Sony Pictures Animation (SPA) has released a trailer for Connected, due in U.S. theaters on September 18.
Here’s the official synopsis:
Connected is an original animated comedy an everyday family’s struggle to relate while technology rises up around the world! When Katie Mitchell (voiced by Abbi Jacobson), a creative outsider, is accepted into the film school of her dreams, her plans to meet “her people” at college are upended when her nature-loving dad Rick (voiced by Danny McBride) determines the whole family should drive Katie to school together and bond as a family one last time. Katie and Rick are joined by the rest of the family, including Katie’s wildly positive mom Linda (voiced by Maya Rudolph), her quirky little brother Aaron (voiced by Mike Rianda), and the family’s delightfully chubby pug Monchi for the ultimate family road trip. Suddenly, the Mitchells’ plans are interrupted by a tech uprising: all around the world, the electronic devices people love – from phones, to appliances, to an innovative new line of personal robots – decide it’s time to take over. With the help of two friendly malfunctioning robots, the Mitchells will have to get past their problems and work together to save each other and the world!
The film, which was previously known as The Mitchells Vs. The Machines, marks the directorial debut of Mike Rianda, the creative director of hit Disney series Gravity Falls. Rianda wrote the screenplay with co-director Jeff Rowe. The head of story is Guillermo Martinez and production designer is Lindsey Olivares.
Will Allegra and Louis Koo are executive producing Connected, while Phil Lord and Chris Miller are producing the film alongside Kurt Albrecht. Lord and Miller have a strong relationship with Sony — they won the company an Oscar last year by producing Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. They subsequently signed a mammoth five-year overall deal with Sony Pictures Television.
Stretching back to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and The Lego Movie, Lord and Miller have invited stylistic experimentation on the cg animated features they’ve been involved with, and Connected follows in that path. The characters in this trailer have a rough outline around them, a throwback to traditional 2d animation where characters were inked first with outlines and then painted. The effect emphasizes the cartooniness of the characters and tonally distinguishes the project from the standard commercial cg animation look. Combined with the subtle stylization in the texturing, Connected offers a fun and unique style that instantly makes us want to see more.
Connected comes in a period of reviving fortunes for SPA. In 2014, its reputation was bad enough that Lord and Miller turned down an offer to create a Pixar-style “brain trust” of filmmakers at the studio. Kristine Belson was hired as president instead, and under her watch SPA has undergone a turnaround. Aside from the triumph of Spider-Verse, the studio also won an Oscar this year for the short film Hair Love.
As its executives are fond of saying, SPA’s strength is not having a house style, not having particular audience expectations to meet. Last year, the studio announced two new productions initiatives that have expanded its slate of animated projects.
Connected was originally fast-tracked to a release on January 10, but the date has been pushed back to September.