Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Nickelodeon Renews 'Baby Shark's Big Show!' For Season 3; Announces 'Fin-Shaking Dance Songs' Music Album

Baby Shark's Big Show! Fin-Shaking Dance Songs Music Album, Featuring Popular Tracks from Hit Animated Preschool Series, Set for Release Friday, June 16

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BURBANK, Calif., June 13, 2023 -- Nickelodeon is making a splash this summer with Baby Shark's Big Show!--renewing the hit animated preschool series for a third season and releasing the first-ever collection of fan-favorite songs with The Pinkfong Company. Co-produced by Nickelodeon Animation and The Pinkfong Company, the new season (18 half-hour episodes; four hour-long musical specials) will follow Baby Shark, his family, and his friends as they dive into unexpected adventures in Carnivore Cove and beyond, from adopting cuddly sea-critter pets to meeting electrifying new fishy friends and more. The Baby Shark universe also continues to expand with the release of Baby Shark's Big Show! Fin-Shaking Dance Songs, a music album featuring fin-tastic songs from the first two seasons of the series, on Friday, June 16. The first season of Baby Shark's Big Show! is available to stream now on Paramount+.

Baby Shark’s Big Show! Fin-Shaking Dance Songs Album Cover

Returning for the third season of Baby Shark's Big Show! is the original series voice cast: Kimiko Glenn (Orange is the New Black) as Baby Shark; Luke Youngblood (Glitch Techs, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) as William; Natasha Rothwell (Insecure) as Mommy Shark; Eric Edelstein (We Bare Bears) as Daddy Shark; Debra Wilson (MADtv) as Grandma Shark; and Patrick Warburton (Tak & the Power of Juju, The X's, Rules of Engagement, Family Guy, Seinfeld) as Grandpa Shark.

Fans of Baby Shark's Big Show! will be able to sing and dance along to their favorite tunes with the release of Baby Shark's Big Show! Fin-Shaking Dance Songs, available Friday, June 16, globally on all music streaming platforms, including Apple Music, Amazon Music, Spotify, YouTube Music and more. Released through a partnership with Sony Music Entertainment UK's Relentless Records, Baby Shark's Big Show! Fin-Shaking Dance Songs track list is as follows:

  1. Baby Shark's Big Show! Theme Song 
  2. Welcome Home to Carnivore Cove 
  3. Lagoon Lemonade 
  4. Fincredible
  5. Yup Yup Yup 
  6. Bubble Boogie 
  7. If I Had a Pet
  8. My Best Friend is You
  9. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under My Heart 
  10. Baby Shark's Big Show! Credits Song

This Baby Shark news comes on the heels of Nickelodeon, Paramount+ and The Pinkfong Company's recent announcement of the celebrity voice cast for Baby Shark's Big Movie, the first-ever feature-length original animated movie based on the globally beloved franchise. The star-studded guest lineup includes: Ashley Tisdale (Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe, High School Musical), Aparna Nancherla (Mira, Royal Detective), Ego Nwodim (Saturday Night Live), Chloe Fineman (Saturday Night Live, Father of the Bride), ENHYPEN and Lance Bass, alongside returning series guest stars Cardi B and her family Offset, Kulture and newcomer Wave. Premiering on Paramount+ this holiday season, Baby Shark's Big Movie will follow Baby Shark and his family as they move to Chomp City, the big city of sharks. 

Pinkfong Baby Shark launched on YouTube in November 2015 and took the world by storm, becoming the world's first video ever to hit 10 billion views on YouTube, making it the most-viewed video in YouTube history. With music, characters, story and dance all combined together, the song certified RIAA Diamond and 11x platinum single for selling over 11 million units in the U.S., and spawned a viral phenomenon, #BabySharkChallenge, generating over one million cover videos around the globe. 

Baby Shark's Big Show! is executive produced by Gary "Doodles" DiRaffaele (Breadwinners), Tommy Sica (Breadwinners) and Whitney Ralls (My Little Pony: Equestria Girls), with Ralls also serving as Writer for Baby Shark's Big Movie. Both Baby Shark's Big Movie and Baby Shark's Big Show! are produced by Nickelodeon Animation in Burbank, Calif., with production overseen by Eryk Casemiro, Executive Vice President, Global Animated Series, Nickelodeon. Max Goodman serves as Nickelodeon's Executive in Charge of Production for the series. Miriam Ritchie serves as Nickelodeon's Executive in Charge of Production for the movie.

