"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse"

Animation’s resilience in lockdown has been one of the enduring narratives of the entertainment industry in recent months. Now Kristine Belson, president of Sony Pictures Animation (SPA), has put a spin on that idea: she believes that the pandemic has created an opportunity for L.A. studios to take chances with animation for older audiences in particular.

Speaking at the virtual tech conference Collision from Home, Belson said:

I don’t think you’re going to see more family animated movies because that’s very saturated. There will be more R-rated animated movies. There are a couple we’re working on and we’re really excited about releasing our first one. I think you’re going to see PG-13 animated movies, which is something you haven’t seen before. Harder action-adventure sort of stuff.

Belson didn’t provide specifics on the films in their pipeline. However, Genndy Tartakovsky, director of SPA’s Hotel Transylvania trilogy, is known to be developing two new features for the studio, one of which is the R-rated comedy Fixed. Sony also released the R-rated comedy Sausage Party in 2016, although Sony Pictures Animation was not involved in that film.

SPA edged in this direction with 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, a (PG-rated) film with a more mature sensibility than the average animated family feature. The gamble worked out well for the studio, which took home its first Oscar for the feature. It now has the wind in its sails, having picked up a second Oscar this year for the short film Hair Love, which it co-produced.

Belson has been in her role since in 2015. Last year, her contract was renewed and her remit was expanded from film to include tv and streaming. At the time, she said, “I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to do things that no other theatrical animation studio in Hollywood is doing.” Streaming platforms are fueling a boom in adult animation, but if SPA is seriously committing to this field, it is indeed the first Hollywood studio to do so.

Belson’s comments were first reported by Deadline.

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