Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Toons of Spain

Spanish animation studios have been creating features for decades. And they're still at it.

... For crisis-beleaguered Spanish production, animation is proving to be a lifeline. ...

Tad, the Lost Explorer, Spain’s biggest local toon hit ever ($24.8 million) has gone on to corral $50 million-plus worldwide, and counting. Ilion Animation Studios’ $60 million Planet 51, a Sony U.S. pickup, paved the way by scoring $105.7 million worldwide in 2010.

Tad’s success underscored the significant impact of broadcasters’ marketing campaigns, especially for toons.

With aggressive promotion, Mediaset Espana helped Paramount propel Tad in Spain, beating Ice Age 4 ($19.7 million), Brave ($19.1 million) and Madagascar 3 ($13.4 million).

If Justin and Foosball catch box office fire this summer, ... says producer Jordi Gasull at El Toro, “they could consolidate a golden age for higher-end, mainstream toons from Spain.”

Higher end is in the eye of the executive writing the check.

Spain might go upscale, but Spain has the same issues holding on to its star talent that every foreign studio (live-action or cartoon) has had since around ... oh ... 1914. When a top animator, director or story artist wants to cash in, they don't go looking for a raise from the likes of Ilion Animation Studios. They get themselves a visa and catch a flight to the states, where the money is better.

The Iberian peninsula will likely produce entertaining cartoon features in the future, but the trick will be to get worldwide grosses competitive with the movies coming from our fine, entertainment conglomerates. That could be a tall order.


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