Sunday, April 24, 2011

Animation on the International Front

The Reporter reports:

... 20th Century Fox’s Rio, meanwhile, claimed the weekend’s No. 1 box office spot overseas for the third consecutive round, pushing in the process its foreign gross total past the $200-million mark. ...

Finishing third on the weekend was Universal’s Hop, which landed $10.7 million from 4,400 venues in 53 territories ... Foreign gross total for the Easter bunny title blending animation with live action comes to $47.2 million. ...

When you have a higher quality, animated feature with lovable fuzzy (or feathered) animals, you can open your own mint.

This is good news for Fox and Fox alumni, yes? And Rupert's minions are no doubt pleased that even though Chris Medadandri decamped from News Corp to go make NBC-ComCast-Universal some money, the Blue Sky facility there in the tri-state area goes merrily on without him.

Kung Fu Panda 2 launches on May 24th. With the roll that animated features on on, Paramount and DreamWorks Animation must be expecting Big Things when the second installment of the franchise rolls out.

Add On: Somebody asked how Winnie the Pooh was doing in Britain. The answer is anemically, if this news clip is any indication:

... "Winnie The Pooh" came in at eight ...

Box Office Mojo doesn't yet have any grosses showing for the Silly Old Bear.

It grieves me to say it, but I think the days of $800 million worldwide grosses for hand-drawn animated features is over. The action is on the CG side of the fence.


Anonymous said...

"It grieves me to say it, but I think the days of $800 million worldwide grosses for hand-drawn animated features is over."

Well, that's almost certainly true if Disney keeps on making conservative retread hand-drawn animated features like Pooh. There's no vision there, nothing to captivate a large portion of the movie-going public. What grieves me even more is to observe that it seems as if there is no one in leadership at Disney who has a vision for hand-drawn animation that could even attempt to operate at that level.

(of course the "$800 million gross" creates a false dilemma. Does the $35 million budgeted Pooh need to pull in $800 million to turn a profit ? No. So don't set it up with false expectations to then be perceived as a failure if it doesn't rake in that kind of money. It couldn't , but it doesn't need to. )

Anonymous said...

"It grieves me to say it, but I think the days of $800 million worldwide grosses for hand-drawn animated features is over."

Ummm, Steve, no hand-drawn film has ever grossed $800 million at the worldwide box office. The highest-grossing was The Lion King with $783.8 and the second-highest grossing was The Simpsons Movie with $527 million and that was just four years ago.

Anonymous said...

The highest-grossing was The Lion King with $783.8

Does the term "rounding up" mean anything to you?

Steve Hulett said...

Given the box office grosses that CGI animated features are now racking up, I don't think that entertainment conglomerate will be stampeding anytime soon to make the hand-drawn variety.

I don't like it very much, but I'm not one to deny reality. I see what's going on in the studios, listen to the decisions being made, and face facts:

We're not going to be seeing a lot of hand-drawn features being made in the U.S. of A.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to face the facts when you misrepresent them, Steve. The days of $800 million worldwide grosses for hand-drawn features cannot be over because there never existed such an era to begin with. The highest grossing hand-drawn feature was The Lion King which never even made $800 million, and the second highest-grossing hand-drawn feature made $500+ million and was released just four years ago.

Motion Picture Screen Cartoonist said...


When a Mo-Cap or CG movie flops you and many of the commenters seem to go out of your way to make an apology for the medium: “Don’t blame the tools , don’t blame the medium, it’s about the story and the characters. People didn’t stay away from the movie just because it was Mo-Cap or CG , it was other reasons about the content. CG animation is still alive and well". (which I agree with) but despite your protestations that the apparently permanent decline of hand-drawn animation grieves you , you seem to have joined the ranks of those naysayers who would attempt to blame the medium when it comes to hand-drawn animation as the reason that audiences would stay away from hand-drawn animation movies. If a CG movie flops, but it’s not the fault of CG animation as a medium , then how is that if a Hand-drawn movie flops it is the fault of the medium ? (and thrown up as a reason not to make any more hand-drawn movies ? )

As the business rep for a guild which still supposedly represents hand-drawn animation artists you could make an effort to stop skewing the terms of the discussion by setting up false dilemmas like “the days of $800 million worldwide grosses for hand-drawn animated features are over”.

I'll say it again: on a $35 million budget does 'Winnie the Pooh' need to make anywhere close to $800 million to be deemed a success ? Obviously not. So why phrase it in those terms ?

Anonymous said...

God, some people are sooo damned sensitive. First of all, if you correct for inflation, there were hand-drawn animated features that brought in staggering sums. Snow White is still one of the most financially successful films of all time, as anyone who can convert the economics of that day to today's numbers. Same for Lion King.

And Steve isn't the one creating false dilemmas. You're chagrined that hand-drawn animation is out of favor now. Live with it. But you can blame the executives who make the decisions, you can blame the public who clearly favor CG now, or you can blame your union leadership for calling the current trend what it is.

Yes, Winnie the Pooh doesn't need to make $800 million to be a success. You're correct. Steve never said anything to the contrary. But we won't see multiple studios making hand-drawn features again based on minor movies like Winnie the Pooh turning a slim profit.

When a Mo-Cap or CG movie flops you and many of the commenters seem to go out of your way to make an apology for the medium

This shows you don't really want to have an honest discussion. Mo-cap movies have flopped in general (with a couple of high-profile mo-cap/live-action hybrids), and as a result, no one is doing mo-cap-based animated features right now. Despite whatever apologists you're reading, mo-cap is as out of favor currently as hand drawn.

But you can't equate 'CG' with 'mo-cap.' Hand-keyed CG films have been fabulously successful. You have to look hard for the failures, and the big studios have had staggering success with that technique. That's the trend. As much as someone like you will point to a failure, like the upcoming Hoodwinked 2 will inevitably be, you have to go out of your way to ignore the dozens of monumental CG successes of the last 10 years.

During that same period, the best you can say about any hand-drawn film is that it might have turned a slight profit at the end of the day. You're blaming the messenger because you don't like the message.

Anonymous said...

Pooh needs to gross 87 million worldwide to be considered a success by the studio considering it's budget. It was also made to bring back the charm that the originals had and get away from all these years seeing those characters in cg, as puppets, and as preschool learning characters.
Disney is trying to reclaim the franchise. It's not expecting it to blow away the box office. Go see it, it's adorable and charming!!!

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