You may have been wondering how there can possibly be a movie about Emojis. They’re just icons on cell phones. They don’t speak, and they don’t have established backstories as characters. Say what you will about that other recent movie about icons of the smartphone screen, the Angry Birds, but at least they could move. And that’s even before the realization that there’s probably going to be a Poop Emoji character.
Even so, The Emoji Movie is a reality. The computer-animated project from Sony Pictures is currently in production, with a release date in the late summer of 2017. Now, however, there’s another potential concern from the project – a legal one.
According to THR, a former video game executive in Germany named Marco Husges is claiming that he possesses the merchandise trademarks for the Emoji icons. Husges, while he did not actually invent Emojis, founded a company called The Emoji Co. and created more than 3,000 of the icons himself. Husges also told THR that he has designs on an Emoji movie of his own and has even teamed up with experienced producers Roy Lee and Adrian Askarieh.
What do we know about the The Emoji Movie? Directed by Tony Leondis, and written by Leondis and Eric Siegel, the movie is literally set inside of a smartphone. Sony won a bidding war last year for the rights to make the film, and has discussed joining forces with app developers for seemingly limitless cross-branding opportunities. No voice casting has been announced as of yet.
Skepticism about how an Emoji movie could possibly work is understandable. Once again, Emojis have no established character traits and would seemingly be the very definition of one-dimensional characters. However, The LEGO Movie didn’t sound so promising when it was first announced, and neither for that matter did The Angry Birds Movie. Both were financially successful in the end.
As for the issue with Marco Husges? Notice what’s not in the THR interview; for all the implication, Husges has not sued Sony or the film’s producers, nor has he specifically threatened to do so. In the story, he says he “declined to outline what specific steps he might take in the event that The Emoji Movie proceeds.” Meanwhile, Sony says in the story that they have “full confidence in our rights as we make the film we’ve always intended to make.” Could Husges sue Sony and ultimately put the film in jeopardy? He could, but such a scenario remains several steps away from actually happening.
The Emoji Movie is set to arrive in theaters on August 11th, 2017.