Doc ‘Robolove,’ Animated ‘BoBoiBoy: Elemental Heroes’ Among Titles Available on DVD From MVD and Synergetic in April

The documentaries Robolove and COVID-19: Inside Job as well as the animated BoBoiBoy: Elemental Heroes and the drama Sibel will be released in April on DVD only from Synergetic Distribution and MVD Entertainment Group.

Robolove is a documentary that reflects on the strategies of men and women involved with the creation of artificial intelligence and robots that will perhaps one day expand human life, featuring such subjects as Japanese robotics guru Hiroshi Ishiguro and transhumanist Natasha Vita More. While the difference between humans and androids is diminishing, the tension between technology and social responsibility is growing as much as utopian visions expand.

The film was a 2019 official selection/nominee at the Austria Film Festival; a 2020 official selection at the Moscow International Documentary Film Festival; a 2020 official selection at the Docs Against Gravity Film Festival; and a 2020 official selection at the Amplify Film Festival.

TRAILER – Robolove from SYNERGETIC on Vimeo.

The documentary COVID-19: Inside Job explores the work done on developing a vaccine for COVID-19. The Jenner institute was given a billion dollars by the United States to produce “hundreds of millions” of doses of a vaccine not tested on humans. This is a GMO vaccine, requiring typically many years to produce, and yet this lab supposedly developed it in 19 days. Through investigative research, John Hankey unfolds the origin of a possible COVID-19 vaccine through research into scientific papers, interviews and testing.

In the drama Sibel, 25-year-old Sibel (Damla Sönmez) lives with her father and sister in a secluded village in the mountains of Turkey’s Black Sea region. Sibel is a mute, but she communicates by using the ancestral whistled language of the area. Rejected by her fellow villagers, she relentlessly hunts down a wolf that is said to be prowling in the neighboring forest, sparking fears and fantasies among the village women. There she crosses path with a fugitive. Injured, threatening and vulnerable, he is the first one to take a fresh look at her.

The film was an official selection at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema) and Sönmez won Best Actress at the 2019 Seattle International Film Festival and the 2019 Sadri Alisik Theatre and Cinema Awards.

In BoBoiBoy: Elemental Heroes, a followup to BoBoiBoy: The Movie, BoBoiBoy and his friends have been attacked by a villain named Retak’ka who is the original user of BoBoiBoy’s elemental powers. He seeks to take back his elemental powers from BoBoiBoy to become the most powerful person and dominate the galaxy. Together with his friends, BoBoiBoy must find a way to defeat Retak’ka before his powers fall into the wrong hands.

The feature, which had limited theatrical screenings in December 2020, won Best Animated Program or Series at the 2020 Asian Academy Creative Awards. The “BoBoiBoy” series is broadcast in more than 70 countries.

‘Tom & Jerry’ Coming to PVOD April 16, Digital and Disc May 18

The animated and live action comedy Tom & Jerry will be available via premium VOD rental April 16, followed by release on digital, Blu-ray and DVD May 18 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The film, which previously debuted simultaneously in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service, is directed by Tim Story (Fantastic Four, Think Like a Man, Barbershop) and features Chloë Grace Moretz (Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, The Addams Family), Michael Peña (Cesar Chavez, American Hustle, Ant-Man) and Colin Jost (How to be Single, TV’s “Saturday Night Live”).

In Tom & Jerry, the iconic mouse Jerry moves into New York City’s finest hotel on the eve of “the wedding of the century,” forcing the event’s desperate planner (Moretz) to hire Tom to get rid of him. The ensuing cat and mouse battle threatens to destroy her career, the wedding and possibly the hotel itself. But soon, an even bigger problem arises: a diabolically ambitious staffer conspiring against all three of them.

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Special features include deleted scenes, a gag reel and several featurettes.

Fandango Offering First 10 Minutes of ‘Soul’ for Free

For a limited time, fans can watch the first 10 minutes of Soul for free, exclusively at the FandangoNow Extras channel on YouTube and on Fandango’s social channels. The Oscar-nominated, Golden Globe-winning animated film debuts March 23 on Vudu and FandangoNow.

Both are transactional VOD services owned by Fandango. The film is on sale at $19.99 on both services and is available in SD and 4K Ultra HD.

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A recent Fandango survey of more than 1,500 people who have already seen Soul found:

  • 88% are fans of the film’s stars, including Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey and Angela Bassett;
  • 85% wish there were more life-affirming movies like Soul;
  • 80% are fans of the film’s soundtrack; and
  • 78% are rooting for Soul to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

HBO Max to Bow Animated Children’s Special ‘The Runaway Bunny’ March 25

Subscription streaming service HBO Max March 25 will premiere the animated special The Runaway Bunny, based on the children’s book by Margaret Wise Brown.

