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In the September issue of MANIA we bust out some fidget spinner tricks, checkout the latest Mario game, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle and express ourselves in time for The Emoji Movie. There’s also cool skate tricks and LEGO City Jungle puzzles. Enter our competitions for the chance to win a PS4 console and Monster Jam prize packs!

AWSM

THE AQUABATS: SUPER TUNES

August 14th, 2017 by Chris Neill | No Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in AWSM |

The Aquabats have been fighting crime and rocking out for just over 20 years now. That’s a lot of extraterrestrial monsters defeated and epic guitar solos! We were invited to board The Aquabats mobile headquarters, The Battle Tram, and chat with their fearless frontman, The MC Bat Commander!


Q: How did you form the Aquabats?
The MC Bat Commander: We were all pals and we all surfed together at a local beach. One day after a toxic chemical spill and a heavy rain, we were all surfing our favourite river mouth when we all started glowing. Some sharks tried to bite us but when they bit down on our legs they exploded! We all swam back to the beach and made a sand castle that looked like a giant rubbish bin. We realised that “this must mean something”, so we sold our mansions, bought musical instruments, made superhero costumes and bought a BattleTram. We’ve been the Aquabats ever since!

Q: Do you have any good luck rituals before you jump on stage, like wearing the same pair of underpants?
MC: Well, changing our underpants twice a day is a priority in the Aquabats. See, fighting monsters and playing rock n’ roll is a sweaty business and our underwear get pretty… well, you know… gross. So we try to change our underwear a lot. (Kids, if you have a favourite pair of underwear don’t wear it for more than 8 hours… it could save your life.)

We do have a good luck ritual before we jump on stage! Yes! We all get in a circle and put our hands in the middle then we give a cheer. Every show the cheer is different. Sometimes we say something like “GO BANANAS!” or “LET’S GET SWEATY!” or even something like “BREAD AND CLAMS GO GREAT WITH HAMS!” You get the idea. It’s different every time so we don’t get bored.

Q: What is the strongest monster you’ve faced?
MC: Space Monster “M” was a tough one. If you saw the episode “Showtime” he was a Giant White Head that attached himself to a huge robot body and then started to destroy Los Angeles. He was probably the hardest monster we’ve faced. Definitely the biggest “face” we’ve faced. His face was probably 3 or 4 stories high!! That’s a lot of face.

Anyway, we got luck that his robot body exploded but it sent us into space for a couple of years. We can’t remember much after that but we grew long hair and beards while we were gone! We looked super retro! Like 1800’s retro!

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A REAL (ANI)MANIAC – JESS HARNELL

June 2nd, 2017 by Chris Neill | No Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in AWSM |

Before he touches down at Supanova, we spoke with the man of a thousand voices, Jess Harnell! Check out our wikkid interview where we chat about Crash Bandicoot, celebrity impressions and how to live like a rockstar!


Q: How did you get into voice acting?
JESS: “It’s funny, sometimes you get shot out of a cannon expecting to land on one trampoline but you land on the one next door. I always thought that I was going to be a rockstar. I grew up thinking that; I was always singing in bands and writing songs. I started being a studio singer, doing jingles and background music for TV shows and some movies. I’d be on the microphone in these sessions and just start throwing out voices. I’d read the script in a funny voice. People dug it, so they started getting me to do the voice-over too. I got called up to do an audition to be one of the voices on Splash Mountain, which is a ride at Disneyland. I thought it’d be cool to hear my voice on a ride at Disneyland, so if you go on that ride I’m basically I’m the only guy you hear! After that I did some Roger Rabbit stuff, and then I auditioned for a show called Animaniacs. 25 years later I’ve been doing this every day, it’s the best job in the world and I wouldn’t change a thing!”

Q: In terms of voices you’re great at nailing impressions. Is there a particular character or celebrity voice you like doing?
J: “I actually get hired to do celebrity voice-acting, which is when a celebrity can’t finish their dialogue for a movie. I come in and pretend to be them. My favourite ones are the ones with the weird voices and affectations. Some of my favourites are William Shatner, Christopher Walken or Adam West. They take the english language and mangle it in such a way that it doesn’t even sound like english anymore!”

