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Upcoming Features of 2014

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As 2013 is already coming to a end, we at Skwigly thought it would be a good idea to take another look forward to what delights 2014 has in store for us. 2013 saw Pixar add another Oscar to it’s shelf with Brave, a lot of sequels and a few studio closures. 2014 seems to be showcasing a lot more independent and original features as well as a highly anticipated stop motion film from the Laika studio.

Here are some of the movies you can expect to be watching at the cinema this year:

The Nut Job

Release Date: 17th of January 2014
Directed by Peter Lepeniotis
The Weinstein Company

The Nut Job is set in the fictional town of Oakton. The main character is a miscevious squirrel named Surly (voiced by Arrested Development’s Will Arnett). Surly banished from his home and forced to survive on the streets of the city. Surly finds a group of new friends and plans a nut-store heist to help them survive through the winter. The actors already said to be part of this production include Katherine Heigl, Liam Neeson and Brendan Fraser.

The director of this project is Canadian animator and director Peter Lepeniotis. In 2005 Lepeniotis created the short Surely Squirrel which led to his director role on this adaption The Nut Job. Although this feature is based on Lepeniotis short the writer Lorne Cameron was brought onto the production in 2012. Lorne Cameron also wrote Brother Bear and was brought onboard to help co-write the screenplay.

The Canadian animation studio ToonBox Entertainment will be contributing some of the animation towards the project, which will be a CG feature. Although the trailer is lacking some of the polish we are used to seeing in our animated features it’s nice to see some smaller studios breaking into features.


Open Road Films will be Distributing throughout the USA but The Weinstein Company will step in to send the film international.

The Weinstein Company has put their name behind such animations as Hoodwinked and Arthur and the Invisibles. It’s nice to see a company taking chances on small studios such as this. Hopefully the film’s story will make up what it lacks in polished effects.

The release dates for this movie are set as 17th of January 2014 but there is yet to be a UK release date set.

The Lego Movie

Release Date: 7th of February 2014 ( USA) and 14th of February 2014 (UK)
Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Warner Brothers Studio

The Lego universe is in need of a hero, unfortunately for Emmet (played by Park & Recreations actor Chris Pratt) the Lego universe has decided that hero is him. A host of actors are part of the movie including Morgan Freeman as the old wizard, Liam Neeson as Good Cop (and Bad Cop) and Elizabeth Banks as ‘Wyldstyle’ a tough young go-getter.

Together they must stop Will Ferrell’s character Lord Business who is determined to destroy the Lego universe.

You may know directors ‘Phil Lord and Chris Miller’ from their previous work which includes ‘Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs’. They also wrote the screenplay which can give the audience hope that they are thoroughly invested in the film.

Warner Brothers Studio will be distributing the film from February of next year. Their previous films have included The Iron Giant, Happy Feet and the Corpses Bride.


The film has been in development since 2008. Both directors were brought on board officially in 2010 to write and direct. Animal Logic, the Australian animation company behind Happy Feet, will provide about 80% of the animation for the project which although created in CG has a definite stop motion feel.

There is also a game in production which will be created by TT Tales who are known for their Lego titles such as ‘Lego Harry Potter’ and ‘Lego Pirates of the Caribbean. Phil Lord and Chris Miller paid a visit to the studio after being announced as Directors so it is thought that the game will very closely represent the film.

Mr Peabody & Sherman

Release Date: 7th February 2014 (UK) and 7th March 2014 (USA)
Directed by Rob Minkoff

Mr Peabody & Shermanwas originally a segment in the 1960’s animated television show The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. This will be a 3D computer animated film unlike the traditional TV show but the DreamWorks animated movie seems to be very closely related to the 2D animation from the 60’s.

This film will follow the two characters as they travel through time using the machine they have invented and, of course, accidentally messing things up on the way.

The film will be directed by Rob Minkoff who has also worked on Stuart Little and The Lion King. Minkoff has been working on the film since 2003 where it started as a live action /CG film.


The live action film was changed to be an animated film in 2007 when DreamWorks came on-board. The film’s date has been changed a few times. Last year Skwigly reported that this film would be released in November but it has been pushed back further to replace the release of Me and My Shadow.

The film has taken a while to hit our screens but from trailers the animation looks interesting and is designed very closely to represent the original cartoon.

Rio 2

Release Date: March 20th 2014
Directed by  Carlos Saldand

Rio 2 will be the follow up to Blue Sky’s 2011 original feature Rio. Director Carlos Saldanda returns to direct this feature. He was also the director of Ice Age: The Meltdown in 2006 and co director in 2005 for the film Robots, as well as a host of others.

This time around Blu and Jewel our blue heroes from the first film return with their three children. They are planning to leave their domesticated life in Rio de Janeiro and head to the Amazon rainforest where they have to learn to cope in the wild once again. Rio 2 will take on more of an environmental message than the first movie when their Amazonian habitat is under threat. There is also the return of their old cockatoo enemy Nigel, voiced once again by Flight of the Conchords actor Jemaine Clement.

Rio 2 Poster

The cast is pretty much the same as the original film with Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg reprising their roles.

