BB Media Study: Animated Streaming Content Not Just for Kids

In the second quarter of 2023, in the regions of APAC (Asia Pacific), LATAM (Latin America) and UCAN (United States and Canada), teenagers and young adults aged 16 to 24 — just outside the more traditionally associated age range for watching cartoons — were the ones who most considered animation among their preferred genres for streaming content, according to a report by BB Media analyst Gonzalo Martins.

Gonzalo Martins

Specifically in UCAN, this group represented 47%, followed by the 25 to 34 age group with 37%. The exception was in EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa), where adults aged 25 to 34 were the ones who most chose the genre, at 32%. 

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However, those aged 55 and older continue to be a significant part of the animation audience, with 26% in Latin America and 16% of respondents in APAC. In this region, anime is a separate category, showing an 11% penetration in the same age group.

BB Media analyzed the most in demand series (both for anime and animation) and found that several are targeted at an adult or teenage audience. Titles such as “One Piece” and “Jujutsu Kaisen” cater to a younger audience with violent content and mature themes, while the long-running series “The Simpsons” and “South Park” are known for adult humor.

Animated Series ‘Scavengers Reign’ Debuting on Max Oct. 19

Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max streaming service will debut the animated series “Scavengers Reign” with three episodes Oct. 19. Subsequently, three additional episodes will bow each week until the season finale Nov. 9.

An expansion of the 2016 animated short film Scavengers, the series follows the survivors of a crashed interstellar freighter as they attempt to survive long enough to be rescued from a strange planet where the laws of physics do not seem to apply.

Created be Joseph Bennett and Charles Huettner, the show’s voice cast includes Sunita Mani, Wunmi Mosaku, and Alia Shawkat. Guest starring Pollyanna McIntosh, Sepideh Moafi, and Dash Williams.

Japanese Stop-Motion Animated ‘Junk Head’ Due on DVD July 11 From MVD and Synergetic

The Japanese stop-motion animated Junk Head will be released on DVD July 11 from Synergetic Distribution and MVD Entertainment Group.

In the sci-fi fantasy film, mankind can no longer reproduce because of gene manipulation aimed at making life longer. The clones ruling the bottomless underworld may have become fertile. Parton is selected to go on a mission through a subterranean labyrinth crawling with monsters to secure humanity’s future.

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The film won a 2021 New York Asian Film Festival Audience Award; a 2017 Fantasia Film Festival, Satoshi Kon Award, Best Animated Feature, Special Mention; a 2017 Fantastic Festival Best Director award for Takehide Hori; and a 2021 Festival Européen du Film Fantastique de Strasbourg Golden Stork Award.

Disney+ Debuting Classic Animated Shorts Starting July 7

Disney+ will begin debuting a collection of 28 newly restored Walt Disney Animation Studios classic shorts on July 7, featuring such iconic characters as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Chip n’ Dale, and the studio’s first star, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. This year marks the centennial of the Walt Disney Animation Studios, which is being honored as part of the ongoing Disney 100 celebration.

Ranging from classics to lesser known titles, the package of short films includes examples of Disney’s earliest theatrical shorts (“Trolley Troubles” and “All Wet,” both from 1927 and starring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit) and Silly Symphony classics such as “The Skeleton Dance,” “Merbabies” and “Wynken, Blynken and Nod.” “Chips Ahoy,” a 1956 CinemaScope short starring Donald Duck and his chipmunk rivals, concludes the series in October, leading up to Disney’s 100th anniversary on Oct. 16.

The restorations were spearheaded by Walt Disney Studios Restoration and Preservation team, led by director Kevin Schaeffer, working in close collaboration with creative advisors from Walt Disney Animation Studios.  The latter included Dorothy McKim, special projects and 2D animation producer, along with color supervision by Mike Giaimo (production designer on the two “Frozen” features and the upcoming feature Wish) and animation legend Eric Goldberg (who headed animation on the Genie in Aladdin and directed Pocahontas and two segments for Fantasia/2000). This same team recently restored Cinderella, and are presently working on a restoration of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

“We are thrilled to be working with Kevin Schaeffer and the Studio’s restoration team in presenting these beautifully restored versions of classic Disney animated shorts,” McKim said in a statement. “Two of our top artistic talents have lent their expertise and passion to the project to make sure that the films look their very best, and are authentic to the creative intentions of the original filmmakers. We’re very excited to be sharing these wonderful shorts with the Disney+ audience. They have never looked or sounded better.”

