The Weinstein Company are more known for their art house films that stand in line to win Oscars at the end of the year than your typical big-budget blockbuster affair. Their propensity for quality over quantity translates to movie budgets as well as they can’t exactly afford to spend lots of money on their films which are unlikely to be a big draw at the box office.
Which makes the announcement that they are planning a foray into animation a little unusual, because it’s a film format that is not exactly cheap if you want to do a solid job of it. It’s also a format that is more synonymous with big budget kid orientated films than art house productions – so seeing what they will do with the animation label will be interesting to watch.
According to IndieWire, The Weinstein Company’s new animation division will be titled Mizchief, which kicks off with with their animated film Leap! :
I named the label Mizchief because that’s how my son pronounces mischief. Animation is a playful new direction for us and I’m thrilled to expand the TWC repertoire into a whole new category of films for our kids to enjoy and for us to enjoy with them. All of these films will share incredible stories that most importantly both inspire and entertain our kids
Leap! follows the journey of an orphan with dreams of dancing stardom who hopes to break into the world of ballet and stars the voices of Elle Fanning, Nat Wolff, Maddie Ziegler, Carly Rae Jepsen, Kate McKinnon, and Mel Brooks. It looks like a more measured and serious animated movie than what we normally see, so it will be interesting to see how audiences respond to it.
The studio clearly has high hopes for the film though in using it to launch their new Mizchief division. This isn’t the first time however that the Weinstein Company has released an animated film. The studio has previously bought a pair of Hoodwinked films to the screen along with Escape from Planet Earth and Doogal. All these were distribution efforts though, whereas their new approach will see films developed through their own label.
Along with the news, The Weinstein Company also announced a second film that will carry the Mizchief label, the Gary Wang and Life Chaser Animation Studio’s The Guardian Brothers. The film was released in January 2016 in China and does not currently have an American release date.
The venture could either be one which quickly sinks the studio through high costs or represent a refreshing game changer and bring more diversity to the animation scene. With the quality we have seen from the production house so far though, I’m expecting it to be the latter – which is a good thing.
Last Updated: August 21, 2017