Sing Saturday” Launches Event Film Starring Oscar® Winners Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, as Well as Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton and Tori Kelly

Universal City, CA, November 14, 2016—Illumination Entertainment, Universal Pictures and AMC Theatres today announced a Thanksgiving weekend event for audiences of all ages: “Sing Saturday,” a celebration of free screenings of the new event film from Illumination at 200 AMC Theatres nationwide, on November 26.  From the creators of Despicable Me, Singin which Academy Award® winners Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon lead an all-star cast—arrives nationwide on December 21, 2016. 

Tickets for “Sing Saturday” screenings are available on a first-come, first-served basis to the first 200 moviegoers in line at participating AMC Theatres on Saturday, November 26 (10 a.m. local time).  Audiences are encouraged to bring their family and friends of all ages and experience the film Variety calls “a game changer.”  Moviegoers must be in line to receive a ticket for the screening.

“We are so proud that ‘Sing Saturday’ marks the biggest advance-screening program in the history of Universal Pictures and are honored to join AMC as we kick off the holiday season with Illumination’s gift for moviegoers of every generation,” said Nick Carpou, President of Distribution, Universal. 

“For the past several years, Sing has been a labor of love for everyone at Illumination, as well as the tireless performers who have poured their hearts into this movie,” said Chris Meledandri, Founder and CEO of Illumination.  “We know audiences of all ages will embrace the heart and the humor of this extraordinary film and can’t wait for movielovers to experience Sing over Thanksgiving weekend, throughout the holiday season and beyond.”

“For AMC movie-loving audiences of all ages who have cooked through Thanksgiving Thursday and shopped through Black Friday, AMC is thrilled to offer a holiday-entertainment treat with Sing Saturday,” said Elizabeth Frank, EVP and Chief Content and Programming Officer, AMC Theatres.

For more information and a list of AMC Theatres participating in “Sing Saturday,” please visit www.SingSaturday.com.  Broadcast quality clips from Sing are available at www.epk.tv, and stills are available at www.image.net.

About Sing

Illumination has captivated audiences all over the world with the beloved hits Despicable Me, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Despicable Me 2 and Minions, now the second-highest-grossing animated movie in history.  Following the release of this summer’s comedy blockbuster The Secret Life of Pets, Illumination presents Sing this holiday season.  

With its highly relatable characters, heart and humor, the first collaboration between writer/director Garth Jennings (Son of Rambow, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri marks the sixth fully animated feature from the studio.

The event film stars Academy Award® winners Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, alongside Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton and Grammy Award-nominated Tori Kelly.

Set in a world like ours but entirely inhabited by animals, Sing stars Buster Moon (McConaughey), a dapper koala who presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times.  Buster is an eternal—some might even say delusional—optimist who loves his theater above all and will do anything to preserve it.  Now faced with the crumbling of his life’s ambition, he has one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition.

Five lead contestants emerge: Mike (MacFarlane), a mouse who croons as smoothly as he cons; Meena (Kelly), a timid teenage elephant with an enormous case of stage fright; Rosita (Witherspoon), an overtaxed mother run ragged tending a litter of 25 piglets; Johnny (Egerton), a young gangster gorilla looking to break free of his family’s felonies; and Ash (Johansson), a punk-rock porcupine struggling to shed her arrogant boyfriend and go solo.

Each arrives under Buster’s marquee believing that this is their shot to change the course of their life.  And as Buster coaches each of his contestants closer and closer to the grand finale, he starts to learn that maybe the theater isn’t the only thing that is in need of saving.

Featuring more than 65 hit songs, Sing is produced by Meledandri and his longtime collaborator Janet Healy.  Together, they have produced all of Illumination’s films since the studio’s inception.  Released by Universal Pictures, Sing arrives in theaters on December 21, 2016.  www.singmovie.com

About Illumination Entertainment

Illumination Entertainment, founded by Chris Meledandri in 2007, is one of the entertainment industry’s leading producers of event animated films.  Illumination, which has an exclusive financing and distribution partnership with Universal Pictures, is the creator of the hugely successful Despicable Me franchise, which includes Minions, the second-highest-grossing animated film of all time, as well as Despicable Me 2, an Academy Award® nominee for Best Animated Feature of 2013.  In all, Illumination’s films, which also include the 2016 record breaking The Secret Life of Pets, 2011’s Hop and 2012’s Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, have grossed more than $4 billion in worldwide box-office revenues and feature some of the world’s most renowned talent. 

