Sony and Frederator to develop Animated Movies

Get your feature film pitches ready. The Hollywood Reporter just announced that Sony Pictures Animation and Frederator Studios have teamed up to develop a slate of new animated features.

Fred Seibert says he’ll be looking for new ideas that can be developed for all manner of animation techniques: hand drawn, CG, stop motion or any other form defined as animation. Sony Pictures Animation has recently announced other development deals, including a first look agreement with The Gotham Group, distribution of Aardman Animation features and the acquisition of several properties including The Familiars and Hip Hop from Platinum Studios. And of course, Sony Animation’s next movie, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, opens on September 18th.


  • Chris D

    Fred has been discussing at length the types of films they will be making, including the budget for the Samurai Jack film ($20 million) and the budget for other films.

  • Jason

    Frederator, IMO, pretty much makes crap. The only exception being Samurai Jack. So this news doesn’t do much for me.

  • Daniel M.

    How will this affect Samurai Jack? Is that owned by Time Warner or Frederator?

  • http://www.hunteachother.com Max W.

    This is great news! This means that more new animated features will be released by companies other than DreamPixiney. Hopefully they will take more chances with what they release?

  • http://www.doubled8.com Jeaux Janovsky

    That is some of the best news I’ve heard today! Major, major congrats to team Frederator.

  • http://weirdurl.com Zekey

    I hope this doesnt mean they’re gonna stop their podcast. :S

  • http://daryl-rhystaylor.blogspot.com Daryl T

    Good for him. I look forward to seeing what Frederator comes up with.

  • chresty

    i dont get how frederator is a ‘studio’…can someone explain? seems like he’s a producer/reps artists and pitches their stuff to ‘real’ studios? they dont make anything anywhere do they? not dissing just wondering…it seems more like an agency than a studio… can someone explain it to me? thanks!

  • http://www.arielvillaverde.com Ariel

    *Chresty, isn’t the internet wonderful(*for some things) Here’s info on Frederator:

    http://frederator.com/about.php

    I’ll agree with Max on this one. Great to see a smaller studio sign a deal with a (bigger budget) giant like Sony.

    It looks like a trend developing here with studios other than Pix-ney, settings high goals with major budget animated movies(*ie. Starz Studios with “9″ and such..) Seems like major companies still have faith in animation as an entertainment medium.

    Congrats to Frederator and let’s hope this gives more jobs to creative types to give us culture and entertain us.

  • Gaumond G

    Frederator is as much a ‘studio’ as the Gotham Group is.

  • DanO

    There may very well be some quality individuals working for Fred Seibert, all indications lead me to think that. But Fred Seibert is one of the most disconnected, arrogant, and incompetent executives that the animation community has ever had. More than that he’s a swindler of the highest order. Go pitch a show to him and let him expound at length about you how much you don’t know. Its kind of funny in that he has pulled this for years and now there are dozens of people in Hollywood with more money and power than him who laugh at the misinformation this nincompoop scolded them with all those years ago. Chump, plain and simple.

  • http://www.cartoonresearch.com Jerry Beck

    DanO – You are entitled to your opinion, and I’m not here to defend Fred (though I’m obviously biased, as he’s personally handed me the opportunity to produce a cartoon and I’m certainly grateful for that) — but I will anyway.

    Fred is one of the smartest (and yes, slickest) executives in the animation industry and a true friend to the community. And he knows at least one thing you don’t: how to play the game in Hollywood. That’s his thing, and that’s what he does. He’s the first to admit he’s not an artist – and he stays-the-hell away from the creators once the show (or pilot) is picked up. You won’t hear a bad word about Fred from the dozens (hundreds?) of “quality individuals” who’ve worked for him. His new deal with Sony is a good thing – and an even better thing for the creators and artists who will now have one more “friendly” outlet to sell their project.

  • http://fluidtoons.com Brett W. Thompson

    I dig the graphic on this post- I’ve been following the Adventure Time posts at http://frederatorblogs.com/adventure_time/ with a lot of joy and excitement.

    Whether people like Fred or not (in the tiny interactions I’ve had with him on Flickr, he’s been nice to me which I appreciate, and I imagine Pen Ward and Jerry are good judges of character, too), isn’t this good news anyway, since it allows creative folks more opportunity? I always want to see different techniques and ideas get a chance, you know?

