I have to admit it. I had serious worries about how "Open Season" would perform over the first weekend of October. The timing was maybe not auspicious. "OS" was coming at the end of what had been touted as a summer "animation glut." And after the weak-kneed opening of "Everyone's Hero," who knew how the new animal flick would do?...
But after "Season's" opening weekend, I think we can all breathe easier. The public hasn't gotten tired of animation, anymore than an underperformer in live-action means that -- oops -- it's time to strike the tent and stop making flicks filmed with a camera and breathing actors.
If anything, what the "OS" #1 opening demonstrates is that there remains a strong and viable market for animated features. Unlike a decade ago, it's not restricted to Disney. We've now seen four other animation studios turn out c.g.i. features that debuting at the top of the box office charts (Sony, Fox, Pixar and DreamWorks.)
Prior to the new millenium, this feat was unprecedented. In '06 alone, "Cars" opened at #1. "Over the Hedge" opened at #2 (mostly because "The Da Vinci Code sucked all the oxygen out of the air that particular weekend), and "Ice Age 2" not only performed well domestically, but set foreign box office on fire.
What's becoming clearis that theatrical animation is a viable commodity no matter which entity produces it. Make a film with value and entertainment (attached to a credible advertising budget), and your film can open. Not every animated feature is going to hit a grand slam, but the theatrical and ancillary markets guarantee that quality productions will create sizable cash flows.Most movie companies have no doubt noticed this phenomena. Which is why they continue to pile into the business of animated features, glut or no glut.