Upcoming films include Despicable Me 3, starring Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig and Trey Parker, which is set for June 2017; and a newly-imagined version of Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas, starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role of The Grinch, which is set for November 2018.  In addition, “Despicable Me: Minion Rush” (more than 750 million downloads) has become one of the world’s most popular apps, and Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem attracts huge crowds at Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood.

About Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures is a division of Universal Studios (www.universalstudios.com).  Universal Studios is part of NBCUniversal.  NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience.  NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group and world-renowned theme parks.  NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.

About AMC Theatres

AMC (NYSE: AMC) is the guest experience leader with 388 locations and 5,295 screens located primarily in the United States.  AMC has propelled innovation in the theatrical exhibition industry and continues today by delivering more comfort and convenience, enhanced food & beverage, greater engagement and loyalty, premium sight & sound, and targeted programming. AMC operates the most productive theatres in the country’s top markets, including No. 1 market share in the top three markets (NY, LA, Chicago).  http://www.amctheatres.com.

****

Review written by Jon Patch with 3 paws out of 4

Sausage Party

Columbia Pictures, Annapurna Pictures, Nitrogen Studios Canada and Point Grey Pictures present an R rated, 89 minute, Animation, Adventure, Comedy, directed by Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon, screenplay by Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir with a theater release date of August 12, 2016.

 

“People put themselves in grave danger when they respond inappropriately during an encounter with wildlife… Selfies are only making the problem worse.” - Born Free USA CEO

Washington, D.C., July 21, 2016 -- According to Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, in order to safely enjoy hikes and campouts without endangering themselves or wildlife, the public needs to stay alert to their surroundings, and make smart and compassionate decisions.

Over the past two months alone, we have seen an increasing number of incidents involving human conflicts with wild animals, particularly bears. In June, a Pennsylvania man lost his dog after a fatal run-in with a black bear and her cubs; a New Mexico marathon runner suffered injuries from a black bear after inadvertently scaring the bear’s cub; a young bear in California ripped open a tent, presumably foraging for food, injuring the camper inside; and a Montana Forest Service law enforcement officer startled a grizzly bear and was tragically killed. In July, Shenandoah National Park made the decision to close certain trails after a black bear approached a hiker, again looking to the human to provide food.

Animal welfare and wildlife conservation expert Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, explains: “Hiking trails and campsites are filled with natural wildlife populations and it is crucial that enthusiasts are aware of potential encounters, understand how to avoid conflict, and know exactly what to do if it happens. Human conflicts with wildlife are often due to people responding inappropriately when an animal is near. They put the animal and themselves at severe risk by how they react when they see a bear, coyote, bobcat, or other dangerous animal. These animals are wild, wary of humans, and protective of their territory, and should never be lured or encouraged to approach you for any reason.”

Roberts adds, “In the last two years, there has been an increase in people vying for an impressive selfie with animals ranging from seal pups, to bison, to black bears. This is becoming a dangerous epidemic that is reckless and harmful for both the public and wildlife. No selfie is worth getting killed or condemning an animal to death.”

Born Free USA offers these safety tips for outdoor adventures:

