Sony Animation Hanging 10 with Penguins

Endless Summer meets Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom in the latest CG feature film announcement, made today by Sony Pictures Animation. The studio, which is busy at work on the animated comedy, Open Season, today spilled the beans on the second animated movie in its production slate. Where Open Season has forest critters turning the tables on the sport of hunting, Surf’s Up will have animals tackling another extreme pastime.

The plot of Surf’s Up, revealed by Penney Finkelman-Cox and Sandra Rabins, exec VPs of Sony Pictures Animation, and Yair Landau, vice-chairman of Sony Pictures Ent., posits that surfing was invented by penguins and has a documentary crew going behind the scenes of the Penguin World Surfing Championship.

Directing duties go to Ash Brannon, who co-developed and co-directed Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 2, and fellow animator Chris Buck, who made his feature directing debut on Disney’s Tarzan. The film is being produced by Chris Jenkins, who was artistic coordinator on Disney’s Atlantis and head of effects animation on the Mouse House’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Working with the film’s creative team will be Quiksilver Ent., a division of action sports entertainment and brand marketer Quiksilver. The company’s Danny Kwock and Matt Jacobson will serve as creative consultants on Surf’s Up.

Open Season, scheduled to arrive in theaters sometime in 2006, is a buddy comedy about a happily domesticated 900 pound grizzly bear named Boog (voiced by Martin Lawrence), who has his comfortable world turned upside down when he meets a fast-talking, wild mule deer named Elliot (Ashton Kutcher). The movie also features the voices of Debra Messing (TV’s Will and Grace, The Mothman Prophecies) and Gary Sinise (Forest Gump, Ransom).