A work-in-progress screening of Sausage Party took place in Austin tonight as part of the SXSW film festival, and I'm not surprised people seem generally pleased with what they saw. The studio's asking people not to formally review the movie since it isn't finished yet, and it sounds like they still have a little over a month until they have what they would consider a “finished” film. But they're in the home stretch, certainly, so they have to be feeling pretty good about the enthusiastic response they'e gotten tonight.
The red-band teaser trailer is also available now, so you can get an idea what to expect. The film is a very, very R-rated animated comedy, and part of the joke is that it has to look like a real Pixar movie. That's not easy or cheap, and it's exciting to get a look at the work that's been done on the film. I talked to Seth Rogen about the movie when he was here in the studio with us, and I've embedded that conversation below.
Here's something I am almost afraid to write, because I feel like I'm going to jinx it, but every single time someone tries an R-rated animated film, I cross my fingers for it to make money. Whatever it is. This is that rare case where I care what a film makes because I want Hollywood to walk away thinking about how to repeat the success. R-rated animation is something that should be far more commonplace than it is. All it takes is a commitment to turning out a certain number of films and a willingness to back a slate of movies and not just one film with all the pressure on it. In this case, it's great that Megan Ellison and Anapurna Pictures are backing this insane vision. This is what Anapurna does so well at this point.
It infuriates me when people set up new animation ventures and then turn out imitations of formulas that are aimed squarely at children. It's a waste. It's a copy of a copy of a copy at this point. Even Walt Disney Feature Animation has to fight extra-hard to be able to actually earn that ongoing trust from audiences. Pixar has its place in things. Why would anyone else want to copy them exactly? Doesn't it make sense to try all sorts of other things with animation instead? If enough R-rated animated films turn a profit, you might be able to try other genres, like horror or action or science-fiction. There's no limit to the scale of what you could do, since it's animated, and I suspect there's a huge reward waiting for the first person to make and release a great R-rated animated horror film. I think it's a payday floating out there waiting for someone to claim it.
Rogen and Goldberg and this band of lunatics they have voicing and animating this thing are going to find a very receptive audience ready or this kind of movie and this kind of comedy. This is a very aggressive trailer, and it looks like it's going to be a pretty wild ride for audiences.
Sausage Party is in theaters August 12, 2016.