Tuesday, January 28, 2014

And the Next Blockbuster Is ...

... an animated feature from Warner Bros. (At last!)

... Out last week was the announcement that Walt Disney would be releasing a special “sing-along” version of Frozen into theaters on January 31st, 2014.

What’s amusing is that it’s exactly one week before the debut of Warner Bros.’ The Lego Movie. Now a sing-along version of Frozen in its 11th weekend of release isn’t likely to make much of an impact, as it’s more of a cheap shot along the lines of Disney reissuing The Little Mermaid one weekend before the release of 20th Century Fox's Anastasia back in 1997.

But the move shows both that Disney is in a position to be punking their competitors again, as well as the fact that for the first time in forever (sorry), Warner Bros. Animation is actually a serious competitor. I had thirteen people at my house this Saturday, ages ranging from 2 to 65. Every single one of them wants to see The Lego Movie. ...

As the smaller distributors take their shots at animated films (Hoodwinked from Weinstein Company, The Nut Job from Open Road, Battle For Terra from Lionsgate, etc.) one of the very biggest movie studios around still lacks its own brand and/or identity in the realm of theatrical animation.

In case you didn't know, Warners has opened another animation division, housed on its Burbank lot, to develop theatrical animated features. The Lego Movie isn't out of this new WB incubator, but I think it's an indicator that Warner Bros. wants to be in the theatrical animation business, despite its misfires in the 1990s.

Sure, the company got burned with its hand-drawn product a decade and a half ago, but it doesn't make a lot of business sense to continue sitting on the sidelines while Fox/News Corp, Disney, and Sony vacume up all the gold. Let's face it: the profit margins and successes of competitors have made it imperative to get into animation in a larger and more significant way.

And it looks like the WB is finally doing that.


Unknown said...

Best decision WB made this time around was keeping max howard and frank gladstone out of the picture entirely.

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