Sony Animation’s “first Christmas” cartoon has a new title

Sony Animation’s “first Christmas” cartoon has a new title June 20, 2016

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Sony Animation unveiled its slate for the next two years today, announcing release dates for Hotel Transylvania 3, an animated Spider-Man movie, and more. Along the way, they also revealed that The Lamb, their “faith-based” animated take on the Nativity featuring “an all-animal cast”, has a new working title: The Star.

Here is how the studio described the film in today’s press release:

THE STAR (working title) is scheduled for a December 8, 2017 theatrical release. The computer-animated feature is directed by Oscar nominee Timothy Reckart (HEAD OVER HEELS); executive produced by DeVon Franklin, Lisa Henson, and Brian Henson; co-produced by Jenni Magee Cook; and written by Carlos Kotkin and Simon Moore. In The Star, a small but brave donkey and his animal friends become the unsung heroes of the greatest story ever told, the first Christmas. Sony Pictures Animation produces in association with The Jim Henson Company.

The fact that the story centres on a donkey gives us one possible clue as to the reason for the change in title. Last year, a press release said that the film would be the “inspirational story of a young lamb who will change the world”. If the protagonist is no longer a lamb, then obviously the original title no longer fits (which is not to say that a lamb couldn’t still be playing a significant role within the story).

In any case, it seems the title was officially changed very recently. Last month, Sony Animation posted a video celebrating employees who have birthdays in May, and you can see a poster for The Lamb in the background at the 35-second mark:

Here is a screen capture of the moment in question:

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As it happens, that poster was the only image that the studio had released for the film so far — and now it no longer applies! Here’s hoping we get some new art soon.

June 27 update: A reader tips me off to the fact that, one day after I wrote this post, Collider shared this image from the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas:

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I have updated the image at the top of this post to reflect the new poster art.

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