Monday, April 18, 2011

L.A. Times Catches On

... but it's sort of hard not to.

... Animation has been increasing as a part of our movie-going diet for a while now. In 2010, animated movies made up fully half of the box-office top 10, the first time that's ever happened. So far this year, the above trio of animated releases opened stronger than movies featuring Justin Bieber, Adam Sandler and a superhero. ... At this point, it's more notable when a new animated movie doesn't win the box office than when it does. ...

What's most striking is that c.g. animated features have a higher success rate than any other genre of film out there.

Take for instance Megamind. This was DreamWorks Animation's underperformer in 2010, taking in $321.5 million around the world. (How to Train Your Dragon took in $494.9 million, and Shrek Forever After made $752.6 million.) These days, if your garden variety live action feature pulls down $300-plus million, sky-rockets go up.

The Times wonders aloud why Hollywood, given the box office performance of feature-length cartoons, isn't making more cartoons than it already is. The largest reason might be that animation has always been the bastard step-child of the movie industry. The power structure is vested in live-action, not fuzzy animals that begin life on storyboards. High-powered agents represent A-list actors, directors and screen-writers, dammit, not board artists and animators.

Given current cash flows, the status quo in Tinseltown could be slowly changing. But it's not going to change without a fight. Keep watching.


Anonymous said...

Since when is "c.g. animated features" a "genre?" isn't.

Anonymous said...

I think animated features are doing so well because a lot of very good stories could only have been made with high-quality animation and cg imagery. Thanks to tremendous advances in technology, some of what we see today couldn't have been made 10-15 years ago. Now there are no limits.

"The Times wonders aloud why Hollywood, given the box office performance of feature-length cartoons, isn't making more cartoons than it already is."

Let's keep it that way. All the recent great animated features have been made by studios that specialize in that art-form, using creative talent that has devoted itself to the art and craft of that art-form.

As soon as Hollywood drags the bandwagon out of the barn so they can all jump on it, that would be the kiss of death. Cranking out product just to cash-in on the cash cow usually marks the beginning of the end. Quality decreases, animation again gets a reputation for creating cheesy crap for kiddies, and the industry takes another nose dive.

And it's time to stop referring to these feature films as "cartoons."

They're not.

They're feature films.

JD said...

Family entertainment is where the money is. The animation industry knows how to entertain to the family and the box office is reflecting it.

Personally, I think the Hollywood bean counters are too afraid to develop something original. So we get old ideas in a new suit that are hit and miss.

As long as animation studios create films that speak to everyone, this trend will continue.

Anonymous said...

You hit it on the head. Family entertainment has been and remains historically the best bang for the buck. Recently it was said that if Rango was more family friendly it would have made much more moola. Specialty films are great too, but they need to work within their budgets for their marketplace.

Anonymous said...

In the audience's mind "CG" is a "genre". They expect certain things from it and buy it for certain reasons.

Floyd Norman said...

The producers have also learned this time around. They know how to close the checkbook.

You won't be seeing any million dollar animators this "Golden Age."

Anonymous said...

Speaking of million dollar animators, did anyone see how much Winnie the Pooh opened to in the European market? Less than 2 million.

No amount of draftsmanship from Disney legends can save that movie. (same for PATF for that matter).

But please, continue to dump on CG animators.

Steve Hulett said...

If CG Animated Features do well, and Hand Drawn Animated Features don't, guess what flavor of feature Hollywood will be making?

Site Meter