Produced and written by Amy Schatz, the program features traditional hand-drawn animation, narration and performance of an original Margaret Wise Brown lullaby by Tracee Ellis Ross, and songs by Grammy winning artists Mariah Carey, Kelly Rowland, Rosanne Cash, Ziggy Marley and Kimya Dawson, as well as Grammy nominees Rufus Wainwright and Michael Kiwanuka.

The story, an exploration of love and childhood, follows a restless little bunny who dreams of leaving home. Woven throughout the story are songs that accompany the bunny on his imaginary, magical adventures into the world and back home to the comfort of his mother’s love.

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Originally published in 1942 by HarperCollins Publishers, the children’s book has sold more than 12 million copies. The Runaway Bunny brings the illustrations of Clement Hurd and the poetry of Margaret Wise Brown to animated life for the first time.

The Runaway Bunny is a timeless classic about youthful independence and the strength of a mother’s love,” Billy Wee, SVP, original animation, HBO Max, said in a statement. “Amy Schatz has lovingly brought this story to vivid life with an incredible group of collaborators.”

Songs include:

  • Mariah Carey’s brand-new reinterpretation of her No. 1 hit song “Always Be My Baby”;
  • Kelly Rowland performing Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love”;
  • Rosanne Cash performing “You Are My Sunshine”;
  • Ziggy Marley performing “What a Wonderful World”; and
  • Rufus Wainwright perforing Billy Joel’s “Lullabye, Goodnight My Angel.”
  • Kimya Dawson — “You Are My Baby”
  • Michael Kiwanuka — “Home Again”
  • Tracee Ellis Ross performs “Song of the Runaway Bunny,” the never-before-released song written by Margaret Wise Brown based on a Provençal love ballad which inspired Brown to write this book.

‘SpongeBob’ Movie Drive-in Premiere

Paramount held an in-vehicle, drive-through and drive-in screening for The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run Feb. 26 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Attendees proceeded through multiple experiential environments with digital interactions and photo moments along the way. In addition to a screening of the new “SpongeBob” movie — available March 4 on the studio’s new streaming service Paramount+ and via premium VOD rental — attendees also got a sneak peek clip of the new Paramount+ series “Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years.”

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run

STREAMING REVIEW:

Paramount+;
Animated;
Box Office $4.8 million;
Rated ‘PG’ for rude humor, some thematic elements, and mild language.

Voices of Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Clancy Brown, Rodger Bumpass, Carolyn Lawrence, Mr. Lawrence, Matt Berry, Bill Fagerbakke, Reggie Watts, Tiffany Haddish and Awkwafina with Keanu Reeves, Snoop Dogg and Danny Trejo.

This third installment in the movie franchise based on the Nickelodeon series “SpongeBob SquarePants” is available on the new streaming service Paramount+ for its launch and as a premium VOD rental on digital services. (The film was released theatrically during the summer.)

In the CGI-animated adventure with live action elements, SpongeBob’s beloved pet snail Gary goes missing in a plot hatched by Plankton to get the Krabby Patty recipe. In a boat driven by the wacky robot Otto (voice of Awkwafina), SpongeBob and Patrick head to the Lost City of Atlantic City where King Poseidon has Gary held captive. On the journey, the pair meet a spirit guide tumbleweed Sage (Keanu Reeves) in a live-action, land-based dream sequence at a ghost town. Sage tells them they must meet a challenge involving some “flesh-eating cowboy pirate zombies” in the saloon and a devil character (Danny Trejo). The sequence might be a bit frightening for younger kids, but luckily Snoop Dogg shows up to get the zombies dancing and SpongeBob and Patrick escape.

The two pals eventually make their way to the Lost City, where they end up at Poseidon’s Palace after a gambling spree, spot Gary and are jailed trying to reclaim him. Meanwhile, back in Bikini Bottom, Sandy, Mr. Krabs and even Squidward and Plankton begin to miss SpongeBob and set off to spring him. It all culminates in a big production number on the Palace stage led by the master of ceremonies, voiced by Tiffany Haddish.

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Ultimately, everyone learns the value of friendship boosted by several summer camp flashbacks that not-coincidentally help introduce the new Paramount+ original series spinoff “Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years.”

While the movie does include some references and music (Kenny G, Weezer, Snoop Dogg, Ricky Martin) that will appeal to the adults, most of the humor is the kind of slapstick visual gags and puns that kids are familiar with from the television series. Still, one can do worse than spend an hour and a half with the innocent and likable SpongeBob and his gang, who can provide a diverting, light-hearted evening for the family.

‘Snoopy 4-Movie Collection’ Coming to Blu-ray May 18

Four movies starring the Peanuts gang arrive together on Blu-ray for the first time on May 18 in the Snoopy 4-Movie Collection from Paramount Home Entertainment.

