Monday, October 22, 2012

Goats and Darlings

One feature flies as others sputter.

While "Hotel Transylvania" has become an unlikely hit ($187 million worldwide box office), the Focus Features-distributed "ParaNorman" hasn't done as well as the previous film from Laika Entertainment, "Coraline." The critics loved its dark and semi-scary tone, but since opening on August 17, "ParaNorman" has brought in $55 million domestically and $91 million worldwide. Its budget was unavailable.

[And] Disney and Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie" has turned into a bit of a box-office pumpkin, despite being a critical favorite. ...

This isn't quite as amazing as The Wrap thinks. BeCAUSE:

1) Stop motion animation has never performed at the same level as its CGI cousin.

2) "Dark" movies are seldom the box office winners that zany comedies are. And black-and-white movies are pretty much non-starters.

3) Never under-estimate the power of Adam Sandler (in the right vehicle.)

4) Always respect Genddy Tartakovsky's command over the animated cartoon. (He has an amazing track record.)

5) Sony Pictures Animation was due for an out-sized hit.

6 comments:

Justin said...

The highest grossing stop motion animated film (domestically) is Chicken Run at $106.8 million with Coraline second at $75.2 million. Most others seem to come in around $50 million.

Kenneth Elliott said...

I wish more studios can show more interest in the traditional 2D art form; if stop motion underperforms on numerous occasions, then why can't a risk be taken by releasing a 2D feature once in a while?

2D isn't that expensive, as long as the art is simple and to-the-point, like a Ghibli film or "The Simpson's Movie," not fleshed-out, and loaded with bells and whistles, like Disney's "Princess and the Frog." If it was all about cost, then why is television animation dominated by 2D animation?

Steve Hulett said...

From scuttlebutt I hear, Disney and others have small interest in hand-drawn features because the grosses aren't there.

I'm told that even Mr. Lasseter, who championed it a few years ago, is cooler now.

Smaller grosses will do that to people.

F. Kousac said...

Hotel transylvania was a so-so kids cartoon, but it's got a long way to go to turn a profit. Sony spent far more than you know on the pictures (7 to 9 "directors" ending with Adam Sandler finishing it), and 25 "writers." It's gotta make somewhere close to $600 million (which it may after dvd and home video sales, in roughly 10 years) just to get out of the red.
Reminds me of Rango, another cartoon that didn't turn a profit.

Steven Kaplan said...

Or Tangled .. but that is considered a winner. As far as Hotel T goes, its being chalked in the W column. Right, wrong or indifferent.

Steve Hulett said...

It's always difficult to know what pictures turn profits and which don't, what with magic bookkeeping by the studios.

One thing they always like, no matter how costly development was, is cash flow. And Hotel Transylvania is providing some of that.

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