Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Let's Retire the Word "Glut"

Kevin and I have beaten on this particular dead horse for months now, but let me go over this one more time: We must retire the word "glut" as its connected to animation generally and animated features in particular...

I continue to get phone calls from reporters that include (or start with) the words "Do you think the glut of animated features has hurt (fill in the blank)?"...

I mean, here's an example of it...and another....and yet another...

You get the idea. Everybody has picked up on this four-letter word and run with it. Right into the ground. As Kevin and I have pointed out here on more than one occasion, as I've pointed out to various ink-stained wretches who've phoned up, there is no glut. None. Nada.

There are only moving pictures that people want to see, and moving pictures that people don't want to see. When was the last time you saw one article that said, "Live action movies are tanking because of this terrible glut of live action movies."?

You haven't seen that article and you won't see that article because the storyline for the falling off of live action at the nation's AMCs is always because 1) DVDs are killing movie box office, 2) home theaters are killing movie box office, 3) downloading on the internet is killing movie box office, 3) pirated DVDs (related to 2) are killing movie box office (also non-pirated DVDs), 4) the lower quality of live action films is killing movie box office. Etc.

It isn't ever: The glut of live action films is killing live action box office. Why? Because it's not the MSM's agreed-upon storyline.

So I'll say what I've said before. "Animation glut" has little to do with non-performing animated features. Bad animated features (and sometimes bad marketing and bad luck with the release date of said animated feature) do.

So we'll now dispense with the word "glut," okay? There were sixteen animated features (give or take) released in '06. A lot of them did fine. We'll get a dozen (give or take) in '07. A lot of them will do fine. On their merits. And sixteen features or twelve features or even thirteen features does not constitute a glut. At best it's a trickle or gentle flow.

Are we clear on this? Thank you and goodnight.


Anonymous said...

There is a glut of CGI animation.
Wait, lets phrase it this way: there is an absence of traditionally animated movies.
(and for no good reason whatsoever)

Either way it is phrased, it comes off as a negative assessment of the industry. Why? Because it is causing a lack of variety for the moviegoers and variety is the spice of life. 8 years ago there were still 2D animated movies in the theaters and now there are none. That is so short a span that people can't NOT notice. There is a glut of CGI films. -or an "overabundance" if you like it better that way.

Here is an interesting perspective: If you placed one of the characters from say, the "Iron Giant" next to one of the characters from "Beauty & The Beast" and then next to one of the characters from "The Triplets Of Belleville", it would be clear that they are all different styles from different films.

How many CGI characters being designed today can all inhabit the same scene and not look out of place?

Animation now takes place in one world where everything looks the same, and people realize that. Thats why they frame it negatively. We've lost something.

Steve K. said...

> We'll get a dozen (give or take) in '07. A lot
> of them will do fine.

Doing "fine" B.O-wise is one thing. Making back your money is always a good thing.

How many of these dozen films for '07 will actually be good though? How many will you want to watch over and over? How many will have truly memorable characters? How many will stand the test of time and still be great films in '08, '09, etc?

Here's hoping more than there were in '06!

Benjamin De Schrijver said...

Well, I'd say there is some sort of a glut. I know many people getting annoyed by all the CG features being released. Reporters these days just don't want to do the effort of actually thinking these things through. It's not that it's all animation, it's just that the way things are done now, animation still remains a (mostly) one-genre medium. Both the visuals, as mentioned by Anonymous, and the stories are just too alike. Of course the good films will have an audience. But it kind of feels as if you'd have 12 Steve Martin films in a year. (just picked a random comedian)

What studios don't seem to realize is that you can do different genres WITHIN the "family film" idea. It seems like there's hardly a desire left to simply make good films. As if the studios all want to seem "cool" or that their only goal is to simply make animated films and be a big studio.

Anonymous said...

Animated films are also held to a different standard than live action films in terms of box office and what constitutes "success." One of the articles you linked to listed "Hedge" as a so-so performer with a worldwide box of $335 mil. Huh? over a quarter-billion dollars in box, and it's "so-so?" If a live-action flick did that, they'd have three sequels planned already (see "Pirates of the Carribbean...").

I call it the Lion King/Shrek/Nemo effect. If an animated film doesn't bring in at least $250 mil domestic, it's "so-so." Never mind that the same film will shower money upon the studio later in the form of DVD sales, pay-per-view, cable rentals, broadcast rights, licensed products, etc.

Anonymous said...

there is a "glut" of uncreative studio executives...

there is a "glut" of ill-informed reporters...

Anonymous said...

I'd like to place my order for another "Glut" in 2007.

I'll be looking forward to it.

Anonymous said...

My main point is that the news media clings to the through-line that too many (cgi) animated films is depressing (cgi) animated films' box office take. The through-line doesn't hapen to be true.

What COULD be true is, too many similar/identical/uninspired animated films depress box office. But that isn't the media mantra. It's the simple-minded (and wrong) "too many cgi animated films are depressing box office."

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