Saturday, August 29, 2009

Overseas Toonage ...

... is percolating along quite nicely.

Disney is having a noteworthy late-summer stretch, with three films hitting the top 10 chart. The studio's 3-D guinea pig-themed toon "G-Force" placed No. 3 for the frame, grossing $9.1 million from 2,508 runs in 22 territories for an international cume of $54.4 million and worldwide total of $161.6 million.

Mouse House and Pixar's "Up," which rolled out slowly over the summer and now begins to expand in a major way, came in No. 4. The stereoscopic 3-D toon grossed $8.7 million from 2,237 playdates in 19 territories for an international cume of $142.3 million and a worldwide haul of $431.1 million. (The film is at the end of its domestic run.) ...

"Up" hopes to follow the pattern of 20th Century Fox's stereo 3-D toon "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," which has grossed a boffo $616.4 million this summer, surpassing Disney-Pixar's "Finding Nemo" to become the top grossing animated film of all time internationally. Worldwide total is now $809 million.

All of which explains this.

... [N]ervous Hollywood studio executives are trying a little bit of everything in an effort to weather, and maybe rise a little bit above, these uncertain economic times ...

[A] bevy of animated projects, including "9," "Astroboy," ... "Planet 51" and 3D re-releases of "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2"; and stars including George Clooney ("Men Who Stare at Goats"), Charlize Theron ("The Road"), John Travolta and Robin Williams ("Old Dogs") and Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side") ... [also] Wes Anderson ("Fantastic Mr. Fox"), Robert Zemeckis ("A Christmas Carol"), even rookie Drew Barrymore ("Whip It") ...

Among the more anticipated offerings are the post-apocalyptic hero tale "9" (Sept. 9); a re-imagination of the pioneering Japanese anime series "Astro Boy" (Oct. 23), with Freddie Highmore as the world's most powerful pre-adolescent robot and Nicolas Cage as his creator/father, Dr. Tenma; and "Planet 51" (Nov. 20), set on a planet where a visiting astronaut discovers little green men leading a pretty nice life.

Not to mention Cloudy with Meatballs from Sony, coming along September 19, and two animated features for Christmas: The Princess and the Frog, and Alvin and the Chipmunks: the Squeaquel.

Maybe when nervous Hollywood execs are releasing more 'toons thn live-action, the genre will get respect.

Nah. Never gonna happen.


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