‘Sonic 2’ Headed to Digital and Paramount+ May 24, Disc Aug. 9

Paramount Pictures’ Sonic the Hedgehog 2 will be available on Paramount+ and digital May 24, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD Aug. 9 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

In addition, Sonic 2 and the original Sonic the Hedgehog will be available in a two-movie collection on digital or Blu-ray.

In the sequel, after settling in Green Hills, Sonic (voice of Ben Schwartz) is eager to prove he has what it takes to be a true hero. His test comes when Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) returns, this time with a new partner, Knuckles (Idris Elba), in search of an emerald that has the power to destroy civilizations. Sonic teams up with his own sidekick, Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey), and together they embark on a globe-trotting journey to find the emerald before it falls into the wrong hands.

The film also stars James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Natasha Rothwell, Adam Pally, Shemar Moore and Lee Majdoub.

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Bonus content includes the exclusive animated short “Sonic Drone Home,” featuring Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. 

“Sonic Origins,” a new multi-game collection, will be released on June 23 on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, the Nintendo Switch family of systems and PC. 

Apple TV+ Announces Summer Kids and Family Slate

Apple TV+ has announced summer premiere dates for a slate of new original series, specials, shorts and returning shows for kids and families.

Due June 24 is a special and shorts for “Hello, Jack! The Kindness Show.” Jack and his friends set out to solve a kindness mystery: Who’s behind the random acts of kindness popping up all over town? Plus four shorts where Jack interviews real kids about their acts of kindness in their hometowns, and gives them a DIY bird feeder kit they can hang up as a symbol of being a Kindness Ambassador. “Hello, Jack! The Kindness Show” is co-created and executive produced by McBrayer and Santomero. The series is produced by Emmy Award-winning 9 Story Media Group (“Blue’s Clues & You!,” “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”) with animation by its Oscar-nominated studio Brown Bag Films (“Doc McStuffins,” “Vampirina,” “Karma’s World”). 

Available July 8 is season one of “Duck & Goose.” Inspired by the New York Times bestselling books by Tad Hills, “Duck & Goose” is a preschool series that celebrates the unique friendship of Duck and Goose, two best feathered friends that don’t always see beak to beak. That is until they discover that embracing and appreciating each other’s differences can help them think up entirely new ideas to help solve everyday challenges, both big and small.

Season one of “Best Foot Forward” premieres July 22. Based on the book Just Don’t Fall by real life paralympic athlete, author, motivational speaker and comedian Josh Sundquist, the live-action series follows 12-year-old Josh Dubin as he goes from homeschool to public school, eager to experience everything middle school has to offer! But along the way, Josh also faces a brand-new set of challenges, including how to get an entire school of kids to see past his prosthetic leg, and get to know him for who he is. With the support of his parents and the help of his best friends, Kyle and Gabriella, Josh learns, laughs and grows, eager to come back every day for more. 

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Season one of “Amber Brown” premieres July 29. Based on the best-selling book series by Paula Danziger, with more than 10 million copies in print, “Amber Brown” is an unfiltered look at a girl finding her voice through art and music in the wake of her parents’ divorce. Directed and written by Bonnie Hunt (“Life with Bonnie,” “The Bonnie Hunt Show”), the series stars Carsyn Rose (“The Rookie,” “Cousins for Life”) and Sarah Drew (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Cruel Summer”) with an ensemble cast including Darin Brooks (“Blue Mountain State,” “The Croods: Family Tree”) as Max, and newcomer Liliana Inouye (“The Slows”) as Brandi Colwin. 

Season two of “The Snoopy Show” bows Aug. 5, with new adventures with the happy-dancing, high-flying, big-dreaming beagle, who’s joined by best friend Woodstock and the rest of the Peanuts gang.

The “Peanuts Classics” platform debuts Aug. 5. The Peanuts gang is featured in classics from Mendelson/Melendez Productions including “A Charlie Brown Celebration,” “He’s a Bully, Charlie Brown,” “He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown,” “It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown,” “It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown,” “There’s No Time For Love, Charlie Brown,” “Why, Charlie Brown, Why?,” “You’re in Love, Charlie Brown” and “You’re The Greatest, Charlie Brown.”