PREMIERING JULY 7:

AQUAMANIA (1961) — Avid water-skier Goofy sets out to teach his son the fine art of the sport, and accidentally winds up in a championship race.  He encounters a hapless octopus and takes a detour on a roller coaster on his way to an unexpected victory.

BATH DAY (1946) — Figaro the cat takes center stage, after he gets a bath (complete with ribbon and perfume) from Minnie Mouse, and then encounters a group of frisky alley cats.  A frightened Figaro wins the day when his shaking topples a tower of trash cans onto his rival, and he emerges the victor in the scuffle.  Minnie rewards him with another bath.

BUILDING A BUILDING (1933) — Mickey operates a steam shovel on a busy construction site, where Minnie sells box lunches, and a flirtatious Pete is the foreman.  When Pete’s advances cross the line, Mickey comes to Minnie’s rescue leading to a chase through a steel skeleton of a building, and a riveting conclusion.

FIGARO AND FRANKIE (1947) — Minnie’s cat, Figaro, is trying to take a cat nap, but the canary (Frankie) insists on singing.  A squabble ensues in which Frankie’s cage topples.  Minnie thinks Figaro has eaten Frankie, but the bird has simply flown the coop.  In the end, Figaro rescues Frankie from the neighbor’s dog, and domestic tranquility is restored.

GOOFY GYMNASTICS (1949) —  Goofy enlists the aid of an instructional record and gymnastics equipment in an effort to become fit, with the help of some barbells, chin-up bars and cable expanders.  In the process, he wrecks his floors, gets flung around the room and falls out the window, before ending up approvingly behind the cut-out of the muscular man he aspired to be.

THE SKELETON DANCE (1929) — A lively quartet of graveyard skeletons come out to play and dance the night away in this spooky Silly Symphony, set to the macabre music of Edvard Grieg (adapted by Carl Stalling). Ub Iwerks’ inventive animation uses plenty of graveyard gags involving animals and a skeletal xylophone.

 

PREMIERING AUG. 11:

BARNYARD OLYMPICS (1932) — Mickey and Pete go head to head in a variety of sporting events (running, rowing, vaulting and a wild bicycle race finale), as the entire barnyard (including Minnie and Horace Horsecollar) turns out to cheer them on.  Pete resorts to cheating but Mickey wins in the end.

DONALD’S COUSIN GUS (1939) — Donald Duck’s gluttonous cousin, Gus Goose, comes for a visit and practically eats him out of house and home.  When the direct approach to getting rid of his voracious houseguest fails, Donald resorts to desperate measures to dislodge him.

DONALD’S NEPHEWS (1938) — Donald attempts to practice child psychology (with a book called Modern Child Training) on his three visiting nephews – Huey, Dewey and Louie – who love to create mischief and play tricks on their long suffering Uncle Donald.  The book has little impact on the troublemaking trio, who wreak havoc on Donald and his house.

THE FLYING JALOPY (1943) — Donald Duck buys a rattletrap used airplane from devious proprietor Ben Buzzard, who tricks the unsuspecting duck into making Ben the beneficiary in case of an accident.  Ben then leads Donald on a reckless flight, trying to make the plane crash so that he collect a fortune from Donald’s misfortune.

GOOFY AND WILBUR (1939) — Goofy launched a series of his own solo cartoons with this inventive short film which finds him working in concert with his pet grasshopper pal, Wilbur, to lure fish to his net.  Not realizing the harm that Wilbur is in until it is too late, Goofy springs into action to try and rescue his friend from an uncertain fate with a hungry frog.

MICKEY’S STEAM ROLLER (1934) — Mickey Mouse is driving a steamroller when his rambunctious twin nephews, Morty and Ferdie Fieldmouse, accompanied by Minnie, stroll by.  While Mickey flirts with Minnie, the twins hijack the machine and set out on a path of destruction with Mickey in hot pursuit. Mickey winds up being chased by the boys, resulting in a chaotic but happy moment.

 

PREMIERING SEPT. 5-8:

ALL WET (1927) — Hot dog vendor Oswald the lucky rabbit takes a break from the daily grind and poses as a lifeguard to impress lovely beachgoer Fanny Cottontail.  When Fanny’s pretend distress turns into real trouble, Oswald rows to the rescue and the pair make waves as they battle their way back to shore.  

TROLLEY TROUBLES (1927) — “Trolley Troubles” launched Walt Disney’s Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon series (although it was actually the second short to go into production) and features Oswald as a trolley conductor trying to keep things on track.  Along the way, he faces a cabin full of rowdy bunny passengers, impossibly steep hills, a stubborn cow, a charging goat and other obstacles.  