About The Pinkfong Company
The Pinkfong Company is a global entertainment company that delivers content and entertaining experiences around the world. Driven by award-winning brands and IPs, the company has created and distributed a range of content across genres and formats including original animated series, world live tours, interactive games, and more. Believing in the power of entertaining and engaging content, The Pinkfong Company is committed to connecting people around the world and bringing joy and inspiration to worldwide audiences of all ages. For more information, please visit our website or follow the company on LinkedIn

About Paramount+
Paramount+, a direct-to-consumer digital subscription video on-demand and live streaming service, combines live sports, breaking news and a mountain of entertainment. The premium streaming service features an expansive library of original series, hit shows and popular movies across every genre from world-renowned brands and production studios, including BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and the Smithsonian Channel. The service is also the streaming home to unmatched sports programming, including every CBS Sports event, from golf to football to basketball and more, plus exclusive streaming rights for major sports properties, including some of the world's biggest and most popular soccer leagues. Paramount+ also enables subscribers to stream local CBS stations live across the U.S. in addition to the ability to stream CBS News Network for 24/7 news and CBS Sports HQ for sports news and analysis.

For more information about Paramount+, please visit www.paramountplus.com and follow @ParamountPlus on social platforms.

About Nickelodeon
Nickelodeon, now in its 44th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The brand includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, location-based experiences, publishing and feature films. For more information or artwork, visit http://www.nickpress.com. Nickelodeon is a part of Paramount's (Nasdaq: PARA, PARAA) global portfolio of multimedia entertainment brands.


Stream your favorite Nick Jr. shows on Paramount+ and Noggin! Try Paramount+ for FREE at ParamountPlus.com!

Source: PR Newswire; H/T: Hawaii News Now.

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PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie | Official Trailer (2023 Movie) | Paramount Pictures

PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie | Official Trailer (2023 Movie) | Paramount Pictures

This September, a new breed of heroes hits the big screen. Meet the Mighty Pups in our SUPER new trailer for PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie. #PawPatrolMovie

When a magical meteor crash lands in Adventure City, it gives the PAW Patrol pups superpowers, transforming them into The MIGHTY PUPS! For Skye, the smallest member of the team, her new powers are a dream come true. But things take a turn for the worse when the pups' arch-rival Humdinger breaks out of jail and teams up with a mad scientist to steal the superpowers for the two villains. With the fate of Adventure City hanging in the balance, the Mighty Pups have to stop the supervillains before it's too late, and Skye will need to learn that even the smallest pup can make the biggest difference.

PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie features the voices of Mckenna Grace, Taraji P. Henson as Vee, Marsai Martin as Liberty, Christian Convery as Chase, Ron Pardo as Mayor Humdinger, Lil Rel Howery, Kim Kardashian, Chris Rock, Serena Williams, Alan Kim, Brice Gonzalez, North West, Saint West, Christian Corrao, Luxton Handspiker as Rubble, Nylan Parthipan, Callum Shoniker as Rocky, with James Marsden and Kristen Bell, introducing Finn Lee-Epp.

PAW Patrol fans can stream full episodes of PAW Patrol, PAW Patrol: The Movie and PAW Patrol Live! At Home featuring "Race to the Rescue" on Paramount+. Try it FREE today at ParamountPlus.com.

Originally published: June 12, 2023 at 14:10 BST.

Additional sources: Animation Magazine, PAW Patrol Wiki.

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Classic Rugrats Comic Strip for June 13, 2023 | Nickelodeon

Classic Rugrats Comic Strip for June 13, 2023 | Nickelodeon

Stream the classic and the all new CG-animated Rugrats series on Paramount+! Try it FREE at ParamountPlus.com!

Rugrats, provided to Creators Syndicate by Nickelodeon, based off the popular animated television series has been created for children and family's to laugh and enjoy together.

Follow these comics and their take on real episodes of the show and their own spin on hilarious adventures.

Read more Rugrats comic strips!: https://www.creators.com/features/rugrats

More Nick: Paramount+ Renews 'Rugrats' For Season 3!

