The New York Times details how a heavy-duty kids cable network is moving to your neighborhood AMC.
... The reboot of Nickelodeon Movies came over the weekend with “The Last Airbender,” about a boy who can control air, fire, earth and water and embarks on a quest to save the world. Johnny Depp — the biggest family star around — is the headline name for the animated “Rango,” set for release on March 4. After that is a splashy new “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” produced by Michael Bay, the director of the “Transformers” movies. ...
For all the majors now, the movie and t.v. biz is about extending and maximizing "brands." Making a good movie is fine, but really beside the point:
The model is Walt Disney Studios, which has successfully moved Disney Channel programming like “Hannah Montana” to the big screen. Adam Goodman, president of the Paramount Film Group, said he wanted to stretch the Nickelodeon brand to include racier content — just as Disney did with PG-13-rated movies like “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.”
... (One example of what Paramount is trying to avoid: “The Princess and the Frog,” the Disney animated movie that fizzled at the box office in part because of cool interest from older children and adults.) ...
Once upon a time, what we would call "the major film studios" had specific house styles that reflected the tastes, points-of-few and creative chops of their founders. Disney product would never have been mistaken for Warner Bros. cartoons or -- for that matter -- the kinds of entertainment that the Fleischer brothers turned out.
But in the age of the conglomerate, all of those things have blown away like topsoil in a hurricane. Now it's about building franchises and cross-pollinating different corporate divisions. About maximizing profits.
The days of making a ninety- minute feature for the sake of that animated feature are ... long over. Please don't hold your breath waiting for them to come back.