News Bytes: ‘Lightyear’ Blasts Off with $5.2M, ‘Solar Opposites’ S3 First Look, ‘Super Sema’ Returns, Nick Animators Recreate ‘Great Day in Harlem’ & More

Disney-Pixar’s Lightyear is ready to rocket up the domestic box-office charts, with trades reporting a $5.2 million Thursdsay preview night take. The Toy Story spinoff directed by Angus MacLane is expected to enjoy a $70-80M launch this weekend, screening across 4,200 North American theaters.

While the $200M movie is being rebuffed bye anti-LGBTQ governments in over a dozen countries due to the studio’s first kiss between two women, Lightyear still looks a sure bet to take the No. 1 BO slot at opening.

Onward, Pixar’s last theatrical opening before COVID-19 lockdowns began in March 2020, only scored $2M for its preview night. However, the last franchise entry Toy Story 4 (2019) stuffed a $12M Thursday take in the ol’ toy chest.

To prepare us puny Earthlings for the upcoming Solar Opposites landing, check out the new catch up video and a first look at Season 3. The series returns to Hulu on Wednesday, July 13 with 11 episodes.

The 20th Television show is executive produced by co-creators Justin Roiland (Rick and Morty) & Michael McMahan (Star Trek: Lower Decks) and Josh Bycel.

Solar Opposites centers on a team of four aliens who are evenly split on whether Earth is awful or awesome. Korvo (Roiland) and Yumyulack (Sean Giambrone) only see the pollution, crass consumerism and human frailty while Terry (Thomas Middleditch) and Jesse (Mary Mack) love TV, junk food and fun stuff.

In S3, this alien team strives to be less of a team and more of a family team.


Super Sema
Super Sema

Today (June 17), YouTube Kids & Family premiered the second season of NAACP Image Award nominee Super Sema — executive produced by Academy Award-winning actress and New York Times best-selling author Lupita Nyong’o (who also voices the role of Mama Dunia) and written by four-time BAFTA winner Claudia Lloyd (Charlie & Lola, Mr. Bean, Tinga Tinga Tales)

The new season features longer 11-minute episodes and sees Sema and her friends take even more exciting world-changing adventures, using their clever STEAM skills and inspired technovations to save their town of Dunia from an evil AI robot. New Season 2  episodes and content will continue rolling out Fridays, only on the Super Sema YouTube channel.

The action-packed series episodes will be followed by “Let’s Technovate with Super Sema” — animated STEAM educational vlogs where Sema and her friends explore fun projects and experiments that kids can do at home to learn more about the science behind Sema’s technovations. Music videos with full-length versions of the catchy songs from the series round out the Friday new releases.

Super Sema, Africa’s first kid superhero franchise, has garnered approximately 40M views on its official YouTube channel since 2021, plus licensing deals for toys (Just Play), publishing (Penguin Random House and Bendon) and apparel (Bentex). The series is created and produced by Nairobi-based children’s entertainment company Kukua. Nadine Zylstra is Global Head of YouTube Originals. Craig Hunter serves as Global Head of Kids & Family Originals for YouTube. Daniel Haack is the creative lead on Super Sema for YouTube Originals.


‘A Great Day in Animation’ [Photo: Randy Shropshire]
Nickelodeon Animation and Paramount Pictures hosted a photo shoot celebrating the diversity and impact of Black animation professionals in our community. The picture above was inspired by Art Kane’s iconic 1958 photo A Great Day in Harlem, and shines a light on 55 outstanding creators, story artists, animators, directors and executives who have devoted their careers to this craft and made long lasting impressions within our industry. This historic gathering took place on the  Paramount backlot on Sunday, June 5.

The idea for the portrait was brought to Nickelodeon by Marlon West (Encanto, Moana, Frozen), who enlisted his friends Bruce Smith (Bebe’s Kids, The Proud Family), Peter Ramsey (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) and Everett Downing (We the People, Hair Love) and spearheaded from the Nickelodeon side by Camille Eden, VP, Recruitment, Talent Development & Outreach, along with her team: Robbie Siron, Sharon Wen, Trishawn Ellis and Victor Nwaopara.