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Annecy to Host 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem' Screening Event on June 12

Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Animation Studio and  will be screening a work in progress version of the upcoming movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem at the 2023 Annecy International Animation Film Festival! The special screening event will take place at the Bonlieu Grande salle on Monday, June 12 between 18h00 to 19h55. Be there!

Please note, this programme will be screened in its original English version without subtitles.

The event is open to all badgeholders by reservation.

After years of being sheltered from the human world, the Turtle brothers set out to win the hearts of New Yorkers and be accepted as normal teenagers through heroic acts. Their new friend April O'Neil helps them take on a mysterious crime syndicate, but they soon get in over their heads when an army of mutants is unleashed upon them.

Mikros Animation has a big presence at Annecy 2023, under the theme "Carnival". You can find out more details about their Annecy highlights at https://info.mikrosanimation.com/mikros-animation-at-annecy-festival-2023.

About the film


Original title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (Work in progress version)
Directors  Jeff ROWE, Kyler SPEARS
Version: English
Duration: 01 h 55 mn 00 sec
Country: USA

Technical sheet:

Production year: 2023
Category: Sneak preview
Process: Colour
Technique(s) used: 3D computer, diverse techniques

Nickelodeon Animation will also host a panel at Annecy 2023 on Tuesday, June 13 at 16:00, in which Nickelodeon Animation will talk about what type of projects and programs the studio is looking for.

From Variety:

‘Mutant Mayhem’s’ Jeff Rowe, Nora Twomey, Nickelodeon’s Latifa Ouaou to Debate Animation’s New Creativity at Variety Annecy Panel

Variety will host a panel at the Annecy Animation Festival, Breaking the Borders of Animation, focusing on one of the key – and most exciting –  talking points in the medium: How animation is currently being revolutionized and reimagined by new waves of creativity and technology.

The panel has been organised with Nickelodeon as its official partner. 

On Tuesday June13, Variety’s chief film critic Peter Debruge will encourage his guests to wonder about the future of the art form, starting with Latifa Ouaou, EVP of Paramount and Nickelodeon Animation, who also executive produced “The Grinch” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru.”

“Breaking the boundaries of animation is such a great topic to speak about because it’s a very exciting time in animation,” she notes. 

“[‘Spider-Man: Across the] Spider-Verse’ was the beginning of a new wave in animation. It gave us the freedom to move away from conventional realism and into bold and abstract expressions of realities. The future is no longer predictable in terms of what to expect next. And that is exciting.”

Nora Twomey, co-founder of Cartoon Saloon – a Kilkenny-based animation film, short film and television studio behind such hits as Oscar-nominated “The Secret of Kells” and “The Song of the Sea” – adds: “Recently, a number of films, series and games have stood out from the crowd because of brave artistic choices. As producers and financiers are beginning to trust the audience more and put more daring visuals on screen, we are witnessing the medium being pushed artistically in such amazing ways,” she says. 

Twomey also directed “The Breadwinner” and “My Father’s Dragon.”

“Rather than a race to visual realism, we are witnessing a race to amazing artistic expression and audiences respond to that. There is a truth and timelessness to that expression, rather than the fleeting nothingness evident when no one takes risks.” 

Directors Michael “Mike” Rianda, behind award-winning “The Mitchells vs. the Machines,” his co-helmer on the film Jeff Rowe, who went on to direct “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem,” sneak-peaked at Annecy, and Slovenia’s Špela Čadež will also join the discussion.

“We are lucky to have great franchises to work with like ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,’ ‘Avatar’ and ‘SpongeBob.’ It’s our job is to attract the best talent and to create new stories and styles that audiences will find irresistible. ‘Mutant Mayhem’ is a great example of how matching the right talent with the right property can make magic,” notes Ouaou, while Twomey is hoping to see more authentic stories and new perspectives.

“I see the audience’s appetite for more of the artist’s hand on the screen rather than digital blandness,” she observes.

“The bravery in some of the recent content and how it’s been responded to really makes me hopeful for the future.”

“As someone who comes from the world of artistic independent animation, I would like to emphasize such aspects as celebrating artistic freedom, personal expressive works and commitment to revere artistic innovation in animation,” adds Špela Čadež.

Her recent short “Steakhouse” was awarded at Annecy and Locarno. Čadež is also a co-founder of Ljubljana’s Finta Film, specialized in producing stop-motion animated films.