The collection includes the debut classic A Boy Named Charlie Brown, the on-screen debut of Woodstock in Snoopy Come Home, the outdoor adventure Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown, and the globe-trotting Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!). A Boy Named Charlie Brown follows Charlie Brown to the Spelling Bee finals. In Snoopy Come Home, when Snoopy gets a letter from a girl in the hospital, he leaves with Woodstock to see her. Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown  follows the Peanuts gang to summer camp, where they participate in a river race. In Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown, the gang travels to Europe as exchange students.

 The collection also includes access to digital copies of each of the films, all of which were written by Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz.

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Crunchyroll Reaches 4M Subs, Inks Deal With Elbas for New Series

Anime SVOD distributor Crunchyroll Feb. 2 announced it reached the 4 million subscriber mark in January, just six months after hitting 3 million, and has inked a deal with Idris and Sabrina Elba to develop a dark fantasy animated series.

Idris and Sabrina Elba will serve as executive producers on “Dantai” (working title).

“For more than a decade, through anime and anime-inspired Originals, Crunchyroll has been leading the charge for the popularization of adult dramatic animation and we are fast becoming the epicenter for the next generation of animation fans, as is evidenced by our incredible growth in registered users and subscribers,” Crunchyroll GM Joanne Waage said in a statement. “Gens Y and Z have experienced superhero fatigue and are hungry for the new stories and ideas that our creators tell. This development deal with Sabrina and Idris Elba is another example of how we’re working with best-in-class partners to bring in new audiences and tell fresh and compelling stories through a medium that transcends genres and generations.”

Currently in development, the Afro-futuristic science-fiction series will be set in a city where the rise of biotechnology has created an ever-widening gap between the haves and have-nots. Two rising stars from either side of this divide are pitted against each other in a story that will ultimately explore equality and kinship within a corrupt society.

“We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Idris and Sabrina to develop this anime-inspired sci-fi epic,” Sarah Victor, head of development, Crunchyroll, said in a statement. “It is a privilege to work with such talented, creative partners and we look forward to bringing this exciting project to life.”

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“We’re really excited to be announcing this deal on our first anime,” the Elbas said in a statement. “We’re both fans of the genre and see a huge opportunity to create something unique for a powerhouse like Crunchyroll. The story of ‘Dantai’ is our first collaboration as producers together and is one that is close to our hearts.”

Crunchyroll, a WarnerMedia company, has a library of more than 1,000 titles and 30,000 episodes, available to fans in more than 200 countries and territories. Crunchyroll currently has more than 100 million registered users and more than 50 million followers across social media. Fans have access to licensed anime through Crunchyroll, Anime Digital Network (in partnership with Citel, a subsidiary of Média-Participations), and Anime on Demand video streaming services, translated in multiple languages for viewers worldwide. Viewers can also access simulcasts — series available immediately after Japanese broadcast. Crunchyroll’s services also extend to licensing of theatrical, TV, home video, consumer product and video game rights.

‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run’ to Debut on Paramount+, PVOD March 4; ‘SpongeBob’ Series to Bow on Streaming Service

Paramount Pictures’ animated film The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run will premiere on ViacomCBS’s streaming service Paramount+ and on PVOD as a $19.99 rental from Paramount Home Entertainment March 4.

The film was released theatrically during the summer.

“Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years” (Paramount+ 2021 CBS Interactive)

The new Paramount+ original series “Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years” also will debut on the service March 4, with the first six episodes available to subscribers in the United States. The rest of the season’s 13-episode order will roll out on the platform at later dates to be announced.

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In the CGI-animated Sponge on the Run, SpongeBob’s beloved pet snail Gary goes missing and a path of clues leads SpongeBob and Patrick to the powerful King Poseidon, who has Gary held captive in the Lost City of Atlantic City. On their mission to save Gary, SpongeBob and his pals team up for a heroic and hilarious journey where they discover nothing is stronger than the power of friendship.

The Nickelodeon series “Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years” is the first-ever “SpongeBob SquarePants” spinoff. The CGI-animated prequel series follows 10-year-old SpongeBob and his pals during summer sleepaway camp where they spend their time building underwater campfires, catching wild jellyfish and swimming in Lake Yuckymuck in the kelp forest, Kamp Koral.

Netflix Acquires Animated ‘The Mitchells vs. The Machines’

Netflix has acquired the Sony animated film The Mitchells vs. The Machines.

The comedy follows a family who encounters a tech uprising while driving their daughter to film school. As robots and household appliances around the world start to go haywire, they have to work together to save the world.

Directed by Mike Rianda and produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the film features the voices of Danny McBride, Abbi Jacobson (“Broad City”) and Maya Rudolph.

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The film originally had the title Connected.