... [T]he list of [animated feature] submissions is increasing because other countries are realizing the value of Oscar recognition in this category, where there is far less competition than in the foreign-language race, which this year received 83 submissions. Countries repped in animation’s list of 20 include France, Ireland, Japan, the U.K. and Latvia.
And Hollywood is more prolific than ever. Fox distributed five of the films (“How to Train Your Dragon 2,” “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” and “Penguins of Madagascar” from DreamWorks Animation, plus “Rio 2″ from 20th Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky and “The Book of Life,” Reel FX Animation), and Disney accounted for three (“Big Hero 6,” Walt Disney Animation; and two from DisneyToon Studios and Prana, “The Pirate Fairy” and “Planes: Fire and Rescue”).
Animated films are often a studio’s heaviest hitters. Just three films this year brought in $1.5 billion at the global box office: “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” “Rio 2” and “The Lego Movie.” ...
It's not just features that are animation profit centers.
Small screen animation -- cable, broadcast, internet -- is going great guns. L.A. studios are hiring, Texas studios are hiring, Georgia studios are hiring.
The reasons are clear enough if you care to look: there are fortunes to be made in merchandising and licensing and endless re-runs from evergreen properties. Because the cash flows from animated half hours go on forever (just ask the heirs and assigns of William Hanna and Joe Barbera.)