The new “Peanuts” special “Lucy’s School” debuts Aug. 12. In the special, the Peanuts gang is anxious about starting at a new school in the fall, inspiring Lucy to start her own school instead, but teaching isn’t as easy as it sounds. “Lucy’s School” is a love letter to teachers and an appreciation of what makes teaching such a noble and fulfilling profession. It explores the fear of change, and shows Lucy facing and overcoming her fears with the support of her friends.

Season one of “Surfside Girls” premieres Aug. 19. From WGA Award winner and Daytime Emmy Award nominee May Chan (“American Girl: Corinne Tan,” “The Astronauts”), and based on the best-selling graphic novel series of the same name by author Kim Dwinell, the live-action series is about best friends Sam and Jade as they solve supernatural mysteries in their sleepy California beach town. These best friends must combine their polar-opposite strengths of imagination and logic in order to solve the seemingly supernatural mysteries that hide just beneath the surface of their town. 

Season one of “Life by Ella” bows Sept. 2. In the series, Ella returns to school with a brand new perspective, excitement for what the future holds, and a major seize-the-day mentality. With her best friend by her side, she is ready to tackle everything she was too afraid of before and determined not to let the minutia of fake friends and social media status distract her.

FilmRise Inks Content Deals With Rooster Teeth, Lorne Michaels’ Above Average

New York-based film and TV studio and streaming network FilmRise has inked content deals with Rooster Teeth and Lorne Michaels’ Above Average Presents.

Under the deal with Above Average, a division of Broadway Video, FilmRise will create streaming TV episodes featuring a variety of comedy sketches taken from the more than 40 hours available from the Above Average library. FilmRise will distribute the newly formatted comedy series to all digital platforms as well as feature it on the FilmRise Comedy AVOD App and its FAST Channels. 

“Our deal with Above Average expands our digital native offerings to include comedy with high-profile, high-quality programming,” Max Einhorn, SVP of acquisitions and co-productions at FilmRise, said in a statement. “Above Average is a brand that features some of the biggest names in comedy and has over 8 million subscribers in its network and 2.4 billion views on YouTube.”

“We are thrilled to expand Above Average’s audience to streaming viewers around the world,” Marc Lieberman, president of Above Average, said in a statement. “Since the launch of Above Average, we have watched the network grow exponentially, and are excited to partner with FilmRise’s innovative team to expand our digital footprint worldwide.”

Initially FilmRise will roll out two seasons, consisting of 15 episodes each. Episodes will range from 22 minutes to 30 minutes long. The programs will include comedy sketches from “7 Minutes In Heaven,” featuring talent such as Paul Rudd, Tina Fey, Ellen DeGeneres, Amy Poehler and Andy Samberg, among many others; “Cool Kids’ Table”; “Forgotten Assholes of History”; “Hudson Valley Ballers”; “I Wanna Have Your Baby”; “Is This Okay?”; “Paulilu Mixtape”; “Sound Advice”; “The Idiot’s Guide to Smart People”; “Thingstarter”; and “Waco Valley.”

FilmRise plans to launch the first two season in July 2022.

Under the Rooster Teeth deal, FilmRise has acquired the exclusive SVOD, AVOD and FAST rights to more than 400 episodes across three properties of digital native content from the subsidiary of Warner Bros. Discovery. The three properties are the first animated series that FilmRise has acquired for the digital native content division.

The deal includes exclusive SVOD, AVOD and FAST rights to all episodes of “Red vs. Blue,” “Camp Camp” and “Nomad of Nowhere.” FilmRise will curate groupings of episodes seasons from each property and package them into traditional half-hour TV style seasons and episodes for streaming audiences.

“We are thrilled to expand our rapidly growing slate of digital-first content with these incredible programs from Rooster Teeth, a digital entertainment pioneer that has created a passionate global fandom and lifestyle brand,” Einhorn said in a statement. “FilmRise recognized early on the huge landscape of talent in the digital native content space. We’re delighted Rooster Teeth will partner with our expansive streaming network to bring their content to wider audiences.”

