It’s completely straightforward… maybe

I’m not an industry pundit, by any stretch of the imagination. (I know, you’re shocked. With a name like The Toy Box Mommy you expected me to be a big player in the field, rather than a mom who has allowed her kids to watch too much television.) Anyway, sometimes I have opinions on things (again, I can see the shock) and sometimes I just have to sit back and watch people with more information and experience than me battle it out.

This is one of those times.

The argument is an interesting one; first Jim Hill made some sweeping generalizations about Pixar films while directing folks to this survey that Pixar is conducting. As for me, I was too busy trying to read Hill’s piece inbetween all of the oversized graphics to really grasp what he was getting at.

Next, The Animation Guild took Hill to task for his comments, deconstructing his points systematically. The dry zingers were the best:

One handy explanation is that Mulan and Brother Bear (not to mention Lilo and Stitch) were done in the Florida studio and the artists therein were further away from the horrid West Coast suits. Made all the difference.

Ah, message to Jim? Those suits? They flew into Orlando all the time. (There’s an airport.) And they had lots of interaction with Orlando via media conferencing (it’s now all the rage.)

The conclusion may not thrill those who want easy answers when it comes to forecasting movies’ success, but it sounds spot-on to this layman (laymom?):

Here’s the problem with easy, glib theorizing. It works until it doesn’t. And the evidentiary graphs only work if you start them at the right place. (Like, there’s no point in showing how The Rescuers and Fox and the Hound were big grossers for their time, way back in ’77 and ’81. It blows the neat down-up-down storyline because the two features that followed it (Black Cauldron, Great Mouse Detective) were relatively low grossers before the trend-line nosed up again.)

So here’s my theory (or as Uncle Karl Rove might put it: “The theory”).

Every feature film is filled with its unique strengths and weaknesses. Some audiences like some features better than others, so some features make more money than others.

And trend lines always revert to the mean. Until they don’t.

Well, that clears that up.

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