Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Super Heroes in Animation

It all started with the Fleischer brothers' "Man of Steel" shorts, just before their Florida studio crashed and burned on the front edge of World War II. But the legacy and sagas continue:

An animated adaptation of Frank Miller’s genre-defining Batman story The Dark Knight Returns is rumored to be in the works. This comes just months after it was announced that another Miller work, Batman: Year One, is also set to head straight to DVD courtesy of Warner Bros. Animation. ...

[Batman: Year One], the 12th animated feature in the successful series from Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation will be directed by Lauren Montgomery and Sam Liu, who previously collaborated on Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. ...

Disney and Time-Warner, of course, are now the keepers of every Super Hero franchise worth having. Disney has the Marvel treasure chest; Time-Warner has the gold mine known as D.C. Comics.

The Bruce Timm team over at Warner Bros. Animation has been doing direct-to-little-silver-disk features for various caped crusaders for years and years, with fine financial results. Unfortunately, the silver disk business has passed it's peak, although animated titles continue to pull down large amounts of money.

I think the time will come when Time-Warner and Disney will wake up to the idea that CGI super-hero movies, cloaked with 3-D, generous production budgets and animation in the style and quality of, say, Tangled, could well make our friendly entertainment conglomerates potfuls of cash.

The franchises, production elements, and copyright ownerships are all in place. We'll see if it ever happens.


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