Saturday, September 05, 2009

Latin American Toons

We've discussed Canada, France and the studios of Mumbai. But there's much going on in the countries to our south.

Latin America is becoming a hotbed for animation as local producers forge ties with international companies, while more studios are keen to distribute their toons.

Animated pics are a goldmine for the region’s young, family-oriented population. Fox’s "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" has reached "Titanic" status as the all-time box office leader in Latin America, with nearly 12 million admissions in Mexico.

Several companies are ready to bow Latin feature toons ... In October, Fox releases its first local animated pickup across Latin America ... Universal Pictures Mexico will release its first local animated, "Nikte" ...

Argentina’s Patagonik Film Group struck box office gold at home with comic strip-based "Dibu, la pelicula" in 1997 and "Patoruzito" in 2004.

In 2006, irreverent toon "Una Pelicula de Huevos," about an egg that wants to be a chicken, surprised the Mexican market when it rose to number two all-time local blockbuster status.

"Few Latin American movies have worked across the region, but we’re hoping to break this trend ... " says Hernan Viviano, Fox Chile general manager ...

The theme here (as elsewhere) is that animation production and exhibition now thrives on all parts of the globe, including South America and Mexico. (Maybe especially South America and Mexico.)

As always, American entertainment conglomerates are heavily involved with financing and co-production deals, hoping for a mega blockbuster they can own and distribute, but happy to settle for regional hits that will keep local turnstiles spinning.

Thus far, of course, it's the big budget domestically-produced toonage that has had the greatest impact. That might one day change, but so far the locals' thirst for wooly mammoths and dinosaurs has carried the day. (And lest you think I'm being chauvinistic here, please know that I speak as a proud, Latin American cartoon creator ... even though my name was spelled wrong in the credits. )


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