spark_openroad spark_openroad
Feature Film

Did You Know ‘Spark’ Opens Today? Don’t Worry, No One Else Does Either

Open Road Films launches the Canadian/South Korean co-pro Spark: A Space Tail in 353 theaters today.

Here’s the trailer:

With its limited theater count and low expectations (the film was not screened for critics), Spark: A Space Tail is not currently projected to crack the top ten. The film also faces heavy competition in the family marketplace from Dreamworks Animation’s The Boss Baby, Sony Picture Animation’s Smurfs: The Lost Village, and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

Spark is written and directed by Aaron Woodley, who has previously written and directed live-action films (Rhinoceros Eyes) and animated on stop motion projects (Glenn Martin DDS). The film is co-produced by the same team making Nut Job 2: Korean studio Redrover Co. Ltd, Canada’s Toonbox Entertainment, China’s Shanghai Hoongman Technology Co., and Gulfstream Pictures.

Open Road Films, a joint-venture between cinema chains AMC and Regal, is also the distributor of The Nut Job series. The first film in that franchise, released in 2014, remains the distributor’s all-time highest-grossing film with U.S. box office of $64.3 million.

Spark stars the voices of Jace Norman, Jessica Biel, Susan Sarandon, Patrick Stewart, and Hilary Swank. Here’s the synopsis:

Spark (Jace Norman) is a wisecracking teen living on an abandoned planet with his friends Chunk and Vix. Thirteen years ago the power-hungry General Zhong seized control of their planet Bana, wiping out Spark’s family and sending him into hiding. But now they’ve learned of Zhong’s plan to wipe out the entire universe using the deadly space Kraken, and no one but Spark can stop him. An action-packed space odyssey filled with humor and heart, Spark is an epic adventure about becoming the hero you were born to become.

  • Grant Beaudette

    If the trailer for it hadn’t played in front of Your Name I wouldn’t have even known it existed.

    • Agreed. I haven’t heard about this project until I saw this trailer before Your Name. Spark feels like Monkey King in space with hints of Man of Steel with Rachet & Clank in one movie. It just didn’t win me over, neither the girl fight clip posted in this article.

      • Andrew Kieswetter

        Also the Star Wars movies.

  • Dante Panora

    Sad, but true.

  • AnthonyA

    There is no justice. This looks a lot more interesting than yet another week of Boss Baby and Beauty and the Beast….

    • There are a few films worthy of attention that the mainstream simply doesn’t have time for.

    • Cameron Ward

      I would agree, but I don’t. it’s getting released into theaters and it’s going to get treated and judged as a theatrical film. it just doesn’t live up to that level of animation. Plus, you must not watch a lot of Chinese animated films because they base A LOT and I mean A LOT of their films on the same Journey to the West story. It’s tedious to not find an animated film from that country that doesn’t have some kind of Journey to the West inspiration to it or is just another Monkey King film.

  • mechasus

    And here I am thinking only the US military can drop the mother of all bombs.

  • Rafterman00

    That’s actually a solid cast – surprised. It seems to be geared more towards the kiddies.

    • Jeremy Harrison

      They never get a chance to shine

  • Jack Newman

    I kinda like the animation, glad they didn’t give the characters realistic fur like most CG animated films do.

    • Marc Hendry

      yeah me too. That fox character has a really cool design, but it’d look goofy with real fur.
      I wonder if it’s been dubbed from Korean, though, because not all of the lip sync fits in the trailer (maybe it’s an editing mistake)

    • Roman Reigns Owns The IWC

      I don’t know, at times I like that. I liked it with Snoopy in The Peanuts Movie.

      • Sometimes it works depending on how it’s used. Disney’s Zootopia is a good example of how fur was applied and how natural the look was achieved.

    • Marielle
  • J

    Animation doesn’t look too bad but the lighting, texturing, modeling , dialogue, and plot all look very mediocre

  • Jason

    I’ve actually been seeing TV Spots for this during The Loud House this week. Stange they would advertise a movie that’s only in about 350 theatres.