Q: You’ve done so many different voices throughout your career. Do you have favourites?
J: “Wakko from Animaniacs, definitely. So many people come up to me at these conventions and say ‘Man, I grew up watching Animaniacs! That show is my childhood.’ When I was a little boy my favourite movie was The Wizard of Oz, and now Cartoon Network are bringing it back as a new series. I’m playing the Cowardly Lion, so it’s like a dream come true! I used to do the voice as a kid!”

Q: Have you ever dropped a voice in public, like when you’re ordering lunch or talking with friends?
J: “They come in handy when you’re doing drive-thru. Sometimes you’ll run into someone wearing a t-shirt with a character you play on it. I’ll have fun with that and drop a voice while standing next to them.”

Q: You voiced Crash Bandicoot in Skylanders and the recent N. Sane Trilogy. What did you do to channel your inner bandicoot?
J: “Crash is pure emotion – there are no words! He’s crazy, he’s nuts. He’s bouncing off walls and having a blast! You’ve got to figure out how speak without actually speaking!”

Q: You’ll be in Australia soon. Have you tried Vegemite before?
J: “I’ve had it before, and I’ve got to be honest with you I’m not a huge fan! This will be my first time in Australia, and I can’t wait to get there. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about your country.”

Q: You also play in a rock’n’roll band – what are your top tips for rocking out and living like a rockstar?
J: “The thing about being a voice-actor is that not a lot of people know what you look like, compared to if you were a TV or movie star. For me, I get the best of both worlds though. I dress like a rockstar, so when I go places people always think I’m in a big rock band and I always get given the best table in restaurants. As for living a rockstar, I always say, ‘Why stand back when you can stand out!’ If everybody else is doing the same thing, do your own thing! Live to the fullest, have a good time, enjoy yourself and never give up!”

Q: You’ve voiced a couple of Transformers throughout the years – if you could transform into any vehicle, what would it be?
J: “A Lamborghini Countach.”


Rock out with Jess Harnell at Sydney Supanova (June 16-18) and Perth Supanova (June 24-25)!

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HALE TO THE QUEEN – JENNIFER HALE

June 2nd, 2017 by Chris Neill | No Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in AWSM |

You’ve probably heard Jennifer Hale‘s voice before. After all, she does hold the Guinness World Record for “The Most Prolific Videogame Voice Actor (Female).” Check out our interview with her below!


Q: How did you get into voice-acting?
JENNIFER: “I tripped over a microphone on the sidewalk and found myself in a new career. Just kidding! I went to a fine arts high-school where I studied acting and theatre. I studied the craft a bit and got a job at a production house where I did a voiceover because I had the training for it. From there I just kept on auditioning for and performing more and more roles.”

Q: You hold the world record for being “The Most Prolific Videogame Female Voice Actor” – how does that feel?
J: “It’s crazy! I always joke I did a lot of games because I wanted to buy a house, so I said yes to whatever work came my way. Videogame sessions are really different. An animation session involves a script that’s about 30, 32 pages long. A videogame script is like a stack of telephone books. With a TV show, you’re taking turns with people saying their lines at different times. With videogames it’s a one person show. It”ll just be you performing non-stop for four hours – except for bathroom breaks! I was happy and excited to work, so I said yes to everything!”

Q: Who was the most challenging character to voice?
J: “I used to sing in rock’n’roll bands when I was 15 and I didn’t want to lose my voice so I went got classical singing training. I wasn’t going to be an opera singer, but I wanted the vocal skills. That’s supported me to this day. I very rarely lose my voice when I’m working.

When Ellen DeGeneres is too busy to voice Dory, I substitute in for her. That’s challenging because she does such an incredible job that I have to live up to.”

Q: You’ve been a part of so many big series – is there a series you haven’t been a part of that you’d like to be a part of?
J: “Anything and everything! I love singing and riding horses, so anything where I get to do that!”

