It isn't all about what's made domestically. Or in California. Other parts of the world are also in the animation game.
Production gets under way this month on “Beast of Burden,” the first China-New Zealand co-production of an animated feature. William Morris Endeavor and Canada’s Strategem Entertainment are set to handle international sales.
The film is written and directed by Kirby Atkins (Nickelodeon’s “The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron”). The story sees a species of now-extinct creatures called Thoriphants rebel against their life of servitude to mankind and embark on a treacherous journey.
“Burden” is a production involving China Film Animation, part of state-owned China Film Group, and New Zealand’s Huhu Studios. Financial backing comes from Qi Tai Culture Development Group, a company that spans film investment, production and marketing. ...
When you nose around the internet, you realize that there are "niche" animated features that A) get no or minimal release in the U.S. of A., yet make good money (and comfortable profits) in the rest of the world.
If a foreign animation studio can make CG features with budgets in the $8 million to $25 million range, they can very likely make a comfortable profit. Like for instance:
“Tad, the Lost Explorer,” the third Spanish film in a row to open Cartoon Movie. Studiocanal-sold, “Tad” snagged $40 million worldwide through Feb. 17 , becoming Spain’s highest-grossing Spanish toon ever ($24.6 million), distribbed by Paramount.
There are various and sundry European animated features that make tidy sums in the world marketplace. Just because they get minimal exposure in the United States doesn't mean that profits aren't being raked in. Not every long-form cartoon has to make $500 million to be considered a success.
Just being in the black, even if it means a mere $1.5 million above costs and advertising was made, is considered a triumph.