“To support and protect indie animation, it is essential to create avenues for funding, provide access to resources and training, establish mentorship programs, promote awareness and appreciation of indie animation through festivals, screenings, and distribution channels,” she states. 

“Collaboration between industry stakeholders, educational institutions, and funding organizations is crucial to sustain and nourish the independent animation community.”

Still, as argued by Čadež, the biggest changes in animation have come from advancements in technology and the increasing popularity of digital platforms.

“These developments have collectively expanded its creative possibilities and [allowed it] to reach wider audiences,” she observes. 

“The future of indie animation is driven by technological advancements, digital distribution platforms, funding opportunities, diverse storytelling, experimentation, collaborative networks and increasing recognition. These factors will continue to shape a vibrant and innovative indie animation landscape, offering artists the freedom to create unique and compelling animations that resonate with audiences worldwide.”

According to Twomey, navigating the industry has always been difficult for animation companies, animators and directors.

“Over the last few decades, there were times that have been considered an ‘Animation Renaissance’ but those periods were quickly followed by thousands of industry lay-offs and cancelled projects. I don’t see that cycle changing anytime soon,” she says.

But while technological breakthroughs are certainly changing the medium – “for better and for worse” – it’s up to the entire industry to maintain the standard of storytelling and artistic authenticity. 

“When I started out over two decades ago, digital animation tools became accessible for smaller companies and smaller budgets. For Cartoon Saloon, that gave us our first path to a cinema audience with our short films. It’s interesting to see what opportunities and challenges lay ahead for everyone.”

“The pandemic, in all of its misery, had some positive impact – it allowed us to work more easily with artists and storytellers all over the world,” sums up Ouaou.  

“The advances of technology are definitely in lock step with the imagination and ambition that the filmmakers are bringing to the table. Also, more than ever, the novice has access to tools to create content and distribute it online globally. That is something that has broken boundaries.”


Catch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, only in theatres August 2, 2023!

Stream Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Paramount+! Try it FREE at ParamountPlus.com!

Subscribe to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles OFFICIAL YouTube channel - the ultimate home for all things TMNT! Here you’ll find Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello’s best moments from all your favorite TMNT series. Join the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in their fight against evil, and be the first to get notified of exclusive original content you won’t find anywhere else! https://at.nick.com/TMNTSubscribe

Originally published: June 08, 2023.

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Nickelodeon Movies Brings Back Older 'Splat' Logo

Nickelodeon Movies released the first trailer for PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie today (June 12), giving fans a first look at the upcoming PAW Patrol film. The trailer also features an extra bonus Easter Egg: it uses an older version of the Nickelodeon Movies 'Splat' logo, complete with the iconic 'Balloon' font from Nickelodeon's classic logos!

Nickelodeon Movies logo

In fact, this isn't the only movie Nickelodeon is using its older logo for: the trailers for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem use a modified green-based 'Splat' logo, with a slightly modified Balloon typeface:

Nickelodeon Movies logo

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem leaps into theaters on August 2 followed by PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie on September 29.

Stream a Mountain of Entertainment, including your Nickelodeon favorites on Paramount+! Try it FREE at ParamountPlus.com!

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Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change Multi-Year Initiative Selects Waterfront Partnership As Beneficiary

Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change Multi-Year Initiative Selects Waterfront Partnership As Beneficiary

SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change

Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore announced on June 9 a partnership with Paramount and Nickelodeon in which the nonprofit, specifically its internationally acclaimed family of solar-powered interceptors, known as Trash Wheels, will benefit from a brand-new, multi-year global ocean conservation and sustainability initiative called SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change.  In celebration of World Oceans Day on June 8th, Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore unveiled a SpongeBob SquarePants branded trash wheel, which will leverage the reach of the globally beloved undersea dweller to help raise awareness about ocean plastic pollution.

“We’re thrilled that the Mr. Trash Wheel family — both his impact and innovation — resonated with Nickelodeon and Paramount. This adoption of Baltimore’s fourth Trash Wheel, Gwynnda the Good Wheel of the West, will fund the removal of over 500,000 pounds of trash and debris while educating children and families across the world about ocean pollution and how to stop it,” said Adam Lindquist, vice president of the Healthy Harbor Initiative at the Waterfront Partnership.  

