertainment world.

The newly created position establishes centralized, West Coast leadership of all Nickelodeon’s content teams, and provides direct, on-the-ground oversight of the largest and most diverse development slate in the network’s history. Reporting to Hicks will be Rich Magallanes, senior vice-president of animation for current series; Margie Cohn, who will serve in the new role of president of content development, working across animation, live-action and digital; Paula Kaplan, who will now serve as executive vice-president of current series; Teri Weiss, executive vice-president of Nickelodeon preschool development and production; Alison Dexter, executive vice-president of Nickelodeon Productions; and Keith Dawkins, senior vice-president and general manager for Nickelodeon’s Nick Jr., Nicktoons and TeenNick channels.

“Russell has been one of the driving forces behind the Nickelodeon brand,” said Zarghami. “As we continue our ambitious evolution of Nickelodeon, Russell will ensure that our rich and diversified development slate, as well as our new and established producing partners, will all serve our creative vision for the network and deliver for our audiences. As the new development season begins, this is the perfect moment for Russell to take the helm.”

Nickelodeon’s recently announced development slate includes more than a dozen new animation, live-action and TV-movie projects as part of the network’s deep commitment to new content. The slate features top creative talent in front of and behind the camera and iconic characters from the network’s most popular series that will begin rolling out this fall and into 2013.

These projects include the CG-animated series Monsters vs. Aliens and the 2D Sanjay & Craig, as well as the highly anticipated return of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in September. For preschool, the network is adding the curriculum-based animated series Monty and Norville, and a pilot for Blaze and the Monster Machines.

Brown Johnson, who has served as the president of animation since 2008, will be leaving her role to pursue her own creative endeavors. Johnson oversaw the network’s successful partnerships with DreamWorks Animation SKG, as well as the brand-new, CG-animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. She also was responsible for leading Nickelodeon’s groundbreaking preschool programming, including Blue’s Clues and Dora the Explorer, for more than two decades.

“Brown’s contributions to Nickelodeon are many, including being the key architect behind our preschool leadership,” added Zarghami. “She leaves an indelible impact on generations of kids for which we will always be incredibly grateful.”

Hicks, as Nickelodeon’s chief creative officer, oversaw all of Nickelodeon creative, on-air promotions, consumer products, brand and advertising divisions, and led the product development and creative positioning of Nickelodeon’s brands and properties and ensured that it represented Nickelodeon’s “Kids’ First” philosophy and supported the company mission to provide surprising and playful experiences for its audiences. In 2009, he led an unprecedented creative review of the Nickelodeon brand and reimagined its logo to represent the growth the company had attained after 30 years, while also maintaining and reflecting the company’s core attributes.

Hicks attended California State University Fullerton, where he studied illustration and design.

Dobie Gillis actor Steve Franken dies at 80

Steve Franken

Steve Franken

Comedic character actor Steve Franken, who portrayed braggart rich kid Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. in the 1959-63 TV series The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, died Friday in Los Angeles. He was 80.

The cause was cancer, his wife Jean said.

The second cousin of Minnesota Senator and humorist Al Franken, he portrayed Bud in the 2001 theatrical cartoon movie The Trumpet of the Swan.

Franken voiced Professor Eugene Atwater in the short-lived 1996 Warner Bros. animated series Road Rovers.

He guested as the voice of Rundle in the 1993 Batman episode “The Mechanic,” and was Mr. Beal in the 1999 Detention episodes “Little Miss Popular” and “Comedy of Terrors.” In 2000, he guested as Mr. Janus in the Static Shock episode “Grounded.”

Franken provided additional voices in Smurfs (1981), The Adventures of Don Coyote and Sancho Panda (1990) and Todd McFarlane’s Spawn (1997).

He was born Stephen Robert Franken in Queens, New York on May 27, 1932. A Cornell University graduate, he began acting in New York City in such plays as Inherit the Wind, the fictionalized drama about the Scopes “Monkey Trial.”

He appeared six times in different roles on the sitcom Bewitched.

Franken guested in 1963’s “The Case of the Deadly Verdict,” the only Perry Mason episode in which the famed fictional lawyer had a client who was convicted.

