Friday, December 12, 2008

Holiday Linkdom

The South rises again ... with toonage:.

Opening Friday on 2,000 screens across the country, “Delgo” was created, produced and distributed by Adler’s Fathom Studios [in Atlanta], a local upstart independent. The hope is that the film’s artistic and commercial success provides the critical mass to sustain Atlanta’s budding animation industry ...

The near-term goal, if “Delgo” is a commercial success, is to plan sequels and other films. “It’s impossible to uproot people from L.A. to Atlanta to make a film, unless you’ve got several in the works. Atlanta can be the next incubator for ideas and creative talent,” Adler enthuses.

Soon we'll be hearing: "Is it all going to India Georgia?"

Then there's the "premium price" structure for 3-D movies:

[DreamWorks Animation's Jeffrey] Katzenberg claims that the format "offers a premium experience and has the consumer paying a premium price." That price - an extra $5 more to watch 3D movies. And starting with Monsters vs Aliens, that price change will be in effect around the country.

Call me a skeptic, but this higher-priced ticket deal only works if the public buys into it. If there's consumer resistance ... like the 3-D version has the crowds drop off while the flat-screen version doesn't .. or a sharp-elbowed competitor undercuts DreamWorks' ticket price ... then this "premium" strategy will collapse of its own weight. Personally, I don't think its a great or viable idea, but I could be wrong.

And like, if 3-D is the hot, premium deal, why this?

Since 3-D advocates consider stereo an enhancement, it would be natural to assume 3-D would always be the preferred format. But this year, Disney chose to submit "Bolt" in 2-D, even though the Mouse House plans on releasing most of its animated features, both from the Walt Disney Animation Studio and Pixar, in 3-D from now on, and its chief creative officer, John Lasseter, is an avowed 3-D buff.

So what's up with that, hmmm? (Answer: Not enough freaking 3-D screens.)

And apparently the DVD market isn't quite what it once was ... but what is?

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc (DWA.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Chief Operating Officer Ann Daly said on Thursday the U.S. recession is having a dramatic impact on industrywide home video sales.

Citing information from the company's distributor and other sources, industrywide overall DVD sales and rentals have declined from last year by about 6 percent, Daly said via Webcast from the company's analyst day in New York.

(On the brighter side, DreamWorks Animation topkick J. Katzenberg believes things are generally coming up roses for DWA, and says so here.)

This blithe opinion from the L.A. Times on the L.A. Film Critics Awards will delight the souls of animation people:

The big surprise of the L.A. Film Critics Assn. awards, which were announced today, was that the critics group gave its best picture award, along with the best picture runner-up, to two of the biggest-grossing movies of the year, "Wall-E" and "The Dark Knight." The move should drive the clown-suit clad Oscar pundits crazy, since "Wall-E," despite being a huge critical favorite, has no chance at an Oscar best picture nomination. (No animated film has ever won that Oscar.) Passions run high at any critics gathering, the LAFCA being no exception. This year's meeting was held at LAFCA President Lael Loewenstein's house, with 39 critics on hand to vote (along with four critics voting by proxy).

And the feature that has no chance for a "Best Picture" nod? The director is pleased to be in the Golden Globes competition.

"WALL-E" director Andrew Stanton had to go online to see the nominations for the animation category, quite a difference from four years when his the category didn't exist at the Globes and his Pixar movie "Finding Nemo" was nominated in the musical/comedy category. Stanton isn't pining for those days but wishes things weren't as segregated today.

"It's nice to know there's a definite place for animation, but it's a little frustrating because with the Foreign Press, if you're in the category, you can't run in any other. Still, it is very exciting to be nominated."

But there are other awards besides the one with the little gold man or globe. For example, across the seas in France they have the Animation Export trophy:

[A]t Monday night's 15th French Film and TV Producers Assn. Awards ... The Animation Export Award went to "Ozie Boo, Learn to Live Together," produced and distributed by Cyber Group Animation, set up in 2005 by former Disney execs Pierre Sissmann and Dominique Bourse.

A star of French animation, the biggest TV toon industry in Europe, "Boo" bested the also nommed "The Fantastic Four," produced by Moonscoop and sold by Taffy Ent., and "Team Galaxy," which is sold by Marathon Intl.

Have a fine weekend. And remember to sleep in.


Anonymous said...

I'm still in shock that the animated movie that everyone seems to hate with all their heart won the L.A. Critics' choice award for best movie.

Maybe it's not as horrible as people think it is? Or more likely - L.A. critics probably just do not count as normal human beings.

On the 3D price hike... I'm with Steve - I'm skeptical this is a good move... especially with the economy the way it is. But I guess we'll see if movies are really recession-proof.

Anonymous said...

"Delgo” was created, produced and distributed by Adler’s Fathom Studios [in Atlanta], a local upstart independent. The hope is that the film’s artistic and commercial success provides the critical mass to sustain Atlanta’s budding animation industry ..."

I'm all for encouraging upstart independent studios , but if "Delgo" is a commercial success I will eat my hat.

As for critical success here are a few of the lead lines from reviews posted on Rotten Tomatoes :

"a lot like watching your computer's graphics card vomit."

"Apparently it took six screenwriters to come up with a screenplay lacking a single good idea."

"It's a good thing I just bought the Wall-E DVD, because I'm gonna need to watch it at least a dozen times to scrub the horrors of Delgo out of my brain."

All of which I could have said just from having watched the trailer for "Delgo" .

(19 reviews - 16 "Rotten" , 3 "Fresh" )

Anonymous said...

Fathom has been working on Delgo for many years.

All of these independent wannabe studios fall into the same trap. If Pixar and Dreamworks can do it so can we. Then YEARS later the movie comes out, tanks and then they go away.

Everyone and their mother is trying to hop on board the CGI train. Most of these wannabes will fail and in the end when the dust settles you'll have the usual suspects: Pixar, Dreamworks etc

There is another studio in LA called Threshold digital which for years has been making a movie called food fight. Still not out yet.

When will these wannabes just go away. They're giving animation a bad name.

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