Gwynnda the Good Wheel of the West

By funding cleanup projects like Gwynnda the Good Wheel of the West, the initiative aims to help protect the ocean from plastic pollution and biodiversity loss by helping to remove and divert five million pounds of ocean plastic over the next four years. SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change will sponsor trash collection activities through 2023 for Gwynnda the Good Wheel of the West [located in Gwynns Falls]. Other nonprofit partners include Coral Restoration Foundation, Plastics Ocean International, Surfers Against Sewage and WORK.

Gwynnda the Good Wheel of the West will don SpongeBob SquarePants branding as part help raise awareness about ocean plastic pollution. 

Mr. Trash Wheel and Professor Trash Wheel have been adopted by Baltimore-based Pompeian Olive Oil since 2021. Partnerships like this provide the funds necessary for the organization to keep Baltimore’s beloved trash wheels in motion and help the organization continue to educate Baltimore City residents and visitors about its programs and mission to restore and protect the Baltimore Harbor.   

Gwynnda the Good Wheel of the West

Since 2014, Mr. Trash Wheel and three other Baltimore-based wheels, have collected over 2,362.23 tons of trash, including a guitar, a snake, almost 2 million plastic bottles, and more, from entering Baltimore’s waterways and eventually the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The wheels have gained an international following for their anthropomorphic personalities on social media. 

Mr. Trash Wheel and his trash wheel family are one part of the Waterfront Partnership’s Healthy Harbor Initiative, which provides a roadmap for cleaning up Baltimore’s Harbor and the waterways leading to the Harbor. A clean Harbor and clean streams will provide opportunities for residents and area families to enjoy clean water in their neighborhoods. Greener and cleaner neighborhoods will make Baltimore City and Baltimore County more livable for all our citizens. For more information, visit healthyharbor.org.  

Waterfront Partnership, in collaboration with our government, business, and community partners, creates a clean, green, safe, sustainable and thriving urban waterfront for all to enjoy. We’re lean, nimble and effective; the only organization that wakes up every day, rolls its sleeves up and gets to work on new ways we can make Baltimore’s Waterfront even more active, attractive and appealing. We’re the hosts who greet visitors, the creators of programs and promotions and managers of our beautiful parks. We encourage investment in Baltimore’s most celebrated asset so it can continue to grow, to serve as a place of pride and the place where Baltimoreans come together to recreate and to celebrate. For more information, visit waterfrontpartnership.org.

Watch the SpongeBob SquarePants Universe, including Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years and The Patrick Star Show on Nickelodeon and Paramount+! Try it FREE at ParamountPlus.com.

Listen to The SpongeBob Musical here!

CALLING ALL GOOFY GOOBERS! (ROCK!) Are ya ready for a deep dive into the world of SpongeBob SquarePants? The SpongeBob YouTube channel is THE PLACE for all fan-favorite SpongeBob moments! Subscribe now at https://www.youtube.com/SpongeBobOfficial!

Originally published: June 13, 2023.

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Tom Kenny Reveals SpongeBob Is a Fan of Beyoncé

It's official - SpongeBob SquarePants is a big fan of Beyoncé!

Tom Kenny revealed the news during a recent special appearance at the University of Delaware for Geek Week.

During the event, SpongeBob's long-time voice actor was asked, if SpongeBob was a drag queen, what would his performance song be? Kenny answered, in SpongeBob's voice, saying “Anything Beyoncé.”

Throughout his discussion with the audience, Kenny sarcastically (and briefly) went on tangents about how artificial intelligence (AI) was going to take over his career of voice acting. He even slipped in the notion that the takeover is already on its way.

You can read more about Kenny's appearance at University of Delaware here!

Watch the SpongeBob SquarePants Universe, including Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years and The Patrick Star Show on Nickelodeon and Paramount+! Try it FREE at ParamountPlus.com.

Listen to The SpongeBob Musical here!

CALLING ALL GOOFY GOOBERS! (ROCK!) Are ya ready for a deep dive into the world of SpongeBob SquarePants? The SpongeBob YouTube channel is THE PLACE for all fan-favorite SpongeBob moments! Subscribe now at https://www.youtube.com/SpongeBobOfficial!

Lead image via Drag Race Wiki.

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Paramount & Nickelodeon Animation’s Ramsey Naito On ‘TMNT: Mutant Mayhem’, The 'Secret Sauce' Of Franchise Strategy and More – Annecy

Ramsey Naito, President, Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation, has a big remit, overseeing all of the groups’ operations from development through release. The respected veteran also has big hopes for an upcoming slate of franchise installments as well as original features. 

