Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Big Panda Boogies Overseas

Although the little robot inflicted a major flesh wound on Kung Fu Panda this weekend here in the states, KFP is doing brisk business on foreign shores:

DreamWorks Animation and Paramount's martial arts toon "Kung Fu Panda" has conquered the Asian box office in only three weeks, becoming the highest-grossing toon ever in South Korea.

That's good news for Hollywood studios looking to extend their international reach and tailor movies to a specific territory, or handful of territories. "Panda" will ultimately play everywhere, but the strength of its engagements in Korea and China is noteworthy.

"Panda," ... took in $3.76 million from 582 screens over the June 20-22 frame for a cume of $20.7 million in its third sesh.

What delights my soul is that the big, American-produced animated features continue to do exceedingly well in international markets, which bodes well for more American-produced animated features to be made.

The toon came in No. 4 overall for the frame, even though it has yet to roll out in much of Europe. "Panda" grossed $20.5 million for the weekend from 2,857 playdates for a foreign cume of $68 million. It launched with $4 million in China and $5.9 million in Mexico.

Par and DreamWorks Animation are taking a gradual approach in releasing the toon, mainly because of the ongoing Euro Cup soccer tournament.

Disney will likewise be careful with the rollout of Pixar toon "Wall-E," which opens on June 27. The gradual rollout of both "Panda" and "Wall-E" mean that the international box office could be strong for weeks.

I don't doubt for a millisecond that both of these features will make heavy coin worldwide, and that the Hollywood congloms will take note.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm not in the animation business - I'm just an admirer and fan of the craft. So can someone with knowledge of the subject tell me: are computers the great equalizers? I mean, it seems to me that when feature toons were all 2D, Disney was THE major player because most of the quality 2D came from that studio. And the reason Disney quality was so high was because of the painstaking apprenticeship and focus on innovation Disney insisted on that most studios couldn't touch. But now that feature toons are all CG, suddenly there are studios producing toons all over the place. So I guess what I'm asking is: does computer animation require less, or a different kind of, talent than did 2D? A shorter apprenticeship? Or what?

Tim said...

Making an animated feature requires all different kinds of disciplines and skillsets, no matter if you are making CG or traditional.

In terms of actual animators, as a cg animator who was traditionally trained, I would certainly say that animating 2D takes greater skill, and a greater learning curve. To explain further...

In terms of what is common to both:
Animating is acting. There are principles to learn, understanding characterization, performance, appeal, weight, how the body moves, story sense, and other aspects that relate to acting and physics. Truly getting a solid grasp on these aspects is often what takes the longest--usually at least a minimum of 2 to 4 years. But really, it's a lifetime of learning, continually refining what you know.

In terms of where 2D and 3D differ:
Traditional hand-drawn has another whole layer of skill that takes many years of study, and that is the skill of draughtsmanship--the ability to draw anything, at any angle, purely out of imagination, with flourish. This can take years of specialized training. Obviously, some have a greater natural aptitude than others, but in general, the combination of both great draughtsmanship and solid understanding of acting and animation principles takes a minimum of roughly 4 to 7 years to get somewhat competent.

Conversely, cg animators don't need to learn drawing. While drawing can help, it isn't a requirement, and there a number of excellent cg animators who don't draw. Once the principles of animation and acting are understood, the only thing a cg animator needs to learn to get started is a computer software program like Maya. If taught by a competent instructor, you can be reasonably familiar with Maya (enough to animate with a pre-built rig) in just a couple months.

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if I should leave this comment in this particular Comment Box, but I will.

Could someone please tell us how the whole Sit Down Shut Up thing ended? It seems to have been been almost a week since the ultimatum, and no one has been talking about how it ended. The story has just been dropped by everyone that started writing about it. I feel like I just watched a movie and the whole third act was missing.

Thanks in advance

Anonymous said...

While I don't disagree with Tim about his excellent response, I'd like to point out that having a reasonable drawing skill level, will help the cg animator come up with better stronger poses!
Every time I bring this up, cg animators who dont draw look at me funny! But to me, someone who has spent time at life drawing classes has a better grip on the whole body language thing. Jut my opinion anyway!.

rufus.

Anonymous said...

Computer/Handrawn. Whatever. I just wished panda had been more than a typical Saturday morning cartoon. GOD, it never shut UP. And it looked so cheap, really.

Anonymous said...

Whatever!

The animation on Tai Lung was amazing! Best from Dreamworks yet!

made me want to go back to my desk and animate!...

R.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't a lot of Panda animation done in Mexico and India? Sure looks like it.

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