Sunday, April 23, 2006

"Ice Age" Keeps on Giving

"Ice Age: The Meltdown" is the gift that just keeps on showering doubloons on Uncle Rupert (click above. The flick is down a mere 36% for the week)... (c) 20th -Century Fox Now in its fourth week of domestic release, "Ice Age 2" has climbed to almost $168 million in domestic grosses, and per VARIETY, has snared $291 million overseas: "Talk about global warming. Three weeks of better-than-expected performance by Fox International's "Ice Age: The Meltdown" has revived what had been a lackluster 2006 at the international box office. For the first three months of the year, the only consistently strong entry had been BVI's 2005 holdover "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." As of April 19, "Ice Age: The Meltdown" had grossed $291 to nearly double the Stateside take... The CGI sequel exerted a powerful pull over audience outside its core family demo in virtually every market and appeared likely -- with openings in Italy, Japan and South Korea -- to become only the 20th pic ever to top $400 million in offshore grosses..." (-Dave McNary, Weekly Variety) Our estimate: this pup will gross north of $600 million before it's through. And then of course, the dvd release will help it double that number. With cash flow like that, it's small wonder that every major entertainment conglomerate now has its own cgi feature animation studio in place. And that some indies are also establishing beach heads. (It also explains why the Animation Guild's membership numbers keep climbing...)


Anonymous said...

Now in its fourth week of domestic release, "Ice Age 2" has climbed to almost $168 million in domestic grosses, and per VARIETY, has snared $291 billion overseas:

291 Billion!?!?!? Thats got to be a record for an animated feature! Well done Blue Sky!

Anonymous said...

membership numbers might be climbing...but there will be a "meltdown" like 2D saw...just wait...

Steve Hulett said...

My how cheery we are...

Actually, the whole history of animation employment is a roller coaster. The first seven years I was in this job, TAG membership went up. Then the next six years it went down. And now up again.

This isn't anything new. I remember, as a kid, when Disney laid off 80% of its animation staff. If not for Hanna-Barbera expanding the following year, there would have been a LOT of unemployed animation artists

Steve Hulett said...

Noe small difference between this "boom" cycle and the last one (1990-1996):

Then, the feature animation blockbusters were all at Disney. Now, the big earners are spread out among four different studios: DreamWorks, Pixar, Fox, Disney Features...and Sony Pictures Animation hasn't yet released its first film. My prediction: a downturn will probably come, but not for three to six years. Animation employment is -- and always has been -- market driven.

TV Animation is a separate, and different story. At the moment, Prime Time Animation shows are 100% Fox. "The Simpsons." "King of the Hill." "Family Guy." "American Dad." And maybe soon "Futurama." (The sales of DVD boxed sets have much to do with this.)

There is also a LOT of cable networks doing animated shares. Besides the cartoon weekends at the broadcast networks, there is Cartoon Network, the Disney Channel, Toon Disney, also Comedy Central and some others I'm probably overlooking.

The upshot of all this is that a goodly number of shows get made to feed the various beasts, but budgets get tighter and tighter. (This, I think, explains some of the uncompensated overtime. Mismanagement explains the rest.)

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