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“Our partnership with FilmRise provides instant worldwide international distribution and exposure on multiple streaming platforms leveraging our global fan base, expanding our programming into many new territories and bringing new fans into our community,” Geoff Yetter, head of licensing and consumer products at Rooster Teeth, said in a statement.

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“Camp Camp”

“Red vs. Blue” is an animated comedy set against the Halo video game world, chronicling the lives of soldiers on the Red Team and the Blue Team. “Camp Camp” is an animated comedy series surrounding the misadventures of a cynical 10-year-old sent to summer camp against his will. “Nomad of Nowhere” is a Western-fantasy hybrid, following bounty hunters Captain Toth and Skout as they track the Nomad (a non-verbal scarecrow) for his magical capabilities. The series examines the relationship between the two female bounty hunters in the face of the ever-evolving nature of their adventures. All three series were produced in-house by Rooster Teeth’s animation studio in Austin, Texas.

Apple TV+ Orders Preschool Series ‘Sago Mini Friends’

Apple TV+ has ordered “Sago Mini Friends,” a new preschool animated series.

Produced by Spin Master Entertainment (“Paw Patrol”) and animated by Brown Bag Films (”Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” “Blue’s Clues & You!” and “Wild Kratts”), the series is based on the characters and designs featured in the Sago Mini World app, developed by Sago Mini.

The “Sago Mini Friends” series is a nod to gratitude, featuring Harvey the floppy-eared dog and his best friends Jinja the cat, Jack the rabbit and Robin the bird. The four friends play, explore, imagine and celebrate daily in their joyful town of Sagoville. In each episode, Harvey and all his friends express their true thankfulness for all things, big and small, through optimism, kindness, preschool-friendly humor and original songs.

The Sago Mini World app features more than 40 games for kids ages 2-5 and has been recognized by the Parents’ Choice Gold Awards, the Webby Awards, the Academics’ Choice Awards and the Kidscreen Awards.

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“Sago Mini Friends” is executive produced by Jennifer Dodge (“Paw Patrol”), Ronnen Harary (“Paw Patrol”), Tone Thyne (“Wonder Pets!”) and Dustin Ferrer (“Esme & Roy”). Laura Clunie (“Paw Patrol”) and Toni Stevens (“Paw Patrol”) serve as co-executive producers, with Chad Hicks (“Kingdom Force”) as series director.

Billie Eilish to Appear in ‘Simpsons’ Short on Disney+

Singer-songwriter Billie Eilish will appear alongside “The Simpsons” family in the upcoming short titled “When Billie Met Lisa.” The short, also featuring singer-songwriter Finneas, will premiere April 22 exclusively on Disney+.

In “When Billie Met Lisa,” Lisa Simpson is discovered by chart-topping artists Billie Eilish and Finneas while searching for a quiet place to practice her saxophone. Eilish invites Lisa to her studio for a special jam session.

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This upcoming release from “The Simpsons” is the fourth in a collection of shorts created exclusively for Disney+. The previously released “Star Wars” and Marvel-themed shorts “Maggie Simpson in ‘The Force Awakens from Its Nap’” and “The Good, The Bart, and The Loki” are currently available on Disney+. The most recent short “The Simpsons in Plusaversary” was released on November 12, 2021, in celebration of Disney+ Day.

‘Turning Red’ to Debut on Digital April 26, Disc May 3

Disney and Pixar’s animated Turning Red will be available for digital purchase April 26, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD May 3 from Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

In the film, confident, dorky 13-year-old Mei (voice of Rosalie Chiang) must balance being a dutiful daughter with the chaos of adolescence. Her slightly overbearing mom (voice of Sandra Oh) is never far from her daughter. And, as if changes to Mei’s interests, relationships and body aren’t enough, whenever she gets too excited, she “poofs” into a giant red panda.

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Bonus features, which vary by product and retailer, include seven deleted scenes, three featurettes and audio commentary with director Domee Shi.

