The Nut Job Creators Announce Animation Lab for New Animated Films


On the heels of the biggest independent animated film opening of all time, the makers of The Nut Job–Gulfstream Pictures, Redrover Co., Ltd. and ToonBox Entertainment Ltd.–announced today the formation of a new animation lab to incubate animated film and television projects on an ongoing basis.

The Gulfstream ToonBox Animation Lab will provide Gulfstream principals Mike Karz and Bill Bindley, and CGI animation studio ToonBox, headed by President and CEO/Executive Producer Jay Ahn, with an important creative space to better explore and determine the viability of a project before commissioning an entire script.

The Lab will cost-effectively cultivate talent from idea to production, accepting promising projects, assisting in the development of treatments, and designing and creating the respective animated worlds. If viable, projects will advance to script format, and ultimately production.

The first projects accepted into the program are:

– An epic romance set inside a turf war in the animal kingdom by award-winning writer/producer Jason Horwitch (“A-Space,” “Rubicon,” “The Pentagon Papers”)
– A comedy project by WGA-nominated writer/producer/actress Rebecca Drysdale (“Key and Peele”), centered around a coming-of-age story with an ensemble cast
– An aspirational and comedic tale by Alfredo Botello, an Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences Nicholl Fellow (“The Crasher”) and writer/co-director of the web series “Reality Reboot.”

“Our Animation Lab is unique because it’s so centered on the writers and the engaging characters and amazing worlds they can develop,” said Gulfstream partner Bill Bindley. “Working with our partner ToonBox, writers can enjoy the creative power of sitting along side world-class animators to stretch and realize their vision.”

Said Jay Ahn, President and CEO/Executive Producer at ToonBox: “The Animation Lab will allow for the best and most promising projects to be afforded a dedicated space for first-rate creative and narrative development.”

Added Gulfstream partner Mike Karz: “After the success of The Nut Job and anticipation for The Nut Job 2, the Animation Lab allows Gulfstream and ToonBox to together bring to life for global audiences a whole new slate of exciting animated projects.”

Gulfstream Pictures’ first animated feature, The Nut Job, from Redrover Co., Ltd. and ToonBox Entertainment Ltd., was released by Open Road Films on January 17, 2014, taking in more than $25.7 million at the holiday weekend box-office as the biggest independent animated film opening of all time. The sequel, The Nut Job 2, was recently announced, with a release date of January 15, 2016.

Gulfstream Pictures also produced the romantic comedy Blended, which reunites Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore for a Memorial Day 2014 release by Warner Bros., where Gulfstream is based and has a first-look deal. Gulfstream’s other upcoming projects include the film adaptation of author Dan Gutman’s best-selling book series The Genius Files for Warner Bros., with Robert Rugan writing the script, and The Feud, a new international action-thriller from The Conjuring screenwriters Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes.