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December 13
2018

ISSUE

Winter 2019

2019 Icebreakers: Hot Winter VFX

By CHRIS McGOWAN

The first films of 2019 are rich in both subtle and spectacular VFX that continue to push the envelope of human-like CG characters, awesome animals, monsters and creatures, fantastic world building, and surreal environments, above water and below, as well as in deep space. The winter wave also includes reviving classics with the latest life-giving creative and technical VFX magic.

Audiences have crossed 2018 into 2019 watching Mary Poppins Returns, Aquaman, Bumblebee and Welcome to Marwen. In the next few months they will welcome Ad Astra with Brad Pitt crossing the solar system in search of his long-lost father (played by Tommy Lee Jones), the James Cameron co-scripted manga adaptation Alita: Battle Angel, M. Night Shyamalan’s terrifying trilogy finale Glass, and the much-touted Captain Marvel with Brie Larson. Towards Spring, Chicago struggles under an alien yoke in Captive State, and Tim Burton brings his vivid imagination to a live-action Dumbo.

VFX Voice has compiled some of the top VFX-injected films on tap this winter along with their effects supervisors and VFX houses involved. This is not intended to be a complete listing. Release dates are subject to change.

Mary Poppins Returns (Image copyright © 2018 Walt Disney Pictures)

Aquaman (Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures)

Hailee Steinfeld and Bumblebee in Bumblebee. (Image copyright © 2018 Paramount Pictures)

Eli (Paramount Pictures)

Release date: U.K., January 1; U.S., January 4

In this horror film from director Ciarán Foy shot in Sofia, Bulgaria, a boy is treated for a rare disease in a secluded clinic that turns into a haunted prison. Neishaw Ali is Visual Effects Executive Producer, Wesley Sewell is Visual Effects Supervisor, with Spin VFX crew handling visual effects. Chris Bailey is Special Effects Coordinator. Fractured FX is also on board.

Glass (Universal Pictures)

Release date: U.K., January 18; U.S., January 18

This M. Night Shyamalan horror-thriller completes a trilogy initiated with Unbreakable (2000) and followed by Split (2016). James McAvoy, Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson lead the cast. Patrick Edward White is Special Effects Coordinator. Contributing effects were provided by Powerhouse VFX.

The Kid Who Would Be King (20th Century Fox)

Release date: U.S., January 25; U.K., February 15

In this British fantasy adventure directed by Joe Cornish, young Alex discovers the mythical sword Excalibur and fights to thwart a medieval menace. Rebecca Ferguson, Tom Taylor and Patrick Stewart are top billed. Steven Warner is Special Effects Supervisor, Stephen Hutchinson is Special Effects Co-Supervisor and Frazier Churchill is Visual Effects Supervisor. DNEG, TPO VFX and Rodeo FX are contributing VFX houses.

The Maze (Sony)

Release date: U.K., February 1; U.S., February 1

Six young strangers must use their wits to survive circumstances beyond their control in this action thriller. Directed by Adam Robitel, who’s also in the cast. Max Poolman is Special Effects Supervisor. VFX Files has the effects role.

Jacob’s Ladder (LD Entertainment)

Release date: U.K., TBD; U.S., February 1

A remake of Adrian Lyne’s 1990 psychological horror film about a Vietnam veteran struggling to maintain his sanity. David Fletcher is Special Effects Supervisor. Chris LeDoux is Visual Effects Supervisor and Robin Scott Graham is Visual Effect Supervisor for Crafty Apes.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Release date: U.K., February 8; U.S. February 8

The Second Part reunites the heroes of Bricksburg to save their city as citizens face a new threat – invaders from outer space, wrecking everything faster than they can rebuild. This computer-animated sequel will be released simultaneously in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D. Animal Logic is the main VFX house.

Alita: Battle Angel (Image copyright © 2018 20th Century Fox)

 

Alita: Battle Angel (20th Century Fox)

Release date: U.K., February 6; U.S., February 14

Robert Rodriguez helms this adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s cyberpunk manga Gunn, co-scripted by James Cameron, about a damaged and abandoned young cyborg girl (Rosa Salazar) who wakes up in a future she doesn’t recognize. Weta Digital’s motion-capture performance by Salazar brings Alita to life as a CG character. Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly and Mahershala Ali are also cast. Weta Digital’s Senior VFX Supervisor Joe Letteri, VES, with VFX Supervisors Eric Saindon and Nick Epstein are tasked with creating the digital Alita. DNEG and Framestore are also on board.

The Turning (Universal Pictures)

Release date: U.K., TBD; U.S., February 22

This haunted-house film is a modern-day adaptation of Henry James’s classic The Turn of the Screw. Kevin Byrne is Special Effects Supervisor. Matt Philip Whelan is Visual Effects Supervisor and Brendan Taylor is Visual Effects Supervisor for main vendor Mavericks VFX.

