An Animated Movie Based on Emoji Is in the Works and No, This Headline Is Not a Joke
Just the facts: Sony has bought a pitch for an animated movie based on emoji, the popular, expressive faces that have become omnipresent in 21st century communication. The movie was at the center of a bidding war, with several studios jockeying to nab the rights to what sounds like, on paper, a brand-friendly project in the vein of The LEGO Movie.
So that’s a thing that happened. Yes, Sony is making an emoji movie and Deadline has the whole story. Eric Siegel and Anthony Leondis will write the screenplay, with the latter also stepping into the director’s chair. Leondis’ past work includes the animated short Kung Fu Panda: Secret of the Masters and B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations, which is sitting on a shelf somewhere. Yes, it’s always the quiet ones. They’re the ones you have to look out for.
The fact that three studios went to battle over an emoji movie pitch is the kind of “sad state of affairs” statement that doesn’t even need elaboration. It’s all right there. Apparently, Sony has to get this project moving as fast as possible because another, completely different emoji pitch is waiting in the wings. No comment.
This is the point where we could grit our teeth and say “Well, The LEGO Movie was proof that real artists can take a feature-length commercial and make it into something wonderful!” But at least the LEGO brand is about characters, location, and action. Even something as crass and commercial as the upcoming Angry Birds movie has recognizable iconography to toy with. This is also the point where we could groan and say something like “An emoji movie exists for one reason: Because people are aware of emoji, which means they would be aware of an emoji movie, which means that an emoji movie can be sold.” But that would be too obvious. You, wildly intelligent ScreenCrush reader and frequent moviegoer, know all of that already.
Feel free to start fan-casting your favorite emoji right now. Chris Pratt for Kissing Heart! Dylan O’Brien for Raised Hands!