Sunday, August 02, 2009

The DOMINANCE of Animation

This doesn't get dwelled on much, so allow me to dwell on it.

Animated product dominates in the marketplace of feature films, and not just a little. It overwhelms it, steamrolls it, slices and dices it. Consider the following:

"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" still on top in its third overseas frame with $42.7 million grossed from 13,200 locations in 64 markets.

... "Aliens in the Attic," a CG special effects-live action adventure comedy ... $492,000 from 360 screens.

... The weekend's No. 2 title was Pixar/Disney's "Up," ... No. 3 was 20th Century Fox's "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," which elicited $22.3 million from 9,244 screens in 68 markets. After five rounds overseas, the Ice Age threequel has drawn a total of $549.7 million, making it the foreign circuit's highest-grossing animation title of all time.

Finishing fifth was producer Jerry Bruckheimer's big-budget "G-Force," which spread its 3D animated wings in 14 new markets in its second weekend of overseas release via Disney. Its gross was $10.9 million overall from 1,615 locations in 15 territories.

The live action-animation hybrid ... opened a close No. 2 in the U.K., crowding the latest "Harry Potter" for the top spot with $4.5 million from 531 screens ...

DreamWorks/Paramount's "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" grossed $3.8 million from 4,815 locations in 63 territories, lifting its overseas cume over six weeks playing the foreign circuit to $422 million.

In Japan, Disney's 2008 title "Bolt" ... finally opened to $2.6 million from 350 screens, pushing the overall overseas cume to $187 million ...

Impressive, yes? Now consider this weekend's domestic box office. Out of the top ten titles, half are either live-action films heavy with animation (the cutely named "live action-animation hybrids") or fully animated features: Harry Potter (#2), G-Force (#3), Aliens in the Attic (#5), Ice Age 3 (#7), Transformers (#10).

Beyond the top ten, there are two fully animated epics stil playing in U.S. and Canadian theaters. Up resides at the 15th position, nudging up against a $300 million gross, while Monsters Vs. Aliens (#33) is within an eyelash of $200 million.

And then there is Bolt (generally considered an under-performer) which will end up with a worldwide gross north of $300 million before all of its theatrical runs are finished.

Add to these numbers the fact that animation's DVD sales have fallen far less in a declining DVD market than its live action cousins, and it's not difficult to see why animation remains a growth industry at the same time that live action retrenches.

The above statistics are why I tell aspiring c.g. artists who pad into my office, wondering aloud if it's "too late" to break into the business, that he trendlines are still going up and the boom times aren't over.

"All you need are the right skill sets and Luck, Talent and Tenacity."

It also helps to not be 58.


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