Paramount’s animated reboot “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” doesn’t hit theaters until August, but the film made a splash on Monday at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival where it debuted to a rousing reception complete with a six-minute standing ovation. The crowd’s applause was so strong, in fact, that director Jeff Rowe was dragged back onstage to take it all in.
“Being in the room and feeling all the reactions and hearing all the laughter was amazing, but what really stood out to me was to see our movie received and appreciated in that way by a lot of people who really love and care about animation,” Rowe told TheWrap in a statement.
The cut screened at Annecy had just a few scenes of rough animation but was otherwise complete (including a score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross). Those in the audience included “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” director Mike Rianda (Rowe was a co-director on that Oscar-nominated Sony/Netflix feature), “Gravity Falls” creator Alex Hirsch (Rowe was a writer on the show’s second season) and directors Peter Ramsey (“Lost Ollie,” “The Mandalorian”) and Kirk DeMicco (“Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken”).
“The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem screening was exactly what we look for and expect in terms of energy and fun,” Marcel Jean, Artistic Director of the Annecy International Animation Film Festival said. “We very much wanted to bring this film to the Festival, and what we realized tonight is that the Annecy audience who saw ‘TMNT’ rediscovered these characters tonight and witnessed something totally new in the history of this franchise. So it was a great moment, I would say, in my history of being with the festival.”
Written by Rowe, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Dan Hernandez and Benji Samit, “Mutant Mayhem” is a new take on the “TMNT” comics characters with a specific emphasis on them as teenagers, drawing inspiration from classic coming-of-age films.
Micah Abbey, Shamon Brown Jr., Nicolas Cantu and Brady Noon voice the titular turtles, while the ensemble voice cast also includes Jackie Chan as Splinter, Ayo Edebiri as April O’Neil, Seth Rogen as Bebop and John Cena as Rocksteady alongside Post Malone, Rose Byrne, Ice Cube, Giancarlo Esposito, Maya Rudolph and Hannibal Buress.
This early reception may bode well as Sony’s similarly visually ambitious “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” is racking up critical and commercial acclaim.
See some of the fan reactions below. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” opens exclusively in theaters on Aug. 2.