Q: Do you prefer being the hero or the villain?
J: “I like them both. Villains don’t think of themselves as villains. In their head they think they’re doing the right thing, and everyone else is on the wrong page. I do love being a bit more extreme and out-of-the-box with villain’s voices.”

Q: Do you have a favourite role?
J: “It’s sooo hard to pick a favourite. I think my favourite thing is the sheer variety I’ve had. I’ve done cartoony, wacky stuff, I’ve done classic stuff like Cinderella, and I’ve done intense dramatic action stuff.”

Q: If you could hang out with any of the characters you’ve voiced, who would it be?
J: “I’d hang out with all the other voice-actors I’ve worked with! They’re way more crazy!”

Q: Have you ever slipped into a character’s voice while in public?
J: “No, I’m quite shy.”

Q: People geek out over you, is there anything you geek out about?
J: “Science! Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye; people who do amazing things for the world. People who are changing the world for the better.”

Q: What do you think it takes to be a voice-actor?
J: “Tenacity. A really strong work ethic. The ability to manage money because sometimes you won’t be making much. The ability to make good relationships with people. Training, practice. A good ear. Imagination. And the willingness to look like a big dork!”


Don’t miss Jennifer Hale at Sydney Supanova (June 16-18) and Perth Supanova (June 24-25)!

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MIGHTY MORPHIN’ JOHNNY YONG BOSCH

May 31st, 2017 by Chris Neill | No Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in AWSM |

We caught up with longtime voice actor and legacy Power Ranger Johnny Yong Bosch for a quick chat! Check out our interview below and find out what it takes to be a Power Ranger, YAKs!


Q: You’re the 3rd longest serving Power Ranger – what do you think it takes to be a Power Ranger?
JOHNNY: “Originally you needed to be a teenager with attitude. Excellent martial arts, dance or gymnastic skills would be a plus. A willingness and desire to help people.”

Q: Do you have a favourite Megazord?
J: “Even though I acted like I didn’t like it, the Black Frog Ninjazord would be my favourite.”

Q: How did you make the leap from acting to voice-acting?
J: “The Japanese stunt team who were doing Power Rangers wanted to make an action film, so they hired me as the lead role because I was a martial artist and I could do my stunts. They had a Japanese camera, but the sound equipment wasn’t Japanese so it didn’t record properly. I had to go back and dub over myself. When I was in their dubbing myself the director and producer heard my voice. He thought I had a decent hero voice, so he hired me to do some anime voice-overs.”

Q: You play Nate in Yo-Kai Watch. Do you have a favourite Yo-Kai?
J: “I definitely like Whisper and Jibanyan. I also like Poofessor and Hovernyan.”

Q: If you were a Yo-kai, what would your ability be?
J: “To make people fall asleep instantly.”

Q: Do you prefer playing the good guy or the bad guy?
J: “It depends on the role. Sometimes the good guy can be a lot of fun to play, but sometimes they’re very stale and monotone. In most cases the villain is much more interesting, so I might lean a bit more to the villain side.

Q: Do you have a favourite character you’ve voiced?
J: “It’s so hard to choose! I’d have to say Nero from Devil May Cry 4. I got to Japan for the first time to do the motion-capture for the character.”

Q: Do you watch the shows or play the games you act in?
J: “I try to catch some of the shows, but game-wise I’m not very good at videogames! I’m just terrible at them, haha!”

Q: Is there a character you haven’t voiced that you’d like to?
J: “I’ve done some Marvel stuff, but I’d love to get more Marvel stuff and DC as well. That classic superhero stuff that I grew up on. Spider-Man would be awesome. If there was a Nightwing series I’d love to do that.”

Q: Have you ever used one of your voices in public?
J: “Half of my characters are my natural voice, haha. But no, I don’t. If they don’t know the voice they’ll probably think I’m a weirdo, and I’d feel like I’m showing off.”

Q: People geek out about you, is there anything you geek about?
J: “Old school kung-fu films. I have a band and I love talking and reading about recording gear.”

Q: Do you have any hobbies outside of acting?
J: “Apart from martial arts and music, that’s it! I don’t time for another hobby!”