In 2004, his role in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis won him a TV Land Award nomination for Favorite Fashion Plate – Male.

His first marriage, to Julia Carter, ended in divorce.

Besides his wife, Steve Franken is survived by their daughter, Anne; two daughters from his first marriage, Emily Franken and Abigail Glass; and two grandchildren.

GKids plans to distribute 4 Oscar-qualifying films

Oscar Statuette, Academy Awards

Oscar Statuette, Academy Awards

New York-based animation distributor GKids announced Tuesday that it plans to give runs to four films in order to qualify them for this year’s Oscars.

Three of the four are French features: Zarafa (Pathe), Le Chat du Rabbin (The Rabbi’s Cat) (TF1) and Le Tableau (The Painting) (Rezo). The fourth is Kokurikozaka Kara (From Up on Poppy Hill), from Japan’s Studio Ghibli.

Last year, GKids distributed two Oscar-nominated features: Chico & Rita, from Spain’s Fernando Trueba and set in the milieau of Cuban jazz, and French spy tale Une Vie De Chat (A Cat In Paris).

The four new releases will raise the number of Oscar-qualifying films to 15, which means that the number of nominees for Best Animated Feature will automatically increase from three to four. If just one qualifying animated film is released, the number of Oscar nominees in the category will reach five.

Already, six studio films have received Oscar-qualifying runs: Universal’s Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Sony/Aardman’s The Pirates: Band of Misfits, DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, Disney/Pixar’s Brave, Blue Sky/20th Century Fox’s Ice Age: Continental Drift and Laika/Focus’ ParaNorman.

Scheduled for release later this year are Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania, Tim Burton’s stop-motion Frankenweenie and Rich Moore’s Wreck-It Ralph from Disney, and DWA’s William Joyce adaptation Rise of the Guardians.

A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, with contributions by over a dozen different animation studios, is also scheduled to receive a qualifying run.

The Oscars have had a Best Animated Feature category for 11 years. There has been a field of five nominees three times — twice in the last three years.

With this looking like the Oscar pack, do you have any favorites, or guesses as to which film will take it all this year at the Oscars???

Annie Awards Call for Entries set for Sept. 3



The International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood, announced Monday its “Call for Entries” for the 40th Annual Annie Awards.

Submissions will be accepted beginning September 3.

The Annie Award is recognized by the entertainment industry as the highest and most prestigious honor given in animation by the animation industry. The 40th Annual Annie Awards ceremony is set next February 2 at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los Angeles.

The 2012 Annie Awards will be presented in 30 categories, including two new categories — Best Student Production and Winsor McCay Member’s Choice Award. The new Winsor McCay Member’s Choice Award will be on a separate ballot located on the Annies’ Web site ( While Annie voting is limited to ASIFA-Hollywood’s professional membership, all members, both professional and associate of ASIFA’s worldwide chapters, will be able to vote on this award.

Entries submitted for consideration will be from productions that were released in the United States between January 1 and December 31, 2012. Details on how to enter may be found at The deadline to receive submissions and materials is 5 p.m. Sunday, October 14.

The deadline to join ASIFA-Hollywood or to renew membership in order to participate in the Annie Award voting is Sunday, November 4. Membership information is located at

ASIFA-Hollywood is the world’s first and foremost professional organization dedicated to promoting the art of animation and celebrating the people who create it. Today, ASIFA-Hollywood, the largest chapter of the international organization ASIFA, supports a range of animation activities and preservation efforts through its membership. Current initiatives include the Animation Archive, Animation Aid Foundation, animated film preservation, special events, classes and screenings.

Created in 1972 by veteran voice talent June Foray, the Annie Awards have grown in scope and stature for the past three decades.

For information on ASIFA-Hollywood, visit For information on the Annie Awards, visit

SPA celebrates its 10th with special screenings

Sony Pictures Animation

Sony Pictures Animation

The 10th anniversary celebration of Sony Pictures Animation continues with a five-week series of special screenings featuring SPA’s technically competent but prosaic collection of animated and hybrid films, as well as reunions with filmmakers participating in Q & As following each screening, rare footage/materials from the SPA archives, and giveaways.

