Friday, September 07, 2007

The Three-Dimensional Links of Animation

This always struck me as ah, kind of different: A South Korean film with a Los Angeles locale. The flick is burning up Korean box office:

South Korea’s sci-fi monster movie “D-War” continues its box office run in Korea and has reached 8.3 million admissions (grossing about $60 million) as of September 4, according to the film’s distributor Showbox. Director Shim Hyung-rae’s film, budgeted at about $35-70 million making it the country’s most expensive film to date, is now the 5th most popular film of all time at the Korea box office.

It opens stateside the middle of the month...

Since we're on the subject of Asia, here's a global co-development deal now in the process of becoming:

Qingdao Ouya Century (International) Digital Film and Television Co., Ltd., a joint venture between China, France and the US, held a ceremony to kick off nco-production. The cooperation plans to output 2 to 3 animation products each year, and will begin with its first animated film project “Ou Ya Feng Yun” and 26-episode cartoon series “Happy Cat”.

Don't know what kind of traction Happy Cat and Ou Ya Feng Yun will get in the world marketplace, but good luck to them.

The Hollywood Reporter summarizes the major studios' box office track records for summer '07. Whattayaknow? Animation paid a big role in the success of the Top Dog:

Paramount shot to the top of the pack, taking a commanding lead by selling $727.3 million worth of tickets at the boxoffice. With DWA's "Shrek the Third" (the second-highest-grossing film of the summer with $320.7 million) and the DreamWorks/Paramount co-production "Transformers" (third overall with $310.6 million), Paramount was the only studio with two $300 million-plus winners, which handily put it in the lead.

BusinessWeek has a lengthy story on Jeffrey Katzenberg -- DreamWorks Animation honco -- and his ongoing enthusiasm for 3-D:

Using a specially equipped screening room at his Glendale (Calif.) studio—where he shows a U2 concert in 3D and test versions of Shrek the Third—Katzenberg tries to win over theater owners and others. He has also hired top 3D gurus to make his own flicks. That includes Meet the Robinsons 3D supervisor Phil McNally, whose voicemail identifies him as "Captain 3D."

Katzenberg's pitch: 3D can spice up the industry's box office take, which is growing this year by only single digits despite blockbusters like Spider-Man 3 and Transformers. Theaters hope to charge as much as $5 more per ticket for 3D films. And the technology keeps viewers away from DVDs (3D films can't be seen on disc, yet) and thwarts piracy since 3D movies are harder to record.

Daily Variety reports how Sony Pictures Animation is dealing with the ups and downs of the feature animation business:

...Sony's animation numbers look weak compared with the competition, but they haven't had an out-and-out B.O. flop like Warner Bros.' "The Ant Bully." Furthermore, toon pros inside and outside Sony caution not to judge animation grosses, especially Sony's grosses, by the same standards as a live-action release.

Landau explains: "With family product, and particularly with animation family product, DVD sell-through is a much bigger piece of the economic pie. And the continuing life of the movie and the characters in the movie is much greater."

...Sony also gets a break on costs because Imageworks is both a visual effects shop and an animation house. With the two revenue streams, Sony execs say, Imageworks is able to spread its overhead across more projects and therefore charge less for its animation work...

And could there be finger-pointing going on inside the Mouse House over the performance of Ratatouille?...

Although Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille crossed the $200-million mark at the domestic box office over the weekend, some Pixar executives are blaming Disney's marketing staff for failing to create a promotional campaign for the movie that would have pushed it into the top-five for the year

Here's a surprise: Curious George (the series) is a ratings hit:

Quietly, without much fanfare, "Curious George" vaulted to the top of the national ratings among preschoolers 2 to 5...

...The ratings victory also demonstrates the power of nostalgia when it comes to children's fare, said Eileen Espejo, who studies children and the media for Children Now, an advocacy group. Adults, she said, are drawn to the show's educational content and the PBS brand name. (The show also tops the ratings among women with children under 3, according to ratings from last winter.)...

It must be a comfort to all the heirs of the artists who created the Warners menagerie back in the 1930s and 1940s that the Warners characters still generate moolah for Time-Warner. The latest cash creator looks like it will be a kind of Loony-Toons MySpace:

Warner Bros. plans to launch a Web site early next year that will allow users to interact with its cast of animated characters, create personal profiles and watch original online episodes.

The advertising-supported site will be called T-Works and will launch next spring, the company, a division of Time Warner Inc., said Thursday.

Besides serving as a destination for fans of such characters as Tweety Bird, Bugs Bunny and the Flintstones, the site also will allow users to personalize the characters and take them off site to decorate Web pages and profiles on social networking sites such as MySpace...

Maybe you can be one of Bugs's "friends." Have a wonderiffic weekend.


Site Meter