BONE TROUBLE (1940) — This first official entry in the Pluto cartoon series finds our intrepid pup on the run after stealing a bone from Butch the bulldog, and finding refuge in a carnival “Hall of Mirrors.”  His initial fear of the distortions leads to a fun-filled adventure where he takes advantage of the mirrors to fend off Butch.

MERBABIES (1938) — Walt Disney enlisted former colleagues Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising to help create this underwater Silly Symphony.  Ocean waves form merbabies who are summoned to an aquatic circus playground on the ocean floor, where they interact with a parade of seahorses, starfish and other marine life, before disappearing into the surface from which they came.

MICKEY’S KANGAROO (1935) — Mickey and Pluto spring into action when an Australian friend sends a boxing kangaroo and her child their way.  Pluto is hopping mad at first when the visitors wreck his new doghouse and eat his food, but Mickey welcomes the opportunity to have a boxing partner.  All’s well that ends well as they come together as a most unusual extended family.

PLAYFUL PLUTO (1934) — Pluto tries to help Mickey with some spring cleaning and leaf gathering, but the day descends into chaos with the arrival of a whirlwind, a leaky hose with a mind all its own, and a fly invasion.  Pluto gets into a sticky situation with a roll of flypaper, which leads to some of his most memorable scenes. 

PLUTO, JUNIOR (1942) — Pluto and Pluto Junior are enjoying a lazy afternoon snooze when the playful pup tangles with a ball, a balloon, a worm, a bird, and a clothesline.  Pluto rescues his son from a precarious situation, gets hung up in the process, but manages to land with a splash.

THE BARN DANCE (1929) — Minnie Mouse has to choose between two dance partners, as clumsy Mickey competes with the more experienced Pete for the pleasure of her company.  Mickey uses balloons to make himself lighter on his feet, but gets busted and comes up short. 

 

PREMIERING OCT. 6:

CAMPING OUT (1934) — Mickey, Minnie, Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar are on a camping trip and enjoying the great outdoors until the arrival of a lone mosquito escalates into an all-out attack involving an army of stinging pests.  The campers counterattack with some resourceful countermoves.

CHIPS AHOY (1956) — Hungry chipmunks Chip and Dale are down to their last acorn when they spot an acorn-laden tree belonging to Donald Duck across the lake.  Pirating Donald’s ship from inside a bottle, the resourceful duo make their way to the tree, but not without interference from Donald.  They take the wind out of Donald’s sail, and end up having the last laugh.

FIDDLING AROUND (1930) — Mickey Mouse shows a wide range of expressions and emotions (and even sports long hair) in this one-mouse virtuoso violin performance.  He faces an unseen audience and a heckler as he earnestly plays several pieces including the Hungarian Dance and the William Tell Overture.  Walt Disney directed this film, which is also known as “Just Mickey.”

INFERIOR DECORATOR (1948) — Donald Duck stirs up a hornet’s nest of trouble when he tangles with a bee named Spike, who is trying to pollinate Donald’s floral wallpaper.  When Donald traps Spike with wallpaper glue, it leads to a sparring match between the two.  The whole plan backfires when Spike manages to escape and enlist a hive-full of his bee pals to help get revenge.

OLD MacDONALD DUCK (1941) — Donald Duck gets into the rhythm of doing his chores around the farm, including feeding the animals and milking Clementine the cow, but finds there’s a fly in the ointment (or rather, the milk) when a persistent fly upsets his plans and drives him to distraction.  

WHEN THE CAT’S AWAY (1929) — When Tom Cat is away, Mickey, Minnie and group of mischievous mice take over his home and entertain themselves with a variety of musical mayhem.  Mickey and Minnie dance across the piano keys, use a wheel of Swiss cheese as a player piano roll, and find an inventive new way to play a phonograph record. 

WYNKEN, BLYNKEN AND NOD (1938) — This elaborate Silly Symphony cartoon is a dream-like fantasy about three babes who journey to the moon in a wooden shoe-boat.  Along the way, they go star-fishing, and catch a comet in their net to pull them through the night sky.  When a storm breaks, they slide to earth on a moonbeam and back into a cradle as one little sleepyhead.

Crunchyroll Acquires Rights to Animated Series Featuring K-Pop Group BTS

Crunchyroll has acquired rights to the upcoming animated superhero series “Bastions” — featuring the K-pop group BTS — from Korean producers Thymos Media and will begin airing the five-part series on Saturdays, beginning May 13. 

The global streaming rights extend worldwide, excluding China, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, North Korea and South Korea.

