Feature Film

Sony’s Emoji Movie Is Basically One Long Commercial For Mobile Apps

At a presentation at Las Vegas’ Cinemacon earlier this week, Sony Pictures Animation president Kristine Belson revealed new details about the studio’s upcoming emoji movie, and unveiled some of its stars: mobile apps.

Belson explained that the as-yet-untitled project will incorporate real-life smartphone apps into “a powerful movie about self expression” that will be “very emotional.” The movie takes place inside of a smartphone, where the industrious Emoji live and work in Emoji Valley. Eventually, they discover the home screen (“the world of the wallpaper”) which sets them off on their branded adventures through a mobile app landscape.

While no app makers have been officially announced yet, a Sony insider confirmed to The Wrap that Spotify would be featured in the film. In their case, the emoji “characters navigate boats on an actual stream to represent music streaming.” Concept art at the Cinemacon presentation also included Facebook, though their participation in the film is not confirmed. (The logo art at the top of this post is the only publicly revealed art thus far.)

Terms of the deal between Spotify and Sony were not known, but product placements “are typically negotiated by way of paid placement or media buys,” the Wrap noted. While Sony stands to make a lot of money from these placements, the inclusion of real-life brands could potentially date the film, especially considering how quickly tech companies come and go.

Tony Leondis (Igor, Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch) is directing the project, which Sony acquired last summer after a bidding war. Leondis is also writing the movie with Eric Siegel, who has produced and written a number of little-known TV series.

Those who saw Belson’s presentation were not impressed, like Andrew Sims of Hypable, who wrote that, “We got a Wreck-It Ralph vibe from the preview and don’t expect this one to be very good.”

The emoji movie will be released on August 11, 2017. Sony Pictures Animation is also planning to release Smurfs: The Lost Village and The Lamb in 2017.

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