Monday, November 16, 2009

Home-Grown Toons Across the Seas

The reality of which we often lose sight is that the U.S. of A. is not the Alpha and Omega of the animated feature. There are any number of countries that create toonage for their home markets, work that seldom sees the light of a projection lamp on other continents.

France, Germany, India and others create local animation; the list is long. India, with a huge domestic film industry, is now working to break its product out of a regional straitjacket and expand it onto world markets:

... With changing global trends, Indian animation motion pictures are ready for a makeover. Taking cue from Hollywood’s animation movies on superheroes, Indian production companies are now growing out of mythological subjects to make films on larger-than-life superheroes of Indian cinema.

... “Animation films in India do not have a good market at present. They mainly rely on mythological characters, a niche market limiting the films largely to an Indian audience. In Hollywood, over 60 animated films have been made in 10 years and more are on the anvil” said the Vijay Paranjpe, Chief Financial Officer of Crest Animation Studios.

The revenue out of animation feature films, DVD licensing and TV licensing for movies is huge, which makes Hollywood the best destination for any animation film. For instance, US filmmaker gets, on an average, $ 300 million for an animated movie, as they are instant hit among the audience, he says.

Mr. Paranjpe -- whose studio long ago purchased Rich Animation in Burbank, California -- is just a tad optimistic regarding the financial power or American animated features. But he's on the money about foreign cartoons peforming weakly in the world film market.

Since World War I, American films have been major crowd-pleasers around the globe. I've never been entirely sure why this is, since there are certainly excellent foreign films that get made on a regular basis. Maybe it's our mongrel American culture, maybe it's economic muscle, or maybe it's plain old good luck. Whatever the reason, the long tentacles of Hollywood product reach everywhere, and the animated sub-set is no exception.

There's DreamWorks, there's Pixar, and the American cartoonist name Disney is known everywhere. Most foreign animation artists' fame -- with the possible exception of Miyazaki -- stops at their home-country's border.

Maybe this will change as we grope our way into the 21st century, or maybe not. Me, I think that India has major challenges in becoming a big-time player in the animation marketplace, but I'm not one to never say never.


Anonymous said...

Oooh - triple negative! But if you're not one to never say never, doesn't that mean that you're saying never?

Never = no
never say never = possible
not one to never say never = not possible


Steve Hulett said...

Caught me!

Time will tell ... as time often does.

Anonymous said...

But American superhero films are American comic-book derived.

Are Indian superheros any more likely to appeal to international audiences than Indian mythological characters?

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