    Also, I didn’t realize until I read his bio just now that Fred did the “What A Cartoon!” shorts project- mad props for that!!

  • Brooke Keesling

    This is excellent news, no doubt about it.

  • vzk

    Does Frederator actually get creatively involved in their projects, or just finances them and leaves the work to other studios?

  • DanO

    You won’t hear a bad word about Fred from the dozens (hundreds?) of “quality individuals” who’ve worked for him.”

    But you will hear PLENTY of bad words from Fred about other people in the industry. Some might say he likes to drag names through the mud right in front of you. He’ll tell you about how they aren’t a “real success” and how everything they achieved was the work of someone else, which is alarming to hear when you know the people he is talking about. Then when you peruse an interview with Fred he’ll be hitching his wagon to their name, their success and their Academy Award nomination. Thats pretty sleazy behavior in common circles.
    In my meeting with him in NYC, he did two things at length: demonstrate that he knows almost nothing about the production processes at animation studios and go on and on about how all animation is dead in that city.
    Two traits that are commonly and justifiably frowned upon here at CartoonBrew, so I’m not writing my own ticket here.

  • http://www.cartoonresearch.com Jerry Beck

    DanO – Fred has earned bragging rights for shepherding Dexter’s Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Johnny Bravo, The Fairly Oddparents and others (including the forthcoming Adventure Time). I’ve always appreciated Fred’s brutal honesty in the discussions I’ve had with him. I may not agree with all he says, but he has experience in other aspects of the business that you (or I) may not – and his point of view can be insightful.

    You say Fred “demonstrate(s) that he knows almost nothing about the production processes at animation studios…”. Quite frankly, he doesn’t need to know. Fred is not an animator, an artist, nor is part of the production process. He is an executive in the motion picture and television industry, part of the Hollywood system of producing animation for cable TV – and now movie theaters. He looks for talent to bring into that system. He knows the players who can make things happen and brings them together. That’s what he knows and that’s what he does.

    You also say that Fred will “go on and on about how all animation is dead in (New York)”. I cannot respond to that personally, as I live in LA, but while the New York independent animation scene is thriving and much commercial work is still there to be had, the level of TV and movie (industry) production in the city has dropped significantly over the last ten years. From Fred’s perspective (and he is NYC based) he may have seen it that way when you had your meeting with him. He may have changed his mind since then.

  • ask

    Jerry: “…the level of TV and movie (industry) production in the city has dropped significantly over the last ten years.”

    This is the harsh truth. I can safety say that other than Christy Karacas of Superjail!, who is trying get a new show underway, you’d be hard-pressed to find tv and film animation in New York unless it’s for post-production or web design! I doubt Seibert would change his mind ANY time soon.

  • David Levy

    It is simply not true that NY only has post-production or web design work. There is animation happening here.. and while nobody can deny that we are not anywhere near our top production years of the 1990s or the mid part of this current decade, there is still a thriving community of animation artists here. Anyone who’s been here longer than ten minutes knows that these things go in cycles.

    Frederator’s news is good for the industry. It will create jobs/work and allow new voices to be presented on the theatrical screen. If he’s successful, it could spawn similar programs elsewhere.

    One thing that has not been said about Fred is his willingness to admit when he’s wrong and also to acknowledge past mistakes and their impact on his career. He’s revealed this in public on his blog and at industry panel events.

  • DanO

    If Fred Seibert is so smart, and so slick, then what accounts for Frederator’s ABYSMAL record as an animation studio. Apart from ‘Adventure time’, what has been developed there that actually will see the light of day? How many shorts did he produce? Only one is going into production(or may not as to whether CN gets their act together).

    I live in LA and work in the industry and lemme tell you, there are some creative, inventive , executives who really have their heads entrenched in the medium and all of the people who work hard to keep it moving forward and Fred Seibert isn’t one of them. I don’t see Fred at Annecy. I don’t see him at Ottawa. He’s the archetypical LA executive who projects a big facade of himself from behind a curtain. Fred’s opinion of an animated short is worthless. He produced 40 shorts. FORTY. With one that is picked up for series? Is that the record?
    Correct me if I’m wrong here, but if thats the record, I remain unimpressed. I think the money would have been better spent with someone else.

