Thursday, April 18, 2013

The New Diz Co.

Which is none other than the once cartoonless 20th Century Fox.

Fox chairman Jim Gianopulos hailed his studio as the new "dominant player in animation" on Thursday, telling exhibitors that the combination of its in-house animation studio, Blue Sky, and its new distribution partner, DreamWorks Animation, had catapulted Fox to the front of the class.

While Pixar has yet to slip with a single film at the box office, there is no question Fox has staked out a leading position in terms of quantity of successful films. As the Fox chief was quick to point out at CinemaCon, the two most successful animated franchises of all-time, "Ice Age" and "Shrek," now reside under the same roof.

With an eye toward the global box office, the studio has positioned itself as a family entertainment juggernaut and Gianopulos described animation as a "cornerstone" of the studio's success. ...

You've got to give Rupert and his minions credit.

They're the only major entertainment conglomerate that has made the decision to out-Disney Disney. And they've pretty well succeeded. Examples?

* Fox News Corp is the only company that has successfully built a block of prime-time animated shows*.

* Fox News Corp now has two feature animation studios under its wing, the third entertainment conglomerate to do this. (The first was Time-Warner, which owned Turner Feature Animation and Warner Bros. Feature Animation for a few years in the middle nineties. Both divisions were shuttered later in the decade.)

* Fox News Corp is expanding its cable animation presence, an area of distribution in which Diz Co. and Time-Warner have been dominant.

* Fox News Corp will be releasing more animated features in 2013 than Disney.

But Fox isn't stupid, and can read the profit margins for various movie genres as well as anybody. The company knows that animated features make the most money. So why wouldn't they want to be in the business?

* Fox is the only major with an animation contract with the Writers Guild of America, West. The other majors avoid the WGAw like Superman avoids Kryptonite, but it's paid off big time for Fox.


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