Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Tale of Glut

Just too many?

... The flood of computer-animated movies is reminiscent of the late 1990s, when Disney blockbusters such as "The Lion King" spurred others to jump into the business — only to fail with a string of box-office clunkers, such as "The Iron Giant" and "Titan A.E.," that led to widespread layoffs.

Most of the recent movies, however, have fared well at the box office, some hugely so. Universal scored a massive hit with "Despicable Me 2." Since its release July 3, the Universal sequel, produced for $76 million, has raked in more than $750 million, making it the most profitable movie in the studio's history. ...

Okay, we get it. There's just too many animated features competing against each other, and so grosses are down.

Oh. Except that Despicable Me 2, released in the middle of the glut (after Monsters University but before Turbo) is the "most profitable movie in Universal's history."

Think about that. More profitable than Jaws. Or Jurassic Park. More profitable than The Sting or the long series of monster movies. So how did it make so much money in the middle of the glut?

Because a crowded field doesn't necessarily mean box office failure. Otherwise DM2 would have under-performed. It's really simpler than that. When an audience decides not to go see a movie, you can't stop it.

Unfortunately for DWA, the audience decided not to go look at a movie about a speedy snail. Fortunately for Chris Meledandri, the world's theatre-goers decided they really, really wanted to see Despicable Me 2, which has out-performed Monsters, Inc. 2/Monsters University in most geographic areas, though not by much.

If people want to go see a long-form cartoon, they'll go do it. And if not, not. Gluts be damned. It's the content, not the format.


Justin said...

It's not quite as simple as that. It is true that if the audience wants to see a movie then they'll go see it regardless of how crowded the marketplace is. But a movie with moderate interest, ala Turbo, could get squeezed out by more interesting movies. If the family movie marketplace was empty then families would probably go see a mildly interesting movie for lack of anything better to see. But with several highly anticipated movies already in the marketplace there is no need to go check out a movie that only has passing interest.

Alex Dudley said...

^ All the more reason for animation studios to put more effort into making great stories, instead of just passable ones.

Floyd Norman said...

Who would have guessed DM2 would perform so well? Trying to second guess the public is a losing game. All you can do is make your movie and hope the public likes it.

KInda like it always was, eh?

F. Kousac said...

Since I coined the term "Cheapquels" in the late '80's, there seem to be more now than ever!

Steve Hulett said...

And the two most recent specimens from Illumination Entertainment and Pixar are doing really well.

It's the original that's eating it.

Kenneth Elliott said...

I agree with this article's viewpoint...
it does make me wonder why (and how) inferior efforts like Ice Age 4 can be so profitable.

Steve Hulett said...

People go to see the efforts in large numbers because they love the world and the characters. And Fox keeps making more to satisfy ravenous appetites.

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