spiesindisguise spiesindisguise
Feature FilmShorts

Blue Sky Studios’ Upcoming ‘Spies in Disguise’ Is Based On An Indie Short

Fox Animation released new details this week about Spies in Disguise, the Blue Sky Studios film that will follow its soon-to-be-released Ferdinand.

The film is based on Lucas Martell’s 2009 short Pigeon: Impossible. Martell has said that the independently produced film, about a spy who has to deal with a pigeon in his nuclear briefcase, was “really just an excuse to learn 3D animation.” The film found a following after Martell posted the film on Youtube, and was subsequently optioned by Fox.

Independent animated shorts are increasingly becoming a source of inspiration for Hollywood feature film producers. For example, Illumination Entertainment signed a first-look deal with Korea’s Mofac Alfred based on the success of their online film, Johnny Express.

Fox itself is developing multiple shorts into feature-length projects, among them the Oscar-nominated short The Dam Keeper and Kameron Gates’ A Tale of Momentum & Inertia. Meanwhile, the Sony/Columbia bomb Pixels was based on a 2010 viral short of the same name by French director Patrick Jean, while The Nut Job franchise was inspired by the 2005 short Surly Squirrel, directed by Peter Lepeniotis, who also directed the first feature.

Spies in Disguise is positioned as a buddy comedy starring the suave spy Lance Sterling (voiced by Will Smith) who relies on gadgets created by socially-inept inventor Walter (Spider-Man: Homecoming’s Tom Holland). According to the studio’s plot synopsis, “When events take an unexpected turn, Walter and Lance suddenly have to rely on each other in a whole new way. And if this odd couple can’t learn to work as a team, the whole world is in peril.”

Spies in Disguise is directed by animators Nick Bruno and Troy Quane. It will be the first feature directing credit for both. Chernin Entertainment is producing along with Fox and Blue Sky.

The film is set to open in the U.S. on January 18, 2019.

  • Andres Molina

    To be perfectly honest, I’m not really sure about what to expect with this film. First off. This isn’t the first time a major studio made a movie based on an independent short film. The last time they did that was with Surly Squirrel, which was adapted to become the Nut Job. So I’m hoping Blue Sky is careful about how to approach the film.

    Second, the premise itself seems a bit generic and overdone for me. First we the have the suave and slick leader and his socially awkward partner. I don’t know why, but It bothers me that most filmmakers in many of the major animation studios opt for either the socially awkward outcast or the suave charming leader as their protagonist. There are so many different kind of main characters that could be used.

    And also, the premise is a duo who completely contrast each other. They don’t get along a first, but conflict arises and they must learn to set aside their differences and work together if they want to fight off the conflict. Just hearing the premise of the contrasting or oddball duo already makes me think of Toy Story and many other films. In fact, this particular premise has already been done last year with Zootopia and Secret Life of Pets, just to name a few. And one insignificant comment, but is it me or are many of the animated films i’m seeing recently have characters with waxy or polished skin. I have nothing against a film with a duo premise, but the premise of duo that can’t stand each other at first and then get along at the end is getting kinda of repetitive.

    But again the movie isn’t going to come out in 2 years, and the designs on the top or pretty solid, in my opinion, but either way, I can’t really know what they film will be like until it opens, so I guess we will have just wait and see.

    • “First off. This isn’t the first time a major studio made a movie based on an independent short film.”

      Amid didn’t say this was the first time a major studio was doing this. He said that independent shorts are increasingly being inspiration for Hollywood film producers, as Amid provided more than example in the article.

      • Andres Molina

        I know. I’m just restating what he said. But yeah maybe the way I said or restated. But yeah I’m seeing an increase of Independent shorts being adapted into feature films.

      • Jordann William Edwards

        He must not have read the whole thing.

  • aarett

    why not just say they’re trying to make a movie based on the success of Despicable Me? or is there something unique in the short that is being carried over to the feature? the only thing i kind of noticed as unusual was the pigeon operating a deadly vehicle

  • Reynell Freeman

    this got searching youtube for what other animated shorts would make cool movies
    I mostly watch the 2d ones though

  • BumpBob

    Something similar happened to the animated short film 850 meters becoming the tv show My Knight and Me.

  • I feel sorry for Blue Sky (Ferdinand is going to be a trainwreck)

  • Blue sky needs to contact Sergio Pablos for new and original concepts for animated featured films