  • Keep food out of reach and never feed wild animals. Once they become accustomed to hand-outs, they lose their natural wariness and feel comfortable getting closer to humans. 
  • Resist taking wildlife selfies. Getting close to predators—like black bears—and then turning your back on them can rouse their prey drive and cause them to charge. Even getting too close to non-predatory animals—like bison—for a photo opportunity can also result in tragedy, as they might perceive you as an encroaching threat. Manipulating, touching, or removing wild animals from their habitats for a photo, or for any reason, causes severe anxiety for the animal, and puts everyone at risk for injury or death.
  • Beware of hidden animal traps. Steel-jaw leghold traps and other barbaric traps are widely used to catch and kill wild animals for their fur, and trappers often use the same trails and public lands that hikers do. Because traps are indiscriminate and can snap shut on any person or animal who triggers them, they frequently catch “non-targeted” animals, including family pets. Dogs end up maimed or killed as their families struggle to free them. For every target animal caught in a trap, two non-target animals are trapped. Adults and children have also been injured in traps, as reported in this Born Free USA database.  
  • Bears cause enormous fear for humans in the great outdoors. Most negative black bear encounters are caused by surprising the bears, luring them with food, or giving them a reason to think you are a threat. Bears have an exceptional sense of smell —seven times more powerful than dogs—and can detect odors over a mile away. Avoid packing odorous food and use bear-proof, odor-proof containers. Do not leave food or ice chests on decks or in vehicles, and become familiar with techniques for hanging food out of bears' reach. (Hang food and scented items at least 10 feet off of the ground and five feet from a tree. Be sure that tents, sleeping bags, and clothes are free of lingering food odors.)
  • As you travel through bear territory, make plenty of noise to avoid surprising a bear. If you do encounter a black bear, help him/her recognize that you are a human by talking calmly and by slowly waving your arms. During the encounter, do not make loud noises, try to imitate the bear, or run, as running may entice the bear to chase you. Slowly back away, always facing the bear, making no sudden movements, and always leave the bear an escape route. Avoid direct eye contact and pick up small children to prevent them from running and screaming. Contain and restrain dogs.
  • A black bear may stand on his/her hind legs as he/she investigates you; a standing bear is usually curious, not aggressive. Black bears may pounce forward on their front feet and bellow loudly, followed by clacking their jaw. This is a sign of fear. Mothers with cubs sometimes make “bluff charges”: short rushes or a series of forward pounces. These are signs of nervousness and not intent to attack. If this happens, momentarily hold your ground. Then, keep backing away and talking softly.
  • While camping or hiking, other predators (like coyotes and bobcats) may also be seen moving about their territory. If the animals act afraid of you, either running away or observing you from a safe distance, they are displaying normal, nonaggressive behavior. Aggressive behavior—an animal who does not run from humans or approaches them—is most often a result of habituation due to feeding by humans. If approached by a coyote or bobcat, make loud noises with pots and pans, yell, wave your arms, blow a whistle, or shake a can with rocks. Show dominance and re-instill their natural fear of humans. Do not run, as this may elicit a chase response. If hiking with dogs in coyote country, keep them on a leash. Small dogs may be especially tempting to a coyote. 

Roberts explains, “While we all deserve to explore, enjoy, and appreciate nature, we also need to understand that we are visiting the natural habitats and homes of wild animals. We can easily co-exist, as long as we treat the wilderness and its occupants respectfully and thoughtfully.”

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation": the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

Review written by Jon Patch with 2.5 out of 4 paws

Ice Age: Collision Course

Twentieth Century Fox animation and Blue Sky Studios present a PG, 3D, 94 minute, Animation, Adventure, Comedy, directed by Galen T. Chu, Mike Thurmeier, screenplay by Michael J. Wilson and Michael Berg with a theater release date of July 22, 2016.

Review written by Jon Patch with 3 out of 4 paws

The Secret Life of Pets

Universal Pictures, Dentsu, Fuji Television Network, Illumination Entertainment present a PG, 90 minute, Animation, Comedy, Family, film directed by Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney, written by Ken Daurio and Brian Lynch with a theater release date of July 8, 2016.

Review written by Jon Patch with 3.5 out of 4 paws

Finding Dory

Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios present a PG, 3D, 97 minute, Animation, Adventure, Comedy, directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane, screenplay and story by Stanton with a theater release date of June 17, 2016.

Review Written by Jon Patch with 3.5 out of 4 paws

Zootopia

Walt Disney Pictures and Walt Disney Animation Studios present a PG, 3D, Animation, Action, Adventure, directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore, written by Jared Bush and Phil Johnston with a theater release date of March 4, 2016.

Review written by Jon Patch with 3.5 paws out of 4

Kung Fu Panda 3

20th Century Fox, China Film Company, DreamWorks Animation and Oriental DreamWorks present a PG. 95 minute,3D, Animation, Action, Adventure film, directed by Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh, written by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger with a theater release date of January 29, 2016.

Review written by Jon Patch with 2.5 paws out of 4

Norm of the North

Lionsgate, Assemblage Entertainment and Splash Entertainment present a PG rated, 86 minute, Animation, Adventure, Comedy, directed by Trevor Wall, written by Daniel Altiere and Steven Altiere with a theater release date of January 15, 2016.

Review written by Jon Patch with 3.5 out of 4 paws

The Good Dinosaur

Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios present a PG, 100 minute, Animation, 3D, Adventure, Comedy, directed by Peter Sohn, written by Sohn and Erik Benson with a theater release date of November 25, 2015.

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