Turning Red is also streaming on Disney+.

Apple TV+ to Bow Animated Kids Series ‘Pinecone & Pony’ April 8

Apple TV+ will bow the new animated series “Pinecone & Pony” April 8.

Based on the book The Princess and the Pony by New York Times best-selling author Kate Beaton, the series comes from DreamWorks Animation and First Generation Films.

“Pinecone & Pony” is an eight-episode animated comedy for kids and families about a young girl named Pinecone who, with the help of her best friend Pony, is learning that there’s more than one way to be a warrior. Together, they show their world how to challenge expectations.

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Animated Feature ‘King Tweety’ Due on Digital and DVD June 14

The animated family feature King Tweety is set for release on digital and DVD June 14 by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. 

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, King Tweety finds Tweety, Sylvester and Granny jet-setting to the Canary Islands where Tweety learns he’s a royal descendant and the next in line to the throne. When the queen of the island paradise disappears, Tweety unexpectedly becomes next in line for the crown. His entourage includes motorbike daredevil Granny and sly Sylvester, whose allegiance is tested when he uncovers a sinister plot to eliminate Tweety for good.

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The release includes three bonus classic “Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries” cartoons: “Something Fishy Around Here,” “The Maltese Canary” and “The Cat Who Knew Too Much.”

King Tweety features the voice talents of Eric Bauza as Sylvester/Tweety/Larry Bird/the Handsome Stewart; Flula Borg as Harold/Singing Fish/Enthusiastic Crowdgoer; Carlease Burke as Queen Honk/Candice the Crane; Jon Daly as Diego; Regi Davis as Rodrigo the Dog/Charlie Bird Parker/an Owl; Dana DeLorenzo as Izza; Riki Lindhome as Beep Beep; Candi Milo as Granny/Green Bean/Lady Bird Johnson; Maya Lynne Robinson as Officer Gnutz/Dancer; Niccole Thurman as Aoogah/Melaney Blank and Mark Whitten as Officer Siedes/John Foray.

 

Animated ‘My Sweet Monster’ Bowing on Digital, On Demand and DVD April 12

The animated adventure My Sweet Monster will be released on digital, on demand and DVD April 12 from Lionsgate.

The film features the voice talents of Pauly Shore (Bio-Dome, Encino Man), Haylie Duff (Blending Christmas, Napoleon Dynamite) and Jon Heder (Blades of Glory, Napoleon Dynamite).

In the animated adventure, after rebellious Princess Barbara flees the kingdom on the day sheʼs set to marry Bundy, an evil postman, she meets Bogey, an odd, semi-human beast who is king of the wilderness. When Bundy then plots to rob the forestʼs supply of a magical, life-giving elixir called Spark, itʼs up to Bogey, Barbara and their bouncy friend Bunny to stop him.

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FilmRise Picks Up Distribution Rights to Children’s Programming From WildBrain

FilmRise, the New York-based film and television studio and streaming network, has announced a partnership with WildBrain to distribute children’s programming.

The deal gives FilmRise non-exclusive North American English and Spanish-language distribution rights to more than 900 episodes across 10 children’s programs on AVOD and FAST platforms. 

Programs included in the deal are all four seasons of “Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego,” starring Academy Award-winner Rita Moreno as the voice of Carmen; both the classic and new adaptations of “Strawberry Shortcake,” including WildBrain’s new original series “Berry in the Big City”; the first four seasons and movie spinoffs of the animated sci-fi adventure “Slugterra”; “Kid vs. Kat”; “The L.A. Complex”; “Sabrina”; and “Super Mario.” 

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“As one of the world’s premiere children’s content creators and distributors, WildBrain has an incredible library of well-known productions and brands for younger audiences,” Danny Fisher, CEO of FilmRise, said in a statement. “We are fortunate to be partnering with them as we continue to expand our children and family programming offerings.”

“Partnering with FilmRise allows our popular properties to reach a larger and wider range of audiences,” Lara Ilie, VP of revenue share and transactional at WildBrain, said in a statement. “We are excited to share these lovable programs with more families.”