The series, which will culminate with an exclusive screening of the highly-anticipated comedy Hotel Transylvania, in theaters September 28, was announced Monday by Bob Osher, president of Sony Pictures Digital Productions, and SPA president of production Michelle Raimo-Kouyate.

Held in conjunction with ASIFA-Hollywood and Animation Magazine, the screenings will commence Wednesday, September 5 with the spotlight on SPA’s 2006 inaugural film, Open Season. Ensuing weekly Thursday presentations on the Sony Pictures Animation campus will feature the Academy Award-nominated Surf’s Up, the blockbuster hit Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, and last summer’s international smash The Smurfs. The series will conclude with a screening of Hotel Transylvania during the Saturday of the film’s opening weekend of release.

Enhancing each film exhibition will be unique offerings of rarely- or never-before-seen footage and materials from SPA’s first decade, and presented in coordination with panel discussions led by directors, producers and key crew members from each individual film. The exclusive weekly events will be moderated by respected animation experts, and the proceedings will be filmed and documented for sharing across the social media channels of Sony Pictures Animation, ASIFA-Hollywood and Animation Magazine.

“Milestones are an essential step for every institution to both celebrate and inspire, and I’m very proud of all that Sony Pictures Animation has accomplished in 10 short years,” Osher said. “I think these screenings and panels will give wonderful perspective as an appreciation of how far we’ve come, what we’ve achieved, and where we can go next.”

“This is an exciting time at Sony Pictures Animation with so much on the horizon, both near and far, but we stand here today because of the wonderful movies and filmmakers who came before us,” said Raimo-Kouyate. “These screenings will properly honor our seminal slate of films, while also giving fans a glimpse toward our bright future.”

“It is truly impressive to see the strides that Sony Pictures Animation has made in its first decade.” said ASIFA-Hollywood president Frank Gladstone. “And it is an honor for ASIFA-Hollywood, working with Animation Magazine, to help commemorate that journey with this terrific retrospective film series.”

Adds Jean Thoren, president and publisher of Animation Magazine: “Throughout this past decade, we have been lucky to witness and chronicle the rise and artistic growth of Sony Pictures Animation in the pages of our magazine. Now we are honored to help celebrate the achievements of this innovative studio along with ASIFA-Hollywood and millions of fans worldwide leading to the opening of Hotel Transylvania.”

The series’ initial four screenings will be hosted in Sony Pictures Animation’s revered Ray Harryhausen Theater, which will feature intimate exhibitions of SPA artwork in and around its facilities. Tickets for these one-time events will be primarily made available to members of ASIFA-Hollywood and through giveaways via Animation Magazine.

The current slate of films, and filmmaking panel participants (pending professional availability) for the Sony Pictures Animation Special Screening Series, goes as follows:

On September 5, SPA will present Open Season, the first film in the studios’ decade-long history. Among the rarities of the evening will be a presentation of the Oscar-winning short, The Chubbchubbs, along with a panel discussion among producer Michelle Murdocca, executive producer Steve Moore and character animator William Haller.

The Academy Award-nominated feature film Surf’s Up will screen on September 13, followed by a panel discussion by Oscar-nominated directors Ash Brannon and Chris Buck, producer Chris Jenkins and VFX supervisor Rob Bredow.

Breakout directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord (21 Jump Street) return to their animation roots to present Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs on September 20. The directors will be joined by producer Pam Marsden and VFX supervisor Rob Bredow for a panel discussion of the film.

SPA’s international animation hybrid sensation, The Smurfs, will screen on September 27. A panel discussion will feature filmmakers and key artists.

The screening series will close its summer run with a Saturday, September 29 offering of Hotel Transylvania — during its opening weekend in theaters — at a public venue in order to accommodate ASIFA family members. Three-time Emmy-winning director Genndy Tartakovsky and producer Michelle Murdocca will lead the festivities.\

Following Hotel Transylvania on September 28, SPA will welcome the July 2013 release of The Smurfs 2, the follow-up to the 2012 global sensation. Cloudy 2: Revenge Of The Leftovers, a sequel to Sony Pictures Animation’s popular animated blockbuster, will reach theaters worldwide in February 2014.

