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Emoji movie, animated Spider-Man, Smurfs film get release dates

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Sony Pictures Animation

The upcoming animated Spider-Man film, the emoji movie, a biblical Christmas feature, and sequels for Smurfs​ and Hotel Transylvania have been given release dates, Sony Pictures Animation announced Monday.

An animated take on Marvel’s webslinging superhero has been set for Dec. 21, 2018. The Spider-man film will be helmed by The Lego Movie masterminds Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The film won’t interfere with plans to reboot its live-action Spider-Man and integrate the hero into the Marvel Cinematic Universe — beginning with next year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming starring Tom Holland.

Set for August 2017 is EmojiMovie: Express Yourself, a comic take on the world without our smartphones. The movie is directed by Anthony Leondis, who also co-wrote the film with Eric Siegel.

Also on the calendar is Smurfs: The Lost Village, a fully animated comedy that harks back to the original Peyo comics, directed by Shrek 2’s Kelly Asbury and written by Hotel Transylvania’s Stacey Harman and Pamela Ribon. The voice cast includes Demi Lovato as Smurfette, Jack McBrayer as Clumsy, Joe Manganiello as Hefty, Danny Pudi as Brainy, Rainn Wilson as Gargamel, and Mandy Patinkin as Papa. The film follows the live-action/animation hybrids The Smurfs (2011) and The Smurfs 2 (2013), and will be released on April 7, 2017. 

Hotel Transylvania 3 will reunite Adam Sandler as Dracula, Selena Gomez as Mavis, and Andy Samberg as Johnny for a new installment in the ghoulish franchise. Director Genndy Tartakovsky is returning after directing the first two movies. “I thought I was done exploring the world of Hotel Transylvania after the first two films,” says the Dexter’s Laboratory alum in a press statement. “While I was away from the franchise finishing my TV show Samurai Jack, an idea sparked that I got really excited about and made it irresistible to return and helm myself this third adventure.” Fans can return to the haunted hotel on Sept. 21, 2018.

In time for the holidays, a new take on “the greatest story ever told” called The Star will release on Dec. 8, 2017. Directed by Oscar nominee Timothy Reckart (Head Over Heels) and written by Carlos Kotkin and Simon Moore, the film will follow a brave donkey and his animal friends as they become the unsung heroes of the biblical story.

And arriving on home video in spring of 2017 is Surf’s Up 2: Wavemania. In a partnership with WWE Studios, the film’s cast will include John Cena, the Undertaker, Triple H, Diva Paige, and Mr. McMahon. The wrestling gang will portray an infamous wave-riding crew of penguins known as The Hang 5. The direct-to-video film hits shores just in time for the 10-year anniversary of the 2007 film Surf’s Up.

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