Here’s a list of foreign animated films that will (or might) come out in 2017, either for the first time in the US or for the first time in their country of origin.
COMING OUT IN THE US
The Breadwinner (Ireland, Canada) – GKIDS
This movie is based on a novel by Canadian author Deborah Ellis about an Afghan girl who dresses as a boy to support her family. It is directed by Nora Twoney, making it the first Cartoon Saloon movie to be directed by someone other than Tom Moore (Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea). It will premiere in 2017, distributed by GKIDS.
Mune: The Guardian of the Moon (France) – GKIDS
From the studio that made The Little Prince, Mune is a fairy tale about the Sun and the Moon. Like The Little Prince, it was produced in English and released in France in 2015. It will be distributed in the US by GKIDS, with a planned a theatrical release in 2017.
The Girl Without Hands (France) – GKIDS
This is another French film that will be distributed by GKIDS. It’s an adaptation of a rather sinister Grimm fairy tale about a girl who loses her hands after her father tries to sell her to the devil. The movie was written and directed by Sébastien Laudenbach.
My Life as a Zucchini (France, Switzerland) – GKIDS
My Life as a Zucchini is an adaptation of a novel by French author Gilles Paris that tells the story of a boy who goes to live in an orphanage following the death of his mother. The movie, directed by Claude Barras, has already received several prizes. It will be distributed by GKIDS in select US theaters in February and March 2017.
Your Name (Japan) – Funimation
Your Name was a huge success in Japan, China and around the world. It is pretty much guaranteed to become the highest grossing anime film of all time. It was picked up by Funimation for US distribution. They are planning a theatrical release in 2017.
Leap! (France) – The Weinstein Company
Originally titled Ballerina, this English-language French movie has been retitled Leap! by The Weinstein Company for its US distribution. It tells the story of an orphaned girl who becomes a ballerina.
The Guardian Brothers (China) – The Weinstein Company
Also known as Little Door Gods, this is the first movie made by the Chinese studio Lightchaser Animation. It is directed by Gary Wang. It tells the story of two door guardians who lend their help to a single mother and her young daughter who take over a struggling family restaurant. It was picked up by The Weinstein Company.
MAYBE COMING TO THE US
In this Corner of the World (Japan) – Update: the US distributor will be Shout! Factory
This movie is an adaptation of a historical manga about a young housewife living in Hiroshima and Kure during World War 2. It came out in Japan in late 2016.
Big Fish and Begonia (China) – Update: the US distributor will be Shout! Factory
This indie animated film was a big success in China in 2016. It is a love story inspired by Chinese folklore with a large cast of characters and beautiful fantasy elements.
Louise by the Shore (France) – Update: the US distributor will be First Run Features
From the director of The Painting, Louise by the Shore is an introspective movie about an old lady stranded in a seaside village. It came out in France in late 2016.
Window Horses (Canada) – Update: the US distributor will be First Pond Entertainment
This artsy film debuted in festivals in 2016 and will get a limited Canadian release in 2017. It tells the story of a mixed-race Canadian poet who travels to Iran.
COMING OUT INTERNATIONALLY
Boonie Bears: Entangled Worlds (China, January 28)
This is the fourth movie in the Boonie Bears franchise, itself based on a TV show.
Sahara (France, February 1) – Update: the US distributor will be Netflix
This is a French movie about two male snakes and a scorpion who go on an adventure in the Sahara desert to save a female snake. It sounds like a typical talking animals comedy, but the characters look cute and it stars Omar Sy (The Intouchables, Jurassic World).
Rabbit School (Germany, March 16)
This is an adaptation of a German children’s book written by Albert Sixtus. It tells the story of a rabbit who joins a school for Easter Bunny training.
Ancien and the Magic Tablet (Japan, March 18) – Update: the US distributor will be GKIDS
This movie is directed by Kenji Kamiyama (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Eden of the East). It’s about a high school student in 2020 who has the ability to fall asleep at any time. She has mysterious dreams and must untangle a family secret to rescue her father.
Urfin and his Wooden Soldiers (Russia, March 23)
It is based on a book by Russian writer Alexander Melentyevick Volkov, which is a sequel to his translation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. In this movie, a villain named Urfin tries to take over Emerald City and a girl named Ellie tries to stop him with the help of the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion.
Richard the Stork (Luxembourg/Germany, May 11) – Update: the US distributor will be Grindstone Entertainment
This is a movie about a sparrow who thinks he is a stork.
Mary and the Witch’s Flower (Japan, July 8) – Update: the US distributor will be GKIDS
This movie is an adaptation of the children’s novel The Little Broomstick, by British author Mary Stewart. It is being produced by Studio Ponoc, with a lot of former Studio Ghibli employees involved. It is directed by Ghibli director Hiromasa Yonebayashi (The Secret World of Arrietty, When Marnie Was There).
Tea Pets (China, July 21)
This is the second movie made by Gary Wang’s company, Lightchaser Animation Studios. It’s a movie about the secret life of tea pets – the porcelain figures used by tea drinkers. One of the tea pets has color issues and decides to go on an adventure with a robot.
The Son of Bigfoot (Belgium, August 16)
Made by the same studio as The Wild Life, The Son of Bigfoot is a movie about a teenage boy who finds out that his long-lost dad is the legendary creature Bigfoot.
Tad Jones: The Hero Returns (Spain, August 25)
This is the sequel to the Spanish film Tad Jones: The Lost Explorer. In this movie, Tad will travel to Las Vegas to uncover a mystery concerning King Midas, a character of Greek mythology who had the ability to turn everything he touched into gold.
Dia de Muertos (Mexico, October 20) – Update: moved to 2018
This Day of the Dead movie is set to come out against Pixar’s Coco. It has been in production for longer than the Pixar film at a Mexican studio called Metacube.
The Little Vampire 3D (Germany, October 31)
This is a movie based on the children’s fantasy books written by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg. It tells the story of a friendship between a human and a vampire.
MAYBE COMING OUT INTERNATIONALLY
Another Day of Life (Poland, Spain)
This movie is an adaptation of a non-fiction book written by Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski about his observation of the Angolan Civil War. It has been in production since 2013 and was supposed to come out in 2015.
Loving Vincent (UK, Poland) – Update: the US distributor is Good Dead Entertainment
This is a film about the life of Vincent van Gogh. Every frame in the movie is a painting made in the style of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings. Most of the movie was shot in live-action and the animators then painted over the frames.
Gatta Cenerentola (Italy)
A movie adaptation of a musical written by Roberto De Simone, which is an adaptation of the fairy tale Cinderella. The movie is set in a violent futuristic Naples.
Manou the Swift (Germany)
This a movie about a swift who thinks he is a seagull.