The international release date for this film will be March 20th 2014 followed by a American release on the 11th of April 2014.

The Box Trolls

Release date: Yet to be decided
Directed by Anthony Stacchi

The BoxTrolls will be a stop motion animated feature based on the Alan Snow novel Here Be Monsters!. Stop motion fans will be happy to hear of the stop motion studio Laika’s involvement on the film. Laika is better known for films such as Coraline and ParaNorman.

Director Anthony Stacchi has been part of the project since June 2008 with the addition of Graham Annable in 2013. This announcement was also accompanied by the announcement the movie would be a stop motion feature.

Graham Annable has worked in the animation industry for over 10 years for companies such as Disney, Nickleodeon and with Chuck Jones.

Anthony Stacchi’s past work includes effects animator for Industrial Light and Magic as well as storyboard artist for films such as Antz and Curious George. His first co direction credit was animated Open Season.

The studio releasing the film is Focus Features but will be released overseas by Universal.


The film centers around the human character of Eggs (voiced by Isaac Hempstead-Wright known as Bran Stark from Game of Thrones) who has been raised in the underground caves filled with trash collecting creatures called ‘Boxtrolls’. Ben Kingsley voices the Boxtrolls’ nemesis and evil exterminator Archibald Snatcher.

The voice cast is also meant to include Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Elle Fanning.

The animation in The Boxtrolls could be mistaken for CG with its fluidity but done be mistaken this stop motion movie is beautifully done and looks like it will be a crowd pleaser.

Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s return

Release Date: May 9th 2014
Director Daniel St.Pierre, Will Finn
Prana Studios

Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s return is another film that Skwigly talked about in last year’s article featuring releases for 2013. The movie was pushed back. This may be due to the release of the 2013 live action film Oz the Great and Powerful starring James Franco. Since the date has been pushed back the previous title of Dorothy of Oz has been changed.

The movie plot and cast of actors seem to have stayed the same since the last time this film was set to hit our screens. Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi and Kelsey Grammer are all still set to make an appearance as well as the leading lady Lea Michele of Glee fame.


The film is also promoting their online platform game which can be found at There is also discussion groups that have been set up on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. The social media backing behind this film has set up a charity that highlights Terriers in need of adoption. The sites have already found homes for dozens of animals which is a fantastic feat for an animation that hasn’t even been released yet. The charity is named ‘Totally Toto Tuesdays’ and features a different Terrier in need once a week

How to Train your Dragon 2

Release Date: June 13th 2014
Directed by Bonnie Arnol

Chris Sanders original film was received with rave reviews as well as an Oscar nomination so this new sequel has some fierce preconceptions to get over. If the trailer is anything to go on this new film will be as stunningly beautiful as the original. The teaser trailer shows a slightly aged Hiccup flying through the skies with his dragon pet, Toothless.

The sequel was announced in April 2010. Although Chris Sanders isn’t directing this film it will be co-directed by the producer of the first film, Bonnie Arnold. The new director Dean DeBlois has worked with the original director Chris Sanders on many of his productions such as Lilo and Stitch as well as worked for Disney in the story department for Mulan. (He also worked on the 80’s TV show The Raccoons.)

How to train your dragon 2 poster

Fans of the first film will be happy to hear that Dean DeBlois has been quoted as saying he is taking inspiration from his favourite childhood films such as The Empire Strikes Back and My Neighbor Totoro.

The original voice cast will return for this sequel as well as being joined by Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington. During the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con it was announced that Cate Blanchett (Lord of the Rings) and Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond) will also be joining the cast.

Big Hero 6

Release Date: 7th November 2014
Directed by Don Hall

Big Hero 6 will be Disney’s first animated leap into the Marvel world. Big Hero 6 is based on the comic that follows a team of state sanctioned super heroes hired by the Japanese government. The film is set in San Fransokyo (a mix of San Francisco and Tokyo) and will follow the young genius named Hiro Hamada and his robot Baymax. The two characters uncover a plot to destroy the city and must join a team of inexperienced crime fighters including characters such as Wasabi No-Ginger, Honey Lemon, GoGo Tomago and Fred.

No actors have currently been named for the production but the director is said to be Don Hall who co-directed Disney’s Winnie the Pooh feature. Don Hall pitched the concept to John Lasseter in 2011 and in 2012 Disney confirmed that the studio would be adapting Big Hero 6 into a film.

This will be Disney’s 54th animated feature and released after Frozen.

Fans of the original comic will be happy to hear that several members of the Marvel team will be involved in the production of this movie. These will include Joe Quesada, Marvel’s chief creative officer.

Big Hero Six Poster Disney

Joe Quesada said of the film:

“The relationship between Hiro and his robot has a very Disney flavor to it…but it’s combined with these Marvel heroic arcs.”

The film has only released a few concept images so far but if the re-imagining of the Golden Gate bridge is anything to go by it will be an exciting departure from Disney’s recent movies.

The release date is currently set as 7th November 2014 but this isn’t set in stone.

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Dan McHale
My short is on Skwigly.
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