“Crunchyroll has an extraordinary opportunity to introduce fans to more animation styles from Asia, and this exciting new series from Korea does just that,” Asa Suehira, Crunchyroll’s chief content officer, said in a statement. “And having the music of so many K-pop stars really broadens the appeal of ‘Bastions.’”

The series is about a group of rookie superheroes in a world where superheroes compete for popularity. The young dynamos emerge as full-fledged heroes after saving Earth from a crisis by uncovering the identity of a villain responsible for environmental pollution.

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The series fuses K-Pop and animation, with several K-pop original songs, including the main track and theme song by BTS. It’s the first project by BTS as a group since it released its anthology album “Proof” in June last year. “Bastions” will also feature music from K-pop girl group Le Sserafim and singers Heize and AleXa participating on its soundtrack.

“BTS is expected to provide an overwhelming sense of immersion to the emotions and action scenes of the series by singing the theme song in perfect harmony,” read a Thymos Media statement.

Animated ‘Clone High’ Streaming on Max Starting May 23

The Max Original animated series “Clone High” will start streaming on Max (formerly HBO Max) with two episodes May 23.

Two new episodes will debut each Thursday starting June 1 leading up to the final two episodes on June 22.
 
A modern refresh of the 2002-03 series of the same name, “Clone High” follows a high school for clones of the greatest minds in history. Twenty years after the original experiment was put on ice, Joan, JFK, Abe and Cleo have been thawed out to resume school with their new clone classmates — all while navigating a new set of cultural norms and overly dramatic teen relationships. 

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Returning stars include Will Forte as Abe and Nicole Sullivan as Joan; executive producers Phil Lord as Scudworth and Chris Miller as JFK and Mr. B; Christa Miller voicing Candide Sampson; Donald Faison as George Washington Carver; and Judah Miller as Scangrade. New voice actors joining the cast include Ayo Edebiri as Harriet; Mitra Jouhari as Cleo; Vicci Martinez as Frida; Kelvin Yu as Confucius; Neil Casey as Topher Bus; Jana Schmieding as Sacagawea; Sam Richardson as Wesley; Mo Gaffney as Ms. Grumbles; Al Madrigal as Frederico; Danny Pudi as Dr. Neelankavil; Emily Maya Mills as Ethel Merman; Michael Bolton as Michael Bolton, Mandy Moore as Mandy Moore, Ian Ziering as Ian Ziering; Steve Kerr as Steve Kerr; and Jeffrey Muller, Kyle Lau, Dannah Phirman and Danielle Schneider.

 

This Week’s Podcast: ‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ Comes to Peacock; Animation Trends; Crunchyroll Gets a Button

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley dive deep into animation and its recent sharp turn in mainstream features. But first, in the intro catchup segment Charlie applauds the most recent episode of “The Last of Us” for getting exciting again. The last couple episodes have been slower than its smashing early season episodes, and episode eight returned to that punchy storytelling.

Charles continues his journey through DC’s animated features and is not impressed by what he watched this week. What he is impressed by, and what the hosts discuss for the bulk of the episode, is Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. Charles gives an extended historical lecture on 3D animation and the constraints that that particular style imposes on its characters. Charlie hypothesizes that, with the success of Pixar in the ’90s, all major studios sought to copy that art style and homogenized the look of animation. Recently however, with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in 2018, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish in 2022, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, having just been announced, animation is breaking away from 3D models and into a much more dynamic 2-dimensional art style that allows its characters to be much more expressive and pump up the action on-screen. This new trend implies that a new era of experimental animation in mainstream movies is about to begin, an incredibly exciting prospect.

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In the meantime, the anime-focused streaming service Crunchyroll has partnered with Sony to add itself as a one-click button to one of Sony’s smart TV lines, occupying the same space as Netflix, Hulu and Disney+ typically would. Charlie and Charles agree that it probably won’t meaningfully impact Crunchyroll’s total viewers, but continuing on with the theme of animation, it does indicate that home audience tastes have reached a tipping point where anime can be considered a mainstream interest, and not just something that exists on the fringes.

Genius Brands Inks Deal With Buzzfeed for Longform Series

Genius Brands International, through its Frederator Network subsidiary (a division of WOW! Unlimited Media), has announced an exclusive content deal with digital media company BuzzFeed.

The deal provides Genius Brands’ Frederator Network the exclusive opportunity and first right to develop and produce longform series based on original digital properties created by the BuzzFeed Animation Lab. 

“Weird Helga”

The first short-form content  for series development by Frederator will be “The Land of Boggs,” a zany buddy comedy that currently boasts more than 10 million followers. Other content under consideration for long-form development includes “The Good Advice Cupcake,” an aggressively optimistic pastry touting more than 6 million followers; the lowbrow sister comedy “Weird Helga,” with more than 9 million followers; and the gender inclusive series “Chikn Nuggit,” with more than 7 million followers.