TMNT: Mutant Mayhem | Paramount
TMNT: Mutant Mayhem | Paramount

At CinemaCon in April, she whet exhibition’s appetite for the August release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, bringing writer and producer Seth Rogen to the stage for an extended look. Tonight (June 12) at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, Naito and the movie’s director and co-screenwriter, Jeff Rowe, will present a work-in-progress screening to the audience.

Deadline recently caught up with the exec to talk about the new-look take on the Heroes on the Half-Shell as well as Transformers One, the first animated Transformers film in nearly 40 years which is due in September 2024 and features a starry voice cast. Deadline and Naito also discussed Paramount and Nickelodeon’s franchise strategy, and the evolving and inspiring role of women in the industry. “When I started my career,” Naito says below, “I was often the only woman in the room let alone Asian American woman in the room. Now, there are so many women at the table.”

(This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity)

DEADLINE: You’re bringing a work-in-progress version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem to Annecy this year. After debuting footage at CinemaCon in April, what made you want to show the whole film at this festival?

RAMSEY NAITO: I’m so confident about it. We love the film, it’s one of the films personally in my career that I’m so proud of, I’m so proud of the team.

I’ve been going (to Annecy) for years, and have become really close with the whole leadership of the festival… I feel like it’s the Cannes of animation festivals. Because of their love of animation and inspiring the community and really picking topics that are meaningful, all the majors go and show their wares and bring talent to talk about their wares and the making of… The thing I really love is the real audience are the students, so all of this adds up to connecting the world and inspiring animators which is the next generation of makers. We feel like it’s a safe place to show a work-in-progress.

DEADLINE: Mutant Mayhem has a unique animation style. What was the process like developing the project? And bringing the team on board including Seth Rogen and Jeff Rowe?

NAITO: I remember when I first started at Nickelodeon in 2018, Brian (Robbins, Paramount Pictures President and CEO and President of Nickelodeon) and I were in his office and we were talking about who are we gonna invite into Turtles, it’s such a great title, and we both said, ‘Seth Rogen.’ Then, lucky for us Seth was a superfan; he grew up with Turtles and really loved it. Then Jeff came in and it was the same thing, that love really amounted to so many great things in the film which is the look. And they really wanted to tell a story that embraced the teenage part — and to our surprise there hadn’t been any stories told about the teenage part which was weird.

Jeff in particular gravitated towards teenage doodles, high school doodles that kids start doing in their notebooks… Those doodles are infused and inspired and embraced by raw budding hormones and dreams of empowerment and the desire of being accepted. All of those things combined really inspired the look of the film which is so tactile, and ended up also then along the way of being infused with the spirit of New York — the smells of the subway, grit, grime,  energy. It has so much energy look-wise.

The development was born out of the teenage part of TMNT that was really organic. And because of the coming-of-age part of it, Seth being the comic genius that he is through these unique characters brought voice and comedy and heart.

Ramsey Naito | Paramount
Ramsey Naito | Paramount

DEADLINE: How would you categorize it within the franchise?

NAITO: It’s a reimagining relaunch with new creators that are coming in through the door with these characters being teenagers. It embraces more that coming-of-age spirit and is really kind of an origins story of how these turtles became ninja and how they became mutant and heroes.

DEADLINE: It’s been almost two years since Paramount and Nickelodeon Animation combined forces under one roof. How has this alignment helped the growth of the content and your overall vision for the studio?

NAITO: Five years ago, when I joined Brian at Nickelodeon, it was a reunion because I started my career there. My blood is a little orange and always has been because I love the brand so much and what it stands for.  When I started, we had like nine productions and very quickly we scaled to nearly 60 across movies and series and digital content.

When Nickelodeon and Paramount came together, it really solidified our presence with animation in the theatrical space; it also solidified us being a world class studio because we not only had linear and Paramount+, but we also had Paramount Pictures’ distribution platforms at our control. It solidified our presence, but also fired up our culture, our talent relationships and gave us so many opportunities in terms of telling stories.

Going back to Turtles, it’s a really great example about how Paramount Pictures anchored Turtles as a real theatrical play that we could control and plan for. But also, Seth Rogen and that whole team coming in and embracing Turtles knowing that it was theatrical really was meaningful. 

