Sunday, April 01, 2007

Animation Links Carnival

Time once more for weekend links to 'toon news you might have missed.

According to the London Times, Aardman animation seems to have found a new American corporate spouse after its divorce from DreamWorks:

Sony Pictures, the Japanese-owned Hollywood studio, is preparing a tie-up with Aardman Animations, the maker of Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run, The Times has learnt.

The Oscar-winning Bristol-based production company famed for its claymation characters is understood to have agreed a deal with Sony less than two months after its five-film deal with Dreamworks Animation SKG broke down.

Here stateside, with Meet the Robinsons now at a theatre near you, the mainstream media analyzes Pixar's influence (and magic) on the first Disney release in the age of Lasseter-Catmull:

[Meet the Robinsons] was extensively reworked by John Lasseter, the creative chief behind Pixar Animation Studios blockbusters like "Finding Nemo," "The Incredibles" and "Monsters Inc." who now heads both studios' animation programs...

Analysts pegged the film's opening weekend box office at $20 million to $30 million, well below last year's $68 million record for the weekend set by "Ice Age: The Meltdown" or Pixar's "Cars," which debuted last June with $60 million.

Sander Morris Harris analyst David Miller estimated the film cost Disney about $52 million to make and $65 million to market and distribute. He said a $30 million opening weekend should guarantee a profit over the life of the title.

"This is the first time you will see Pixar's influence on a story that had already been done," Miller said. "If the film is successful it will prove to the Street that the $7.4 billion that Disney paid for Pixar is a damn good deal."

As we've noted here earlier, the Disney Platinum series is helping the Mouse House to open its own mint. And Disney has now announced that The Jungle Book will be the next released two-disc isse, debuting this October.

Though TMNT suffered a big drop in its #2 weekend, Martin Grove in the Hollywood Reporter interviews Imagi Prez Thomas Gray about how the flick looks to be a money spinner for WB and the Weinsteins:

...we're just doing what comes naturally for us. [says Gray]. We looked at it and we didn't want to compete with the big boys (like) DreamWorks, Pixar, Blue Sky, Fox and Sony by doing the same kind of films -- these happy talking animal movies -- which has been pretty much everybody's m.o. for the last couple of years. We wanted to take it to another level with a little bit grittier darker superheroes aimed at the gaming market, which is 8 to 18, mostly male -- but we're picking up an enormous amount of females because that is the trend everybody's seeing.

In Japan, the Think Corporation is letting investors jump into its new 'toon investment fund:

TOKYO -- Toon producer Think Corp. plans to launch a limited liability partnership fund between April and June this year to raise coin from corporate investors.

Fund will start with Y2 billion ($17 million) with an investment period of seven to nine years...

Think will invest the coin in project finance, with most of the coin going to toon production, and equity finance, with the main target being toon production houses and other toon related businesses.

"Most funds of this type invest in projects only," explained Think producer Keisuke Inoue. "We believe that by investing in both animation productions and promising small animation studios we can better spread the risks, while increasing the opportunities for profitable synergies."

From three weeks ago (and how did we miss it), the Chicago Sun-Times asks: "Is The Family Guy stupid?"

Lastly, we ran across this website about spiked editorial cartoons. It points out that since 9/11, many newspapers have become much more politically correct (as the link attests...)


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