Monday, December 15, 2008


Okay, so I guess we won't be packing our bags for c.g. animation work in Atlanta:

"Delgo" earned a measly $511,920 this weekend on 2,160 screens, not even breaking the top ten. That's an average of $237 per screen for the three days. If you figure there were five screenings a day, and assume ticket prices are about $8, that comes out to two people in the theater per showing. By comparison, the Golden Globe-nominated drama "Doubt" earned roughly the same amount of money, but it was only in 15 theaters ...

So the brave littl start up down in peach tree country gets its move completed ... and falls on its keester.

It's like Rocky Balboa getting tangled up in the ropes as he climbs in the ring, and knocking himself out.

There wasn't the sort of marketing budget needed to make a film stand out in the already crowded holiday movie season. ... Another problem was the quality of the movie. Or lack thereof ...

Yesss. The quality.

See, there's a secondary lesson to be learned here. It's not always enough to have spunk, gumption and enthusiasm. You must also have a level of talent that delivers a product that audiences want to see.

It's why Spielberg is a billionaire (well, was a billionaire ...) and Michael Cimino has vanished off the radar screen.


Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for the animation company, but Delgo had really horrible-looking characters in it. The animation (at least in the trailer) was kind of stiff and unconvincing, but that's not as serious a problem. If your characters lack at least visual appeal, you're toast.

Anonymous said...

Good another wannabe studio failed.

These folks spent alot of years making this film.

All of these independent wannabes think if Pixar and Dreamworks can do it so can they.

When will all of these folks learn.

Next up to fail Threshold Digital and there epic movie Food Fight. Another project that has been in production for many years.

I also hope Vanguard goes away.

Enough of these wannabes.

Can we just have an independent studio started and ran by smart people.

Once all of these wannabes come and go we can go back to the usual suspects.

I would rather have fewer stronger studios than several weak studio.

These wannabes give animation a bad name.

Anonymous said...

You sure like the word, "wannabes".

Tim said...

The built in snag for independent animation is that it's so expensive and labor intensive.
In live action you can shoot a "Napoleon Dynamite" or "Sling Blade" for under a million dollars, but that is near impossible in animation... if you want your film to look like your idols.
Smaller films like "Persepolis" & "$9.99" or even "Hoodwinked" can be accomplished, and turn a profit without ruling the cineplex. But then again, those films started with good, compelling stories.
Sub-par live action independent films come and go all the time, and we never hear about them. Animation is a much smaller piece of the production pie, so every failure resonates throughout our industry.
Most movies lose money. Studios & distributors make money on the one or two hits they have each year. All the "Dark Knight" and "Iron Man" cash pays for the "Delgo" investments.
Sadly, whatever money comes in through Delgo's theatrical release will likely not make it to Fathom. The distributors of independent films usually get first cuts to cover prints and advertising. Maybe Fathom will see something from foreign, DVD or VOD.
Either way, it is unlikely that they will find more investors who will tie up so much money for so long to not see any return.

Anonymous said...

>>Good another wannabe studio failed.

I'd rather have a healthy market of several players than a monopoly of just a few. Not to mention the fact that your comments come across as arrogant, gloating, and stupid. I hope I never have to work with you.

Anonymous said...

There is another wannabe studio about to start up in LA. Even in this financial meltdown, they are about to close a deal worth hundreds of millions.

And yet another studio is about to open too (in LA). Slightly smaller scale, but will be financed for a slate of CG features.

And lets not forget Illumination Entertainment (Universal CG division headed by Chris Melandri) that will be creating CG films in LA.

Anonymous said...

staloren on his blog The business of animation:

has been talking about this new "superstudio" that has hundreads of millions of dollars of VC (venture capital) for a long time now. We'll see if that does indeed come to pass. I am really curious as to who is behind this new studio. According to staloren there are good folks behind it. Perhaps we can finally have a potentially viable studio but we do have to see who is behind it.

“Despicable Me” with Steve Carell as one of the voices is the first film out of the gate by Illumination Entertainment but its unclear if they are developing the projects in LA and outsourcing the production, or actually forming a new animation studio in LA.

Universal has already jumped into the CG feature game with a co-production with Framestore to make “Tale of Despereaux” which looks great BTW. Looking forward to seeing it.

To Anonymous
December 16, 2008 7:42:00 AM

I don't consider to myself to be an arrogant person nor gloating or stupid.

Rather than saying that you hope you never have to work with me you would actually like to work for me once you got to know me cause I am always looking out for my crew.

The reason for using the term wannabe "alot" is because these mom & pop places "want to be" pixar and dreamworks.

Personally I don't care how many folks think they can open up an animation studio and be the next dreamworks or pixar.

Obviously it would be great to see more companies that hopefully have their own unique story and art styles instead of trying to copy pixar or dreamworks. Variety is the spice of life.

However I want to see strong viable studios in this industry not just studios in business so people have jobs. Think long term not short term.

I am sick and tired of everyone and their mother who thinks they know how to open up and run a studio who really don't know what the heck they are doing but they decide to open up a studio anyway.

Its a waste of investors money and it gives animation a bad name in general.

Once these fools go away the industry will be better off.

Anonymous said...

"However I want to see strong viable studios in this industry not just studios in business so people have jobs. Think long term not short term."

Running a studio is kinda tough that's why there is pretty much Pixar and DW doing it well. Long term not short, Delgo was in production for quite some time. And yea of course they have to make jobs, you can't pay people with smiles.

You give your kids that advise, "if you can't do it as well as Pixar, don't try at all"?

Anonymous said...

All studios have to start somewhere and almost none of them know what they are doing initially. They have to start somewhere.

There is nothing wrong with Mom and Pop shops because they may get over the hump and become the next Blue Sky, or the next Pixar.

Let them waste investors money. That is what investors do, they take chances. And their due diligence should weed out the truly bad investments. And if it doesn't, that is there problem.

And as far as these "fools" going away. I hope not. These failures are what make the success stories even more impressive.

Anonymous said...

son of a bitch. I wrote this long drawn out post and my word verification ("squit") must not of taken. Damn it. And I closed the window.

What the hell did I say? Crap. Something like this...

This "superstudio" that staloren speaks of. I know something about it.

I don't think the names involved in the company are going to make you jump out of your chair. It is the philosophy of the company and the freedom they will have. These are a few people with oodles of industry experience without layers or even a layer of Executives to oversee every decision. It just so happens that besides the animation careers they've had, they also have business and management skills to put the right people into the right positions. They are also agnostic and not just going to appoint their friends to lead positions. They'll do what's right.

My other point was something like this...

There shouldn't be anything wrong with Mom and Pop shops. No matter if they produce the next Finding Nemo or the next Delgo, they are hiring artists and technicians. This is good. Five "Delgos" produced in 2011 isn't going to ruin animation for everyone else in 2012.

If that were the case, live action features would of been screwed years ago.

"zedne" is my new word verification. Let's see if it works.

Anonymous said...


Yes there is nothing wrong with an independent studio but I don't agree with your statement that its okay if none of them know what they are doing initially.

Independent Folks who start their own studio usually come from other studios so they should know what they are doing before starting their own business.

An no they should waste investors money - thats not the point.

The point is if you don't know what you're doing in the first place without the proper background you have no business starting up a studio.

It looks like Maurer and Adler have no background working at any of the studios. That makes a difference having never worked in a major production environment.

In the case of Food Fight Lawrence Kasanoff is a business man with a live action film background who has no background in Animation and is directing Food Fight. In this case he would have been better off having folks with a background in Anim in both creative and business areas run Threshold Digital. Because he didn't Food Fight has been in production for many many years and will probably flop.

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