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Source: Columbia Pictures

WIRE Buzz: Spice Girls get animated; SpongeBob adds Awkwafina; more

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Jun 12, 2019, 2:29 PM EDT

This WIRE Buzz is all about animation, with superheroes and spicy heroines dominating genre entertainment, just like they have for decades. “Fan favorites” is an understatement when the Spice Girls and Genndy Tartakovsky are involved. More like “icons.”

First, let’s talk about those Spice Girls. All we know for now is that they’re headed back to the big screen. After a mysterious announcement last March hinted the pop stars would form their own animated superhero team, this news seems to either confirm two distinct Spice Girls film projects in the works or imply that Paramount has gotten onboard.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount Animation is developing an animated Spice Girls movie involving the voices of all five members (Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, Geri Halliwell, and Victoria Beckham). There’s no reference to superpowers in this update, however, but a new focus on music. With classics and new songs included in the film, which is getting a script from Karen McCullah and Kiwi Smith, the “very involved” Spice Girls may be pivoting away from superherodom - or creating a new animated film franchise all their own.

Next, that same report dug deeper into the Paramount animated slate, which includes both The SpongeBob Movie: It's a Wonderful Sponge, Rumble, Jersey Crabs, and Mighty Mouse. The first SpongeBob film since creator Steven Hillenburg died added Awkwafina and Reggie Watts to its cast while Rumble got a new name (the graphic novel adaptation used to be called Monster on a Hill).

Jersey Crabs will apparently be a crab-starring musical a la Grease (which implies that Grease stars a bunch of crabs — it doesn’t) set on the Jersey Shore. It’s sea crabs vs. land crabs in this classic tale of tourists and locals from writer Lorene Scafaria. As for Mighty Mouse? It’s in early development as a live-action/animated hybrid from writers Jon & Erich Hoeber. Superheroes are still hot property, even if they happen to be mice.

Finally, some news out of Sony Pictures Animation that bodes well for fans of Genndy Tartakovsky and The Boondocks. The company ran through their upcoming animated fare and there's a ton of news.

Variety reports there’s a new strategic partnership between Sony and Chinese entertainment magnate Tencent. The latter company has hopped on board to Jackie Chan’s magical children’s story (with a classism theme) Wish Dragon, promising the Chris Appelhans-directed film a 2020 release in China. 

Anthony Bourdain and Joel Rose’s comic Hungry Ghosts is getting its own animated anthology, offering up food-based ghost stories (they’re scarier than they sound) while The Boondocks is getting a reimagined version of its Adult Swim series. Superbago, a claymation/live-action story about slackers traveling the U.S.A. hoping to become superheroes, has been changed from a film to a show.

But the real news here is the triumphant return of Samurai Jack and Star Wars legend Tartakovsky. The director will be tackling both the ninja-esque action film Black Night (about a rogue knight out for revenge and redemption) and Sony Animation’s first R-rated comedy, Fixed. Fixed is about a dog that learns he’s going to be neutered in the morning...and what he gets up to before the deed is done. None of the newly-announced projects have release date yet.