Power up with Johnny Yong Bosch at Sydney Supanova (June 16-18) and Perth Supanova (June 24-25)!

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Louise Park: The Write Stuff!

April 11th, 2017 by Chris Neill | No Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in AWSM |

We spoke with Louise Park, the author behind amazing book series such as Zac Power: Test Drive and Spy Recruit series, Star Girl, and Boy vs Beast (to name a few) – and BIC Australia’s Bright Futures Are Written By Hand ambassador!

Louise let us take a look at what goes on behind the pages of her books and how she puts them together!


MANIA: How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
LOUISE: “I think I knew when I was seven. I wrote my first story then and I’ve been writing ever since.”

M: What was that story about?
L: “I had the chicken pox and my mum took me into Sydney to have lunch at a restaurant that was on the water. The man who owned the restaurant showed me a trapdoor that led to the ocean. He told me that in the olden days they used to chute barrels through it, they’d bob out to sea and then pirates would pick them up. So I went home and wrote a story about how I hid in a barrel, went down the tunnel, bobbed out at sea and got picked up by a pirates ship, and went on an adventure!”

M: Are there any books or authors that inspire you?
L: “Millions! I was an addict for the Nancy Drew mysteries, Trixie Belden, Roald Dahl. I loved anything mystery or action. So it’s no surprises I ended up writing about a boy spy, magic portals and beasts in other worlds.”

M: How do you come up with your ideas?
L: “I think about what’s going on in the world, and then I ask: ‘What if?’ With the Star Girl series I wanted to do a series that looked at all the environmental issues down here on Earth, but to make it kid-friendly I set it on a boarding school in space. These students at this boarding school have to go rescue aliens that are in danger. The environmental issues mirror Earth’s, but it’s these grand-adventures with Year Three-Four students.”

M: Do you hand-write or type your work?
L: “I hand-write a lot. I don’t ever go to the computer until I’m ready to do a full first draft, which means I know everything chapter by chapter. I write on a board, and I then I fill books and books.”

M: Words of advice for wannabe writers?
L: “Write, write, write! And read, read, read! For any writing or brainstorming, always do it by hand. Areas of your brain that ignite your imagination are used there. While you’re brainstorming use a pencil, a pen, a texta and write in a book or on a whiteboard. Don’t go to a computer until you’re really ready to start writing.

M: Is that the most important aspect of hand-writing?
L: “For creative writing it’s all about sparking that area of the brain that’s all about imagination and letting ideas flow. Writing by hand does that. Once you go to the computer that shuts down and other areas start up.

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LEGO CITY POLICE COMIC!

April 10th, 2017 by Dom | No Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in AWSM, LOLS |

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POWER UP WITH STEPHANIE NADOLNY

April 3rd, 2017 by Chris Neill | No Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in Anime, AWSM |

We caught up with voice-actress Stephanie Nadolny, who you might now better as the voice of Kid Goku and Kid Gohan from Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT! We also learn a bit about the upcoming Cartoon Network show OK K.O! Check out our AWSM interview below!

MANIA: How did you get into voice acting?
STEPH: “I used to record voices on a tape-recorder when I was a child. I didn’t even know voice-acting was a career! I was really into music and watched a lot of cartoons. I would mimic the characters I would hear. I’d use the voices to make my friends laugh.

“As I got older I got more into theatre and singing. I went to college for drama because I wanted to be a serious actor. What ended up happening is that I worked on an album project called The Cookies with Carl Finch, who is from an award winning polka band called Brave Combo. We made an album that was never released, but I met Barry Watson who was recording voices for the English-dub of Dragon Ball Z. He called me in to audition and I was cast as Kid Gohan!”

M: Are people surprised when they realise you voiced kid Goku and Gohan?
S: “I do from time to time. When I first started appearing at conventions no one knew who what I looked like, so I had to prove to people that I was young Gohan! The reactions were priceless! They’d be like, ‘No way!!!'”

M: Who do you like more: Goku or Gohan?
S: “Love’em both, but I think I’m fond of Goku. He has such a precious innocence. He’s hilarious!”

