One day in the near future, Hollywood will finally concede it has run out of ideas. This is not quite that day, but with Sony Pictures’ official announcement of The Emoji Movie yesterday, rock bottom can’t be too far off.
Three days deep into a week-long acid trip (I’m assuming), writing partners Eric Siegel and Anthony Leondis conceived of a “film” centered around the little yellow smiley faces that adopts the “secret-world-inside-of-whatever” formula, a Hollywood staple right up there along with “Die-Hard-in-random-setting” and “Sacha-Baron-Cohen-fucks-something.” According to a report at Screenrant, Sony Pictures Animation President Kristine Belson, speaking at the 2016 CinemaCon in Las Vegas on Tuesday, offered journalists, with a straight face, this premise, presumably aimed at people who thought “Minions” was too high-brow: “Inside your phone, there’s a secret world — and we enter through the text app where we discover Emoji Valley, where the industrious Emoji live and work.”
The story will reportedly “involve the main characters (presumably the Emoji themselves) leaving Emoji Valley for the broader world of their phone’s homescreen, where they discover that they can enter the other worlds that exist within each individual app.” Can you see it now? Cool sunglass guy emoji chilling like the Fonz? The will-they/won’t-they tension between winking kiss emoji and embarrassed emoji? Side-glance emoji being revealed as the “Chosen One” who can save the rest? No?
And if you’re concerned that the above description feels lacking in major branding opportunities, fear not. The whole movie is primed to be one giant winky face at any app developer willing to join in the action, as Spotify apparently already has. The Wrap reports that the streaming music service will “sponsor” a segment of the picture in which the emojis will ride boats down a stream of — wait for it — digital music. Facebook and other digital brands were included in the revealed concept art, surely teasing further adventures into ex-girlfriend’s profiles and Donald Trump sub-reddits for our heroes.
We would sum this up with an emoji, but that’s what they’d want us to do.