  • ea

    Why do studios waste money on generic animated films no one wants to see? Use that money to fund something creative, unique, and risky, like those European animated films from a few articles ago.

  • Joe Bluhm

    This is clearly a commercial industry conversation. It’s easy to dissect little bits about the quality, but honestly it holds up to the ‘standard’ that is being set by major studios in the animation industry right now. This may be a bigger conversation, but to me this is clearly a product of distribution and marketing power.

  • Cameron Ward

    Yeah not going to be able to see it. Seems like a waste of money since they can’t give it a wider release….plus, the film looks terrible. Not Norm of the North terrible, but it’s way below the standard that most animated films hitting theaters should be. Even if you don’t like Smurfs the Lost Village or The Boss Baby, they have animation that’s up to par with Pixar, Disney, and Illumination

    Spark had no real chance of being good or financially viable. kind of a stupid move to actually bring it over if they aren’t going to make the effort into giving it as much time in the open as possible

    This is why it’s kind of concerning that animation, while happily becoming more popular with casual moviegoers, might turn into a quantity over quality situation. studios and distributors wills tart releasing films in theaters big or small releases that won’t be good or up to par unless it’s from the big studios or a company like GKids

    • Fried

      “This is why it’s kind of concerning that animation, while happily becoming more popular with casual moviegoers, might turn into a quantity over quality situation.”

      So you’re worried that animation will be like every other piece of entertainment? Or that animation will be what it already has been for a couple of years in Hollywood? Did you think living in the age where only Disney and sometimes one other studio releasing an animated movie every couple of years was better?

      • Cameron Ward

        I mean in the sense that while the big studios will have their fun in the sun, lesser studios will shove stuff like this into theaters not really caring about the quality.

        I do think we are sort of heading into a quantity over quality thing. Just because you can bring over a film like Spark, doesn’t mean you should shove it into theaters. Plus, theater goers are way more savy to spotting bad animation these days.

        I don’t think it needs to be like it was in the 90s, but i do think there needs to be some quality control

        • Fried

          Nearly everything that is based around the concept of “making money” falls under the quantity over quality syndrome. That includes restaurants, music, toys, tv shows, movies. There is nothing to suggest why animation should somehow be above Sturgeon’s law.

          • Cameron Ward

            Because Open Road Films is losing money with this right now. No one wins in this situation. Why bring it over at all. I get they need to make money, but this was NEVER going to make them money. What’s the point? It’s not a GKids situation where it was worth bringing over. This is a “well animation is popular and even if it’s not good, people will see it” when no…no one did

  • Cam Jirrey

    I like the look of the main characters, but nothing else really sells me on this. If this were hand-drawn (traditionally, digitally, idc) and had a better team of writers, I could see this working as an Anime-inspired TV Series (The Mini kind, preferrably)…

  • Jer

    I saw this movie. Not good. Okay, but not good. Patrick Stewart plays a poor parody of Captain Jun-luc Pacard. Spark matures way too fast to be believable. The other characters aren’t really developed

    I saw this movie because I thought it looked good. Space! Monkeys! Looked good to me at least. But then no rotten tomato score. No critics talking about it. And only two theaters out of all Chicago was showing it. ?

    Even if the movie was good. features like this has a hard time making money and showing it in a limited amount of theaters is just a bad idea

  • Roman Reigns Owns The IWC

    Loos like an even more mediocre version of Rachet and Clank, and families will obviously choose Guardians 2 over this space movie.

  • Patrick Moore

    Wait, you guys are forgetting that this movie will fail thanks to a certain other movie out the same as this one. it’s called “The Fast And The Furious: The Fate Of The Furious.” Who you think is going to win this one? Space Chimps 3 or Vin Diesel Vs. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the newest Fast film?

  • Elsi Pote

    It’s like they wanted to make a monkey (movie) out of it no matter what.