Frederator Studios will serve as the global content sales agent, headed by director of development Isabel Schultz, and Genius Brands’ consumer products’ division will develop the retail program for the slate of IP, spearheaded by chief brand officer Kerry Phelan, and in close partnership with BuzzFeed.

“Our partnership with BuzzFeed offers Frederator a tremendous opportunity to expand on the creativity of their animation lab to further develop their original IP into long-form series for global audiences,” Michael Hirsh, CEO of WOW! Unlimited Media, parent company of Frederator Network, said in a statement. “BuzzFeed is considered the most-watched digital publisher with billions of global content views and nearly 30 million dedicated BuzzFeed Animation Lab fans, which gives us a huge audience and ability to promote each series to a highly-engaged fan base.” 

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“The BuzzFeed Animation Lab has seen huge success and explosive growth for our animated properties, and we are thrilled to partner with Frederator Studios for development,” Zee Myers, head of BuzzFeed Animation Lab, said in a statement. “They have an unparalleled track record in the industry and are the perfect shepherds to take our animated properties into a new format and expand our audience.”

HBO Max to Debut ‘Harley Quinn’ Valentine’s Day Special

HBO Max has announced an upcoming special for the Max Original adult animated series “Harley Quinn” called Harley Quinn: A Very Problematic Valentine’s Day Special.

Debuting on HBO Max in February 2023, the special will feature Harley and Ivy celebrating their very first Valentine’s Day together, while also revealing how the rest of the ragtag crew spends the gushiest, mushiest, most romantic day of the year.
 
The voice cast includes Kaley Cuoco, Lake Bell, Alan Tudyk, Matt Oberg, James Wolk, Natalie Morales, Chris Diamantopoulos, James Adomian, Jim Rash, Vanessa Marshall , Janet Varney, Rachel Dratch, Leila Birch, Tyler James Williams, Josh Helman, Casey Wilson, Michael Ironside and others. 

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Based on characters from DC, the special is produced by Delicious Non-Sequitur Productions and Yes, Norman Productions in association with Warner Bros. Animation. Executive Producers are Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker, Dean Lorey, Jennifer Coyle, Kaley Cuoco and Sam Register.

Netflix Acquiring Animation Studio Animal Logic

Netflix is acquiring Animal Logic, the Australian animation studio for an undisclosed price. The deal aims to support Netflix’s growing animated film slate, including Academy Award-nominated Over the Moon, Klaus and recently released The Sea Beast.

Completion of this transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Netflix said it hopes to close the transaction later this year.

The 30-year-old Animal Logic is headquartered in Sydney, with a second studio set up in Vancouver, Canada in 2015. The company has worked on Hollywood theatrical hits, including Happy Feet, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, the “Lego Movie” franchise and Peter Rabbit 1 & 2, in addition to a catalog of visual effects work for The Matrix, Moulin Rouge!, 300 and The Great Gatsby.

The announcement builds on the existing partnership between the two companies, with a full slate of films that include The Magician’s Elephant, directed by Wendy Rogers, and the recently announced The Shrinking of the Treehorns, directed by Ron Howard.

“Netflix has been investing in animation over the past few years and this furthers our commitment to building a world-class animation studio,” Amy Reinhard, VP of studio operations, at Netflix, said in a statement.

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Led by CEO and co-founder Zareh Nalbandian, the Animal Logic teams and leadership will remain operating under the Animal Logic brand and will fulfill production of existing and ongoing commitments and continue to collaborate and work with longstanding studio partners. 

“After 30 years of producing great work with great people, this is the perfect next chapter for Animal Logic,” said Nalbandian. “Our values and aspirations could not be more aligned with Netflix, in working with diverse content makers, producing innovative and engaging stories for audiences around the world. Our collective experience and talent will open new doors for all our teams and will empower a new level of creativity in animation.”

Netflix’s growing original slate of animated features and shorts also include Academy Award-nominated Robin, Robin, Kris Pearn’s The Willoughbys, Back to the Outback directed by Clare Knight, Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood from Richard Linklater, as well as upcoming releases, including Henry Selick’s Wendell & Wild, Nora Twomey’s My Father’s Dragon, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, and an Aardman sequel to Chicken Run.  Recent animated film acquisitions by Netflix include the Academy Award-nominated The Mitchells vs. The Machines, Vivo!, Spongebob: Sponge on the Run and Wish Dragon