M: You’re voicing the lead in an upcoming Cartoon Network show, OK K.O. Can you tell Are you voicing him in the same way?
S: “The show’s creator, Ian Jones-Quartey, was a big Dragon Ball fan while growing up! He put the show together and had Kid Goku in mind, so he reached out to me to be a voice. Originally it was called Lakewood Plaza Turbo and then made some shorts.”

M: Do you think KO is similar to Goku?
S: “They’re very similar. He’s a quirky off-shot of what the show’s creator likes about Goku. It’s been a lot of fun. When I voice KO, I can’t help but feel he’s a distant cousin of Goku!”

M: A lot of people geek out over you – is there anything you really geek out about?
S: “Of course! Usually it’s the other guests I’m appearing with at conventions. In 2012, I was on the same guest list as Christopher Lloyd and I was freaking out! He’s so talent and funny! Growing up I loved disco music and my idol was Donna Summer, and I got to meet her! Anyone who does amazing characters voices as well!”

M: You’ve been to Australia a couple of times, so have you tried Vegemite before?
S: “Yes; it was good! It was very salty and different. It reminds me of hummus. I’m looking forward to trying it again. I’m hoping I get to see some kangaroos and koalas too!”

M: Do you have a favourite movie?
S: “Grease and The Sound of Music!”

M: Do you have a favourite snack?
S: “Oh, that’s a tough one! Cheese! Nachos! And I know it sounds crazy, but broccoli!”


Catch Stephanie at Gold Coast Supanova (April 21st–23rd) and Melbourne Supanova (April 28th–30th)!

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LEGO CITY CODEBREAKER!

February 6th, 2017 by Dom | No Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in AWSM, LOLS |

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[Q&A] DOGSTAR: CHRISTMAS IN SPACE!

December 14th, 2016 by Chris Neill | 2 Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in AWSM |

dogstar xmas

It’s just two days before Christmas in the year 2349 when all of the world’s dogs, including the much loved Clark kids’ pet Hobart, suddenly disappear. The Clark kids make a promise to find all the dogs and return them back safely to Earth before Christmas… but not everyone is keen to see them return.

We’re excited to return to the AWSM universe of Dogstar with the new movie Christmas in Space! We spoke with show co-creator Doug MacLeod and the voice behind Glenn Clark, Brandon Burns, to find out what it’s like to be doing more Dogstar and the worst Christmas presents they’ve ever received!


MANIA: What originally inspired Dogstar?
DOUG: “Colin South, the co-founder and Managing Director of Media World Pictures, was very keen to an animated series that was entirely made in Australia. That was pretty rare back then – most people would get their animation done over seas. I had a story I wanted to do, so I got together with a team of writers to make something and we came up with Dogstar. It’s a missing dog story, but on a much larger scale.”

M: What’s it like revisiting Dogstar?
D: “Joy! A lot of fans of the shows will recognise one or two old moments, but it’s mostly new stuff. This movie is also the first time we meet a race of feline-evolved life forms. The animation looks incredible. I think it’s a pretty impressive package, really.” 

M: How does it feel to be voicing Glenn again?
BRANDON: “I’m 32, and I’ve got a pretty low voice, so I was surprised that I could still able to do a higher pitched voiced for a young kid. The most exciting thing is that I have kids who can watch it now. “

M: Do they notice that it’s your voice?
B: Most of the time my son doesn’t, but my younger daughter does.”

01_Hobart back home with the Clark family for Christmas

M: It’s been a while since we’ve seen new Dogstar episodes. What do you think the characters have been up to during this gap?
D: “It’s like The Simpsons. When is Maggie going to stop being the baby? People can come to it fresh if they’ve never seen it, but it’ll please fans as well.”

M: How would you describe Glenn as a character?
B: “He’s well-intentioned, but a tad frustrated by his lack of intelligence compared to his younger brother. But his trust in Planet Man and Plant Man’s advice usually helps him get through at situation! He’s a leader, even if he doesn’t really know it.”

