The Berlin International Film Festival will open its 68th edition on February 15, next year with the world premiere of Wes Anderson’s stop motion feature Isle of Dogs.
Isle of Dogs will mark the fourth time that Anderson has had a film in the Berlinale competition. Earlier he had presented films like The Royal Tenenbaums (2002), The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2005) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), the latter of which also opened the festival and won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize.
It’s quite notable that Berlin is choosing an animated film to launch its festival. That’s because most non-animation film festivals continue to have a stigma against animated films, no matter how great the films may be.
Take the Sundance Film Festival, which just announced its 110-film feature film line-up, and did not include any animated features, except for two which were relegated to the kids category.
Even though it took Wes Anderson, a live-action filmmaker, for the Berlinale to give animation its opening night stage, they could have still chosen any number of other live-action films. They made a bold choice to go with animation, and will hopefully inspire other film festivals to treat animation as film.
Berlin’s choice will also continue the impressive build-up for Isle of Dogs. Early reports of the film has been quite strong and the online reception to the first trailer released a few months ago was overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic.
As it’s shaping up, Anderson may have both a critical and commercial hit on his hands, and the film is almost certainly guaranteed to outperform his first stop motion outing, the charming Fantastic Mr. Fox, which grossed just $21 million at U.S. theaters.
Isle of Dogs opens in U.S. cinemas on March 23, 2018, followed by international rollout in April 2018.