Sony Pictures Animation is an American animated film production company owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, founded in May 2002. It works closely with Sony Pictures Imageworks, which handles digital production. Theatrical releases are distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing under their Columbia Pictures label, and direct-to-video releases are distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The studio's first feature film, Open Season, was released in 2006, followed by a series of direct-to-video sequels. Other work includes The Smurfs film series and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.


In 2001, Sony Pictures Entertainment considered selling off its visual effects facility Sony Pictures Imageworks. After failing to find a suitable buyer, and having been impressed with the CGI sequences created for Stuart Little 2, and seeing the box office success of Shrek and Monsters, Inc., SPI was reconfigured to become an animation studio. Astro Boy, which had been in development at Sony since 1997 as a live-action film, was set to be SPI's first all-CGI film.[3] In May 2002, Sony Pictures Animation was established to develop characters, stories and movies, with SPI taking over the digital production while maintaining its visual effects production.[4] Meanwhile, SPI produced two short films, The ChubbChubbs! and Early Bloomer, as a result of testing its strengths and weakness in producing all-CG animation.[5]

On its first anniversary, Sony Pictures Animation announced a full slate of animated projects in development: Open Season, an adaptation of a Celtic folk ballad Tam Lin, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Surf's Up, and a feature length version of the short film The ChubbChubbs!.[6]

Its first feature film is Open Season, released in September 2006, which became Sony's second-highest-grossing home entertainment film in 2007 and spawned two direct-to-video sequels. Its second feature film, Surf's Up was released in June 2007, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, and won two Annie Awards. A motion-captured animated film, Neanderthals,[7] written and produced by Jon Favreau, was cancelled sometime in 2008,[8] after four years in development. SPA's first 3D movie since the IMAX 3D release of Open Season, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, was released in September 2009, and was nominated for four Annie Awards including Best Animated Feature. The Smurfs (2011) was the studio's first CGI/live-action hybrid and its most successful release. SPA's parent company Sony Pictures Entertainment has partnered in 2007 with Aardman Animations to finance, co-produce and distribute feature films.[9] Together, they produced a computer-animated film, Arthur Christmas (2011), and The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012), Sony's first stop-motion film, although made entirely by Aardman. Sony's latest release, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, directed by Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, was released in September 2013. SPA has since signed Genndy Tartakovsky to a long-term deal with the studio to develop and direct original films.[10]

The studio is currently working on Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015), a completely-animated Smurfs film (2016), and Popeye (2016).[11] It has many other projects in development, including Kazorn and the Unicorn,[12] Genndy Tartakovsky's Can You Imagine?[11] Lauren Faust's Medusa,[13] and a live-action/stop-motion film Superbago.[14]

On November 3, 2014 they have made a deal with Cartoon Hangover to create "GO! Cartoons".[15]

According to Kristine Belson, president of Sony Pictures Animation, the studio produces films on 1:1 development-to-production ratio, meaning that the studio puts films into development as much as it places films in production, unlike other animation studios.

The studio also currently has plans to produce adult animated content for digital platforms.


Feature filmsEdit

Released films

# Title Release date Budget Gross RT MC
Open Season 29th September 2006 $85 million $197 million 48% 49
2 Surf's Up 8th June 2007 $100 million $149 million 78% 64
3 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 18th September 2009 $100 million $243 million 87% 66
4 The Smurfs 29th July 2011 $110 million $563 million 22% 30
5 Arthur Christmas 23th November 2011 $100 million $147 million 92% 69
6 The Pirates! Band of Misfits 27th April 2012 $55 million $123 million 86% 73
7 Hotel Transylvania 28th September 2012 $85 million $358 million 45% 47
8 The Smurfs 2 31st July 2013 $105 million $347 million 14% 34
9 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 27th September 2013 $78 million $274 million 70% 59
10 Hotel Transylvania 2 25th September 2015 $80 million $468 million 54% 44
11 Goosebumps 16th October 2015 $58 million $146 million 76% 59
12 Smurfs: The Lost Village 7th April 2017 $60 million $189.9 million 38% 40
13 The Emoji Movie 28th July 2017 $50 million $160.4 million 9% 12
14 The Star 17th November 2017 $20 million $37 million 45% 42

Upcoming films

Title Release date Refs.
Peter Rabbit 8th February 2018
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation 13th July 2018
Goosebumps: Horrorland 21st September 2018
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 14th December 2018
Shannon Tindle's Scorch Code 3rd April 2020
The Catbots 24th July 2020
Heroes of the 95 25th September 2020
Vivo 18th December 2020

Films in development

Title Refs.
How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack
Kazorn and the Unicorn
Harold and the Purple Crayon
Genndy Tartakovsky's Can You Imagine?


# Title Release date
1 Open Season 2 27th January 2009
2 Open Season 3 25th January 2011
3 Open Season: Scared Silly 8th March 2016
4 Surf's Up 2: WaveMania 17th January 2017
5 Open Season: A Thanksgiving Happy 2018

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