Pictured: Aaron Spurgeon, Abelle Hayford, Ayo Davis, Breana Williams, Brie E Henderson, Bruce W. Smith, Camille Eden, Carole Holliday, Chris Copeland, Chrystin Garland, Constance Allen, Deborah Anderson, Devin Crane, Eric, Ramsey, Everett Downing Jr., Floyd Norman, Frank Abney, Jay Francis, Justin Copeland, Kaela Lash, Kai Akira, Karen Toliver, Kelley Gardner, Kemp Powers, Kenny Thompkins, Kwesi Davis, Latoya Raveneau, Layron DeJarnette, Lennie Graves, Lenord Robinson, Leo D. Sullivan, Leo Sullivan Jr., Lyndon Barrois Jr., Lynne Southerland, Maimuna Venzant, Marcella Brown, Marlon West, Marshall Toomey, Morenike Dosu, Peter Ramsey, Pixote Hunt, Ralph Farquhar, Reginald Hudlin, Robert Tyler, Ron Husband, Ron Myrick, Shabrayia Cleaver, Shari B. Ellis, Shavonne Cherry, Shay Stone, Sidney Clifton, Swinton Scott, Tara Nicole Whitaker, Tyree Dillihay and Umaimah Damakk.


Bret Parker | Zootopia | Shadi Petosky | Out

The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco has announced its Pride Month programming highlights, bringing talented queer animation artists and impactful films to The Presidio this month:

  • Fri., June 24 at 5:30 p.m. PT (FREE Zoom Webinar): Happily Ever After Hours with Bret Parker. Artist and voice actress Bret Parker discusses her 26-year career in animation. Parker recently found time away from her day job in the Animation Department at Pixar to make her own independent animated short, Pete, based on a true story about gender identity, Little League baseball, the people who inspire change by trying to be themselves and the superheroes who allow that change to happen.
  • Wed., June 29 at 5:30 p.m. (FREE Zoom Webinar): Happily Ever After Hours with Shadi PetoskyJoin TV showrunner Shadi Petosky as she discusses her career in Hollywood as an animator, writer and television producer, including the creation of her Emmy-winning show Danger & Eggs, pioneering positive LGBTQ+ representation in children’s media.
  • Sat. & Sun., June 4-26 at 2 p.m. (Theater): Zootopia and OutCelebrate LGBTQ+ Pride with a month-long screening of Zootopia (2016), Disney’s Oscar-winning film from directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore. Zootopia is the story of a place where — no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew — you can be anything. This screening will also feature a special showing of Pixar’s SparkShorts film Out (2020) about a young gay man who struggles with coming out to his family.


The Bad Guys
The Bad Guys

DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys is ready to get cozy on Digital, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD this month in new Collector’s Edition releases from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment on June 21. Directed by Pierre Perifel and produced by Damon Ross and Rebecca Huntley from a screenplay by Etan Cohen, the stylized CGI action-comedy is based on the hit graphic novels by Aaron Blabey.

Synopsis: Never have there been five friends as infamous as The Bad Guys — Mr. Wolf (voiced by Sam Rockwell), Mr. Snake (Marc Maron), Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos), Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson) and Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina). After years of countless heists and being the world’s most-wanted villains, the gang is finally caught. Mr. Wolf brokers a deal to keep them out of prison and the Bad Guys set out to fool the world into believing they’ve gone good.

Exclusive Bonus Features:

  • All-new original short Maraschino Ruby In this original DreamWorks animated short, The Bad Guys are at it again, but not in the way you think. They’ve gone good! Find out what happens to the team after they go rogue in this sweet original short.
  • Deleted Scenes:
    • Original opening
    • Snake Attack
    • Extra Secret Base Tour
    • You Can’t Fake Good
    • Post Credits: Scientist Button
  • Devise the Plan: Making The Bad Guys – From book to storyboard to the silver screen, join the cast and filmmakers as they devise how to bring The Bad Guys to life.
  • Assemble the Crew – Go face to face with the voices behind our favorite animated bad guys – Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Shark, Ms. Tarantula & Mr. Piranha.
  • It’s Showtime: Cast Table Read – Teamwork is the ultimate ingredient in pulling off a job without a hitch. now that they’ve agreed on the plan, it’s time to bring the cast of The Bad Guys together for their first table read.
  • Snake’s Frozen Pop Shop – Want to learn how to make your own version of Mr. Snake’s favorite frozen pops? With these easy recipes, you’ll be on your way to chill-ville in no time. Want to go the extra mile? Create your own frozen pop disguises.
  • From the Drawing Room – Learn step by step from The Bad Guys head of story Nelson Yokota how you can create your very own storyboard and draw the film’s main characters:
    • How to Storyboard
    • How to Draw Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Shark, Ms. Tarantula, Mr. Piranha.
  • Feature Commentary – With director Pierre Perifel, producer Damon Ross, head of story Nelson Yokota, head of character animation JP Sans and production designer Luc Desmarchelier.



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