The bottom line is that the inclusion really did mean something to us and opened up so many doors. There is nothing like a theatrical play.

DEADLINE: With Mutant Mayhem, that makes six new upcoming installments to major animated franchises including PAW Patrol, Smurfs, SpongeBob, Avatar and Transformers that you have added to your theatrical slate since taking on your current role in September 2021. How important are franchise films to your business strategy for the studio?

NAITO: The strength of every franchise comes from the talent behind those franchises telling those stories. Outside of the business of reinvigorating these titles there is an art matching these titles with creators that love them and that is the real secret sauce to the success of any franchise strategy. 

We are also very invested in originals and our ability to be able to launch original titles theatrically that allows us to add to our incredible library of franchise titles which is really important to creating the next franchise of the future.

DEADLINE: What to you makes a film theatrical?

NAITO: I think the bottom line is really great characters, really great stories, but talent that can tell a story that is impactful and has heart and soul and also embraces the genre whether its comedy or action or action/comedy in a way that feels fresh and cinematic.

I think theatricals have to really make a mark out there, they have to speak to audiences in a way that make them want to get up and go out and leave their living room or their phone and see something that feels like an experience. 

And in animation, I think the look really has to feel different, it has to be something they can’t get on TV or on their devices and has to deliver of a quality that is sensational.

DEADLINE: Can you speak a bit more about Transformers One, the first animated Transformers movie in 40 years that you announced at CinemaCon with a voice cast that features Chris Hemsworth, Brian Tyree Henry, Scarlett Johansson, Keegan-Michael Key, Jon Hamm and Laurence Fishburne?

NAITO: It is truly a resonant cast. It’s an origins story that tells the backstory of Megatron and Optimus, it’s really a brother-to-foe type of story. It takes place on Cybertron which is the planet that they all speak to and the planet we see in the live-action movies being destroyed. So here, being that it’s an origin and it’s when they are young, this planet is beautiful, alive, a spectacle, a personality and a character in itself.

What I understand fans have always been interested in is knowing more about their backstory and knowing about Cybertron; and in live-action, let’s face it, it would be a very hard thing to create. In animation, it’s a perfect thing to create because in animation everything is created.

DEADLINE: At Annecy, you’re also involved in the Women in Animation World Summit. How have you seen the evolution of women working in animation across your career?

NAITO: When I started my career, I was often the only woman in the room let alone Asian American woman in the room. Now, there are so many women at the table. It’s really great and inspiring and empowering. I feel like there’s more support for women in our industry than ever before. I’m so glad I can be a part of it because when I was younger that support wasn’t there, the dialogue wasn’t there. 

Women are coming into the workforce in a really big way and that’s great. I think there’s lots of opportunity for women, and women are talking and mentoring women and connecting and changing culture to include everybody. A big part of the culture is changing in general. In a world of inclusion, we are providing opportunity for everyone. We also have to provide a culture to keep developing opportunities along the way.

DEADLINE: Turning back to animation in general, I’m always fascinated how feature animation manages to hit notes that resonate for both kids and adults. How do you work to strike that balance?

NAITO: It’s a big part of our development process across the board; that we are telling stories, but more specifically when it comes to comedy, relating to the parents in the room and also to the kids. When those jokes can ring bells on both sides of the fence in different ways, that’s the real goal. And it does require really smart clever writing by writers who have wit and language.

DEADLINE: And particularly when films are being dubbed into different languages…

NAITO: The people who have the jobs to translate and make that sing across the globe are geniuses.

DEADLINE: What was the first animated movie you remember seeing?

NAITO: Fantasia, I love Fantasia.

DEADLINE: Do you think that experience had any impact on what you do today?

NAITO: Yes and no. I never thought I would work in animation, I went to school to be an artist, but I loved animation. Why I loved Fantasia and why I still do is it made such an impression on me in terms of moving picture and music and the ability to have a narrative without language and how moving and awesome that would be for a kid who may not be able to speak yet, that’s great.

DEADLINE: It’s funny that we were just talking about how to hit notes in different languages, yet you referenced a film that has essentially no spoken dialogue...

NAITO: In some weird way there is a beauty to animation that can do that all the time.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem leaps into theaters on August 2 followed by PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie on September 29.

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