Also now in development is Popeye, based on the King Features comic strip of that name, being directed by Tartakovsky, with the screenplay by Jay Scherick and David Ronn (The Smurfs), and Avi Arad (The Amazing Spider-Man) and Ari Arad (Iron Man) executive producing.

Kazorn and the Unicorn has Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2, Gnomeo & Juliet) at the helm, with co-director Troy Quane. Lloyd Taylor is writing the screenplay. Sam Raimi and Joshua Donen are executive producing.

The hybrid live-action/CG feature Secret Histories, written by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, is being produced by Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Eric Robinson of the Gotham Group with Greg Little.

The Legend of Mor’du Short Announced For Brave Blu-Ray

The Legend of Mor'du

The Legend of Mor'du

With Disney’s announcement for a November 13, 2012 Blu-ray release of the Pixar hit Brave, also comes the news of a new short based in the new Brave world. Extras on the release will include a new short called, The Legend of Mor’du as well as 2001’s theatrically released La Luna (which was shown before Brave in it’s theatrical release).

Based in the magical Scotland of Brave, The Legend of Mor’du will give fans the chance to delve deeper into the legend behind Mordu, as told by the eccentric witch who transformed him. Mor’du, as you may remember, was a prince who was transformed into a bear. Mor’du appeared in the film as a monstrous, 15 feet tall black bear with huge claws, a misaligned jaw, and long, sharp teeth, his body covered in scars and broken weapons and arrows. King Fergus lost his leg in a battle against this bear while protecting his wife and daughter.

Other extras on the newly announced Blu-ray package include:

  • La Luna” Theatrical Short – Fans will love this charming short that accompanied the film in theaters. It follows a young boy on his first night working the family business alongside his father and grandfather.
  • The Legend of Mor’du” Short – This rousing new bonus short film will give fans the chance to delve deeper into the legend behind Mordu, as told by the eccentric witch who transformed him.
  • Brave Old World – Fans will watch as members of the “Brave” production team investigate Scotland, exploring its land, culture, people and dialects. The research they gathered was brought thrillingly to life in thefilm. Also, fans will hear what actress Emma Thompson (voice of Queen Elinor) thinks of Pixar’s take on her homeland.
  • Merida & Elinor – With the creation of Merida and Elinor, the Pixar filmmakers delved deep into the relationship between mother and daughter. Highlighting contrasts in character design, clothing, animation, voicing, even hairstyle, watch how the filmmakers explored this most important of relationships.
  • Bears – Take a look inside the art and design behind the bears in “Brave.” Each of the bears, gentle Mum-Bear and terrifying Mor’du, demanded a different approach to creating their physical appearance and personality.
  • Brawl in the Hall – A fascinating and hilarious inside look at the process of creating “Brave’s” fighting Scots, through animation, crowd simulation and fight choreography – not to mention a room full of grunting men whose vocal chortles added authenticity to the raucous scene.
  • Wonder Moss – Fans will explore how “Brave’s” technical artists examined the real Scottish countryside and studied the laws of nature, then turned thesefindings into computer codes that would blanket Merida’s Scotland in lush moss, lichen and bracken.
  • Magic –The magic and mystery of Scotland is revealed to fans in this charming feature about the legends – from mystical potions to the will-o’-the-wisps – seen in “Brave.”
  • Clan Pixar – At Pixar, getting into character is a team effort. From making Haggis to Kilt Fridays to celebrating the Scottish poet Robert Burns, fans will see how the “Brave” production crew truly embraced Scottish themes and customs fueled the Pixar crew throughout the creation of “Brave.”
  • Once Upon A Scene – A closer look at the evolution of the storylines throughout the production of the film, including alternative openings to the film and many deleted scenes.
  • Extended Scenes – Three separate scenes are highlighted in their extended form. Director Mark Andrews discusses the decision making process that led to the shortened versions of these scenes.
  • “Fergus & Mor’du” An Alternate Opening – Once upon a time, “Brave” had a different opening scene. Eventually cut from the film, fans can see it in its entirety in this bonus feature narrated by the film’s director Mark Andrews.
  • Fallen Warriors Montage – A selection of deleted shots that were cut from the film late in production are presented to fans in various stages ofcompletion through a video montage narrated by director Mark Andrews.
  • Dirty Hairy People – Fans will enjoy this uproarious bonus feature discussing the development of “Brave’s” Scots – including the design of their hair, attire, and dirt-crusted physiques.
  • It is English…Sort Of – This bonus feature helps fans interpret some of the more Scottish lines in the film, thanks to the real Scottish actors who play the key characters and contributed their own dialects and sayings.
  • Angus – A look at Merida’s most trusted companion, Angus, a mighty Clydesdale.
  • The Tapestry – Fans will learn the story behind this embroidered emblem of family unity, which was lovingly crafted by “Brave’s” team of artists.
  • Promotional Pieces – This bonus includes promotional clips for “Brave,” including: “Feast Yer Eyes,” “Relics,” “Clan DunBroch,” “Launch,” and more.
  • Art Gallery – A selection of breathtaking art from the creation of the film, showcasing characters, sets, scenes and stunning landscapes.
  • Wee Gaffes – A video montage of simulation, animation and shot bloopers.
  • Renaissance Animation Man – Get a look at Director Mark Andrews’ love of Scotland, sword-fighting, music and more!
  • Director Commentary
  • Teasers and Sneak Peeks

