Last year's "Puss in Boots"was made on the lush 13-acre DreamWorks Animation campus in Glendale by 300 people working for four years at a cost of $130 million.
Its knockoff was made on the second floor of an office building just two miles away— by 12 people, in six months, for less than $1 million.
The DreamWorks version, which starred the voices of Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek, was a box-office smash.
The other, produced by tiny Renegade Animation, went direct to DVD. ...
LA Times writer Ben Fritz called me about the story above and asked if there was outrage and anger in the animation community over the knock-offs. I told him I've heard remarkably little talk about it, one way or the other. (Wasn't the quote he was looking for, and I don't blame him for cutting the phone call short.)
I first noticed this kind of "imitation" activity back during the hey-day of Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Lion King. But God knows, it's been going on for the better part of a century. Low-rent producers were doing low-budget imitations of Douglas Fairbanks's Robin Hood and Thief of Baghdad back in the silent days.
The watch words then were: "Anything for a smooth buck." Nothing has changed.