Thanks to Toon Zone for pointing out this recent article in the New York Times (registration required). I know a lot of us have made plenty of jokes lately as one animated film after another seems to churn out the same plot several times over. (Hey, how about a movie about… some animals! Some displaced animals!)
The NYT article discusses the future of the industry in light of some recent box office flops:
If there is a shakeout and fewer animated movies are made, animators without a brand name or those who do not produce high-quality movies will probably be hurt most.
“There are a lot of movies out there,” said John H. Williams, a producer of “Shrek” and chief executive of Vanguard Animation. “The question is, ‘Who are the people who are going to be getting the funding?’”
I particularly like how they went straight to the industry experts for the skinny:
Natalie Ward, 13, who was out shopping with her grandmother, Bonnie Ward, in Hollywood recently, was unimpressed with the latest offerings. “There are so many movies with animals,” she said, pursing lips tinged blue by the icy neon drink in her hand. “The ones about cows are too, like, I donÃ¢â¬â¢t know Ã¢â¬â boring.”
(It is my dream to someday be quoted in the New York Times declaring something to be “like, I don’t know — boring.” Them noting the color of my lips at the time is completely optional.)
If the industry interests you, the entire article is worth a read. Pixar and DreamWorks look to be “safe” given their size and clout, but smaller filmmakers may not be so lucky. Also discussed is DreamWorks’ recent split from Aardman Animation. Why should that matter to you? Well, it might, if you’re a fan of Wallace and Gromit. If the smaller players in the realm of big-picture animation find themselves on shaky ground, will our favorite canine hero still have a distribution home in the U.S.?
So, on the one hand, look for a bit more diversity in upcoming animated offerings. On the other hand, look for a bit of moving and shaking and maybe a falling away of some of the newcomers to the field (which, in and of itself, could lessen diversity).
Bottom line, it looks like we’ll just have to stay tuned.