The Brave disks will release on November 13, 2012. There are actually two Blu-ray versions- a 5-disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition (includes 1 Blu-ray 3D disc, 2 Blu-Ray Discs, 1 DVD, and 1 digital copy), 3-disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack (includes 2 Blu-ray discs and 1 DVD), and a 1-disc DVD edition.

Brave takes top position at British box office



Pixar’s “Brave” collected an estimated $4.3 million from about 565 screens in the United Kingdom, leading that country’s box office in its fourth weekend.

Overseas, Brave proved a money-maker in general. Distributed by Disney, it was No. 3 at the foreign box office, making $14.6 million in 48 countries during its 10th weekend abroad. The cumulative offshore take is now $212.3 million, while global revenues have reached $442.4 million.

DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted opened in Italy for a first-place showing, garnering $7.7 million over five days. The threequel made $11.7 million at 2,933 screens in 39 countries, ranking No. 5 overseas. In total, Madagascar 3 has made $369 million abroad.

Laika Entertainment’s 3D stop-motion animation ParaNorman, distributed by Focus Features/Universal, brought in $3.9 million abroad this weekend from 2,230 theaters in 17 countries. So far, it’s had foreign grosses of $12.5 million.

Meanwhile, Twentieth Century Fox announced that it’s the first of Hollywood’s six major studios to make over $2 billion this year overseas. That point was reached Saturday.

Fox thus “becomes the only distributor to have achieved this milestone six times and in four consecutive calendar years” (2009 through 2012), the studio said.

Helping Fox’s success were such films as Ice Age: Continental Drift (totaling $665.1 million) and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked ($136 million).

This past weekend, Ice Age: Continental Drift made $7.6 million at 5,988 locations in 48 overseas countries.

Ken Walker, 91, was animator for Disney and H-B

Ken Walker

Ken Walker

Animator and director Kenneth David “Ken” Walker, whose work for Disney included such memorable films as Alice in Wonderland and Fantasia, died August 18 in Laguna Hills, California. He was 91.

A member of the Directors Guild of America, he worked for Disney from 1940-42 and 1945-52. He was filmed as one of Disney’s leading animators on the “Disney Cartoons” episode of You Asked For It, which can currently be seen on YouTube.

Walker also worked for many other notable companies, such as Columbia Pictures and Hanna-Barbera. He was the founder and sole owner of N.Y.C. Totem Productions from 1965 to 1971. In 1981, he founded Funnybone Films in Hollywood, California, where he remained owner for 20 years.