M: Are you a big sci-fi fans?
D: “Everyone on the writing team was. It’s kind of easy when you have nerds who speaks the same language as you. This was when Dr. Who was in hiatus, and we were so desperate for it to come back so we tried to make something with a similar feel. Lots of aliens and all that.”
B: “Not really. I’ve never been a massive Star War fan for example. But I love Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, and he did a bunch of sci-fi movies.”

M: Are you a big animation fans?
D: “I grew up watching Hanna-Barbera and Looney Tunes cartoons. I used to love the Bugs Bunny show. We were lucky that we had such a good character designer on our show, Scott Vanden Bosch.”
B: “I wasn’t a massive cartoon fan. I was more of a movie buff.”

20_Hobart and Glenn play catch

M: Are you a cat person or a dog person?
D: “I like cats.”
B: “Dogs – because I’m allergic to cat hair!”

M: Was there a present you were dying to get for Christmas, but you never got it?
D: “Money!”
B: “A Super Soaker 5000 or a NERF gun.”

M: What is the worst Christmas present you’ve ever received?
D: “My grandma dressed up a bunch of celery as a baby. She put a hat on it, a nappy and stuck on some fake eyes.”
B: “Totem Tennis. The bats broke after a day.”

M: Will we be seeing anymore Dogstar in the future?
D: “I would love to see more Dogstar.”
B: “I’d love to do another season of Dogstar. I think it’s really well written and made. I’d like to see Glenn have his own talk-show with a Planet Man theme.”

Catch Dogstar: Christmas In Space on Friday, December 16th @ 6pm on 9Go!

03_The most feared bounty hunter in the universe Baba Ganoosh

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BOBBY MOYNIHAN: LIVING THE PUG LIFE

December 7th, 2016 by Chris Neill | No Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in AWSM, Movies |

The Secret Life Of Pets is one of our favourite movies of the year, and we can’t wait to grab a copy on DVD so we can watch it 24/7! If you’re like us and can’t get enough of it, then check out this AWSM interview with comedian Bobby Moynihan, the voice behind Mel the pug! You’d be barking mad to miss this!

iNEW YORK DAILY NEWS OUT - New York, NY - 6/25/16 - Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment Present The Premiere of "The Secret Life of Pets" - Pictured: Bobby Moynihan -Photo by: Dave Allocca/Starpix

MANIA: What was your first pet?
BOBBY: “I had a parakeet. But he didn’t last very long, unfortunately. I never had a dog or a cat, but I did have some fish. I had those for a very long time.”

MANIA: Do you have a pet now?
BOBBY: “Not right now.”

MANIA: Did you ever wonder what they did when you left the house?
BOBBY: “I did! I thought it was a Toy Story situation, where my pets would go hang out with other pets when I wasn’t around.”

MANIA: Do you have a dream pet?
BOBBY: “I would love to hang out with a monkey for a little while. Sloths are pretty cool too.”

MANIA: Are you a cat or a dog person?
BOBBY: “I think I’m more of a dog person. Cats are too full of anxiety and running around too much for me.”

MANIA: How did you land the role of Mel?
BOBBY: “The studio sent me a picture of Mel, and I saw his tiny little feet and though, ‘Man, I’d love to do this!’”

MANIA: What was it like playing Mel the pug? Did you do any method acting to get into the role?
BOBBY: “Yeah, I only drank out of a bowl for six months, haha! Mel’s such a fun energetic character, it was a blast coming up with that energy to play such a happy dog.”

MANIA: What does it take to live the “Pug life”?
BOBBY: “A lot of being pampered. A lot of waiting for people to come home so they can feed you. And a lot of running into walls!”

MANIA: What type of friend is Mel to Max?
BOBBY: “That friend you keep around who might be an idiot, but he’s fun and loveable. He might be the best person to have on your team, but he’ll always be there for you if you need him.”

MANIA: If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
BOBBY: “Any animal that can fly, because I don’t have that ability… yet. A bird of some kind, or maybe a monkey so I can swing around.”

MEL

Catch all the doggone antics in The Secret Life of Pets – out now on DVD and Blu-Ray!

DE7952_THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS_DVD UV - 1610-NMS.indd

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