The Rhythm Section (Paramount Pictures)

Release date: U.K., February 22; U.S., February 22

A woman takes revenge against the planners of a plane crash that killed her family. Starring Blake Lively, Sterling K. Brown, Jude Law. Chris Corbould is Special Effects Supervisor, with BlueBolt on effects, led by Visual Effects Supervisor Sandro Henriques.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Image copyright © 2019 Universal Pictures)

 

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Universal Pictures)

Release date: U.K., February 1; U.S., February 22

In this third installment of the How to Train Your Dragon series, Hiccup and Toothless face a huge new threat to their village. Dean DeBlois directs this 3D computer-animated fantasy film. Dave Walvoord is Visual Effects Supervisor. Dreamworks Animation is the producer.

Chaos Walking (Liongate)

Release date: U.K., March 1; U.S., March 1

Doug Liman helms this visit to the planet New World where people can access thoughts, and two companions try to evade detection and uncover the truth in this sci-fi adventure. Headliners are Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley, Demián Bichir and Mads Mikkelsen. Neishaw Ali is Visual Effects Executive Producer. Louis Craig is Special Effects Supervisor with Nicholas Brooks as Visual Effects Supervisor. Effects provided by Method Studios, ILM, Spin VFX and Iloura.

Brie Larson in Captain Marvel (Image copyright © 2019 Marvel Studios)

 

Captain Marvel (Walt Disney Studios)

Release date: U.K., March 8; U.S., March 8

Brie Larson is the Marvel Comics character Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel), and is joined in the cast by Samuel L. Jackson, Djimon Hounsou and Jude Law. Christopher Townsend is Production VFX Supervisor and Daniel Sudick is Visual Effects Supervisor. Additional VFX supervision by ILM, Trixter, Framestore, Legacy Effects, Trixter, Animal Logic, Lola Visual Effects, Scanline VFX, Rising Sun Pictures, Luma Pictures, Digital Domain, Rise VFX and Cantina Creative.

Us (Universal Pictures)

Release date: U.K., March 15; U.S., March 15

Jordan Peele’s new horror thriller after his Oscar-winning Get Out. Elia P. Popov is Special Effects Coordinator. Grady Cofer is Visual Effects Supervisor for ILM.

Greyhound (Sony Pictures)

Release date: U.K., March 22; U.S., March 22

Nazi U-boats chase a U.S. Destroyer during WWII. Tom Hanks writes and stars with Elisabeth Shue. Nathan McGuinness is Visual Effects Supervisor, Special Effects Supervisor is Marc Banich. Hydraulx is the VFX house, supervised by Joel Sevilla. DNEG Supervisor is Pete Bebb.

Wonder Park (Image copyright © 2018 Paramount Pictures)

 

Wonder Park (Paramount Pictures)

Release date: U.K., April 8; U.S., March 15

A wonder-filled amusement park stirs the imagination of a wildly creative young girl. Javier Romero Rodriguez is Visual Effects Supervisor. Voices by Brianna Denski, Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Garner, Mila Kunis and John Oliver. Digital animation by Ilion Animation Studios.

Captive State (Focus Features)

Release date: U.K., April 12; U.S., March 29

This Rupert Wyatt-directed science fiction thriller is set in a Chicago neighborhood, 10 years into an extraterrestrial occupation, when tensions rise on both sides of the conflict between collaborators and dissidents. Eric Pascarelli is Visual Effects Supervisor. KNB EFX Group, Jellyfish Pictures, Atomic Arts and FuseFX are the VFX houses.

Dumbo (Image copyright © 2018 Disney Enterprises Inc.)

Dumbo entering Dreamland in Dumbo. (Image copyright © 2018 Disney Enterprises Inc.)

 

Dumbo (Walt Disney Studios)

Release date: U.K., March 29; U.S., March 29

Tim Burton and a flying elephant with enormous ears lead this live-action remake of the 1941 animated classic. Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green and Alan Arkin lead the cast. Richard Stammers is Visual Effects Supervisor and Hayley J. Williams is Special Effects Supervisor. MPC, Framestore, Cheap Shot, Rodeo FX and Rise cover the effects.

Ad Astra (20th Century Fox)

Release date:  U.S., May 24; U.K., May 24

Twenty years after Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones) left for Neptune to find signs of extra-terrestrial life, his son Roy (Brad Pitt) goes in search of him in this James Gray film. Bradley Parker is Production VFX Supervisor, Frank Iudica is Special Effects Coordinator. Atomic Fiction, Weta Digital, Vitality VFX, Mr. X, Method Studios, MPC, Capital T, Shade VFX and Brainstorm VFX are handling the VFX load.


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