Sunday, November 18, 2007

Animation Bops Along Overseas

Beowulf topped box office lists in foreign lands the same as it did here at home:

"Beowulf" conquered the overseas box office this weekend, with a solid (but hardly blockbuster) $17 million, followed by "American Gangster," which nabbed an impressive $14 million in fewer playdates.

Meanwhile, Disney-Pixar's "Ratatouille" continued to cook, "The Bourne Ultimatum" is still macho, but "Lions for Lambs" did a fast fade in its sophomore session (falling 61% in its second week in the U.K., for example) ...

Remy continues to under-perform his way to sizable grosses. Whether or not Beowulf turns a profit with its sizable production budget and advertising budget remains to be seen.

I think we can give up hope on The Ten Commandments.


Anonymous said...

I was originally intrigued by wanting to see this film. But the more I see of this film, the less i want to really see it at all.

strange but true.

Anonymous said...

I saw BEO over the weekend - and was blown away - this is a ground breaking film in many ways. I know that some on this site will hold their noses because it was mo-cap based, but those who do must also hold their noses at animated films that relied on film life action reference - like "Snow White" to capture their performances. The bottom line is this - at the close of the film I sat an watched the names of 55 animators roll past - 55 gainfully employed animators...

Anonymous said...

another schill from the mocap industry.

BTW- I think you meant 55 spline tweakers. Not animators.

Anonymous said...

Seems like the Academy differs from the opinion stated above - BEO qualifies for Best Animated Film consideration.

"another schill" - typical.

I am sure if on were to search the archives they'd find simmilar posts from 2D animators concerning 3D projects. "Flavor of the week" and all that jazz. In any event 55 artists were employed for years on "Beowulf".

This type of snobbery is at best unprofessional - at worst divisive and immature. The more projects that meet with box office success the better, this is a tide that raises all boats.

Anonymous said...

wonder how they 'mocapped' the dragon?!?! U think there were animators involved on that?

I had animator friends working on it. So , yeah, animators were involved.

And, btw, if you're impressed by technical achievements like, vapor or convincing water, then Beo has plenty of that. They did achieve very convincing skin too.

I'm more interested in whether its' a compeling story, character arcs, etc. The acting was awfull. Very flat and stiff. A couple of scenes had some good acting with lots of nuance, but they were were few and far between.

The dragon sequence was amazing though. Nice demo reel material for whoever did it.


Anonymous said...

oh damn. the academy said its so. all heed the almighty academy's opinion.

Anonymous said...

"oh damn. the academy said its so. all heed the almighty academy's opinion"

People vote with box office dollars, Beowulf did well. The Academy is open to new technology and techniques - unlike some - and, like it or not, their opinion carries weight.

You have to wonder why someone would be so bitter? I don't spit venom when an animated film does well regardless of how it was created. As someone up there said, this tide raises all ships. You'd think that an artist, well - a mature artist, would welcome success knowing that it means more films will find a green light. If an artist does not like a technique - they don't have to work with it - but don't bad mouth those that do. Don't wish them ill or call them names. Motion capture is a tool, like live action reference.

Anonymous said...

I somewhat agree with anonymous anti-motion capture guy up top.

Animators tend to be defensive when someone applies the term "animation". Obviously the last commenter has a different opinion, but most animators don't consider motion capture true animation. Just like we wouldn't consider rotoscoping to be animation either.

There are true animators working in motion capture because well, they may need to for whatever reason. However, I guarantee any real animator worth their salt would prefer working from start to finish on their own work, not modifying something grabbed by markers.

Anonymous said...

btw, I dont think the academy cares squat about animation one way or another.

Anonymous said...

I know there are a lot of insecure animators, but give it a break. If nothing else this might open the door for features that are more mature and not about cute fuzzy animals that have the same contrived Pixar storyline over and over.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a problem with motion capture per se--it can, and will, be used to create some very interesting films. It is indeed a tool that, in the right hands, can yield effects that cannot be easily achieved any other way.

What I DO object to, however, is having it be referred to as "animation". It is not. It is its own beast. Even Zemekis agrees with this point.

Anonymous said...

A motion captured movie is animated in the eyes of the public and the academy. However, what is blasphemy is when people in the industry call it "animation". There is a difference in my eyes between animated and animation.

Let the public and the academy refer to it as an animated movie. It is. But the movement is not animation. it is performance CAPTURE. Big difference. I don't care if "animators" noodle around with the splines or keyframes.

As far as the insecure animators. Not insecure. Just proud of what animation really is. Motion capture is not.

Anonymous said...

28 million is kinda weak isn't it? Polar Express opened with even less, but I don't think Beowulf is going to have Holiday legs like Polar did.

Since they obviously have animators on hand, why don't they get them to tweak the faces a bit instead of leaving them lifeless?

Anonymous said...

Where's the Robert Zemeckis that directed "Back To the Future"?!?

I miss that guy!!

(I did like "Cast Away", and "Forrest Gump" though)


narkspud said...

>>Seems like the Academy differs from the opinion stated above - BEO qualifies for Best Animated Film consideration. <<

Nope. It hasn't qualified yet, only been submitted. A lot of the MSM reporting about Beowulf has gotten it wrong.

FWIW, this whole "is it animation" argument strikes me as potato potahtoe, Coke or Pepsi, dunk or sprinkle. WHO CARES? I thought we were here to entertain people, not to set the criteria for membership into some secret "artistic purity" Skull and Bones club.

If you don't want to work in motion capture, don't. If you don't want to call it animation, fine. If you don't like Beowulf, great (and I don't blame you). But if you think for one second you get to be arbiter over how people make and/or market their movies (especially based on semantic arguments), I'm afraid you're doomed to disappointment.

As for Academy nominations, it's the Academy's show, and they can nominate whoever the hell they want.

Unknown said...

Just FYI Beowulf HAS qualified for submission and there is no doubt that it could be nominated if it rates high enough with the noiminating committee.
The only film in question, I believe, is Alvin. If it passes muster this could be a huge problem for the category and allow the Garfield and Scooby-doo type of movies into the category. The only plus to these films being deemed acceptable will to possibly increase the actual nominations from 3 to 5.
It doesn't seem likely to pass muster IMO, but there's little doubt that it won't be nominated even if it does.

Justin said...

I saw Beowulf last week and really enjoyed the film. It was nice first of all to see a more adult themed animated movie. Hopefully it will open the door to less "family friendly" animated films.

I thought the performance capture added a lot of subtlety to the body movements of some of (but not all of) the characters, but the facial animation was very inconsistent. Wiglaf had some very good moments, but the Queen was horrible. Beowulf himself was sometimes up and sometimes down. This technology is going to need to improve a lot more and they need to find the right mix of performance capture for nuances vs. hand animation for emotion.

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