  • http://www.cartoonresearch.com Jerry Beck

    DanO – You’re wrong here. And I shall correct you.

    First off, out of the recent 40 shorts (“FORTY”) two were actually picked up for series – and both are currently in production: Adventure Time (at CN) and Fan Boy and Chum Chum (at Nick).

    He gave 38 other creators a shot to create a short which, unlike other pilot programs, each one played on television. His prior Oh Yeah! Cartoons series gave several dozen others the same shot.

    Previously, when Fred was president of Hanna Barbera, his shorts program opened the doors for the likes of Genndy Tartakovsky, Craig McCracken and Seth MacFarlane to emerge.

    Fred’s “abysmal” record accounts for four other series (The Fairly OddParents, Chalk Zone, My Life As A Teenage Robot, Wow! Wow! Wubbzy) in addition to the two other shows in production. Many independent studios wish they had such an “abysmal” record.

    Oh, and I can vouch for seeing Fred in Ottawa. I had lunch with him there once.

    I remain unimpressed with your knowledge of whom you are criticizing. Your opinions on this matter are, as you say, “worthless”.

  • http://bakertoons.blogspot.com/ Charles Brubaker

    I think we need more producers like Fred. In a sane world all animation producers are like him. Unfortunately, we do not live in a sane world.

    Rock on, Jerry!

  • DanO

    Previously, when Fred was president of Hanna Barbera, his shorts program opened the doors for the likes of Genndy Tartakovsky, Craig McCracken and Seth MacFarlane to emerge. “

    wow. two for forty! twice.
    so he developed 4 programs(‘powerpuff’, ‘dexters’, ‘adventure time’, and ‘fan boy’) out of 80 tries. thats a 5% success rate.
    Where do i sign up?!?

    I look forward to more feedback on Frederator studios and what the artists in the animation industry who have had dealings with them think.

  • http://www.doubled8.com/doubledatecollective/enter_DDC.html Jeaux Janovsky

    Fred has been one of the smartest persons I have ever had the pleasure of working alongside.
    He was a great mentor to me, and I value all I learned from him and his friendship.
    Whether it was the design of a rock poster, cartoons, t-shirts, new media, or branding, Fred always had a different, intelligent way to look at it, spin it on it’s head, and knock it out the park further.
    I think that the Sony/Frederator deal is going to be very beneficial to our animation community as a whole, and am behind it & Fred 100%.
    DanO,
    You’re the same person who was whining about his Clown pitch on the Fredblogs, right?
    http://frederatorblogs.com/talk_to_the_snail/2006/04/04/what-no-clowns/
    Just cause Frederator never picked up your Clown idea, doesn’t mean you should drag Fred’s name or accomplishments thru the mud. Get over it. I’m sure they had their reasons. Don’t start that on Cartoon Brew.

  • Pedro Nakama

    This is good news because Sony Pictures Animation is lacking in creativity and leadership.

  • Gobo

    Seems to me that any executive responsible for shepherding the sheer talent that Fred Siebert has deserves respect. Would we even have a Cartoon Network now without the series and directors he’s represented?

    “Two for forty” is BS. Did you see any of the Meth Minute? Channel Frederator? From what I see, Fred knows talent.

  • brik-a-brak

    Haha, wow. I have no dog in this fight whatsoever. But damn, DanO, you just got served!

    I think this news about Sony is great!

  • http://www.bishopanimation.com Floyd Bishop

    I’ve done some work for Fred, and have been one of his bloggers in the past, and I’ve had nothing but good experiences with him. Sure, I pitched and pitched and pitched to him, and he never picked up the pilot I had, but when he had some stuff he needed done, he called me up. I got to direct and animate a small section of animation on “6 Monsters” that I never would have gotten to do otherwise. When my studio was collapsing around me, Fred called me up to see if I was OK. I’ve pitched to and dealt with several execs in the industry, and Fred’s at the top of my list of “good ones”.

  • http://allenpov.blogspot.com Enoch Allen

    Digs at Fred aside, I look forward to this promising development.

    More outlets for creators to get their work in front of massive audiences on a prime medium–the silver screen–can’t be a bad thing, since so few opportunities exist!