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Sony Pictures Animation Developing Emoji-Based Feature

Sony Pictures Animation wins a three-studio auction for an animated movie pitch centering on emoji; project is to be directed by Anthony Leondis and produced by Michelle Raimo Kouyate.

Sony Pictures Animation has won a three-studio auction for an animated movie pitch centering on emoji, according to a report by Deadline. Warner Bros. and Paramount also participated in the auction.

Emoji, originally developed in the late 1990s by Japanese mobile carrier Docomo, are sets of 12x12-pixel characters that attempt to encompass the entire breadth of human emotion. The reportedly nearly-seven-figure deal will see Eric Siegel and Anthony Leondis writing the script for the project, which is to be directed by Leondis with Michelle Raimo Kouyate producing.

Leondis is director of Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters, and most recently completed the DreamWorks Animation feature B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations. Featuring a voice cast including Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Matt Bomer and Seth Rogen, B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations was pulled from the DWA release schedule earlier this year as the studio announced restructuring plans.

Siegel is a writer and actor who has sold several shows to FOX and NBC. He worked most recently as producer on the TBS series Men at Work and is also a consulting producer on Family Tools at ABC. This will be his first feature film project.

Formerly president of production at Sony Pictures Animation, Kouyate is also producing Medusa for the studio, to be directed by Lauren Faust. Stepping down from her position to transition to a first-look producing deal with the studio encompassing both animation and live-action features, Kouyate was replaced by current SPA president Kristine Belson in January.

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.