In TV, he animated Milton the Monster (1965), Bailey’s Comets (1973) and The Great Grape Ape Show (1977). He animated the ABC Afterschool Specials The Incredible, Indelible, Magical Physical, Mystery Trip (1973) and The Magical Mystery Trip Through Little Red’s Head (1974).

Walker animated the TV specials The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas (1973) and The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat (1982), as well as the TV-movie Clerow Wilson’s Great Escape and The Mad Magazine TV Special, both made in 1974. He was a production designer for the 2000 special It’s the Pied Piper, Charlie Brown and a timing director for the 1994-94 series Skeleton Warriors.

He was a character animator for the 1982 H-B feature film Heidi’s Song and an animator for the 1992 hybrid movie Cool World. As well, he animated the theatrical 1974 short Trail of the Lonesome Pink and was animation director of the independent 1966 short Seeds of Discovery.

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 4, 1921, Walker graduated from North Hollywood High School in the winter of 1940. He served in the United States Navy in the Pacific Theatre from 1942 to 1945.

Ken Walker was predeceased by his first wife, Sally Harriet (Sheppard) Walker, and second wife, Helen (Jacob) Walker.

He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Vera (Phillips) Walker; son Kenneth Alfred Walker of Murrieta, California; daughters Sue (Walker) Bingham of Veradale, Washington and Lynne Sperry (Walker) Bladergroen of Savannah, Georgia; brother George August Gewehr of Tucson, Arizona; grandchildren Glenn Michael Walker, Tiffany Cole Moss, Lindsey Suzanne (Bingham) Skinfill, Ian and Kyle Bladergroen; and great-grandchildren, Brooke and Tyler Walker, Gabriella Rae Skinfill and Aubrey Bladergroen.

A service will be held at 12:45 p.m. Monday August 27 at Riverside National Cemetery.

Four juried Emmy winners in animation announced

Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Emmy

Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Emmy

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced Wednesday the juried winners for the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards in the category of Individual Achievement in Animation.

The 2012 juried winners are Disney’s Phineas And Ferb: “Doof Dynasty” (Disney Television Animation, Disney Channel), Jill Daniels, Background Paint; Disney’s Prep & Landing: Naughty Vs. Nice (Walt Disney Animation Studios, ABC), Bill Schwab, Character Design; Secret Mountain Fort Awesome: “Nightmare Sauce” (Cartoon Network Studios, Cartoon Network), Robertryan Cory, Character Design; and Secret Mountain Fort Awesome: “Nightmare Sauce” (Cartoon Network Studios, Cartoon Network), Chris Tsirgiotis, Background Design.

The Primetime Emmy rules state that in a juried award, all entrants are screened by a jury of professionals in the peer group, with the possibility of one, more than one or no entry being awarded an Emmy. There are no nominations.

The winners, if any, are announced prior to the awards presentation. Deliberations are an open discussion of the work of each entrant, with a thorough review of the merits of awarding the Emmy. At the conclusion of the deliberation on each entry, the jury votes on the question, “Is this entry worthy of an Emmy award — yea or nay?” Only those in unanimous approval win.

These awards will be handed out during the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Saturday, September 15 at the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. They will be taped for a two-hour, edited version which will air Saturday, September 22 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on REELZCHANNEL.

For a complete list of nominations and more information, visit

Release date set for Untitled Minions Project

The Minions

The Minions

Universal Pictures’ “Untitled Minions Project,” a spin-off from the blockbuster movie Despicable Me, will be released December 19, 2014, the studio announced Tuesday night.

Produced by Illumination Entertainment and released by Universal, the original Despicable Me had a $543 million worldwide gross during its 2010 release. The sequel Despicable Me 2 is scheduled to reach theaters July 3, 2013.

The popular little yellow creatures will be featured in the spin-off. However, the comedy adventure’s plot hasn’t been announced.

To be released in 3D-CG, the film will be produced by Illumination’s Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy, with Chris Renaud as executive producer. Pierre Coffin will direct.

Brian Lynch has written the screenplay. Kyle Balda will co-direct.