Monday, September 18, 2017

Animated Box Office

There are multiple animated features in the marketplace (though some just barely), and several live-action/animated movies. Their domestic and worldwide totals as of yesterday:


Leap! (#8) -- $18,705,564 -- $102,615,533

Despicable Me 3 (#13) -- $261,094,650 -- $1,015,427,005

The Nut Job 2 (#18) -- $28,093,664 -- $38,978,799

Cars 3 (#26) -- $152,279,065 -- $357,326,296

Captain Underpants (#44) -- $73,814,428 -- $104,736,260

Boss Baby (#105) -- $174,979,567 -- $498,846,458


Spider-man: Homecoming (#39) -- $330,245,988 -- $861,245,988

War For The Planet Of The Apes (#21) -- $145,861,747 -- $431,967,715

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (#50) -- $389,804,217 -- $863,405,082

A scan of the list shows why super hero flicks and animated features keep getting made, and then made some more. Spider-Man and Guardians weigh in north of $800 million; Despicable Me 3 has grossed over a billion and Boxx Baby has made half a billion.

Cartoons and semi-cartoons have high profit margins, which is what our fine, entertainment conglomerates are seeking. They're not in the business of content creation as a philanthropic exercise, after all. (And this coming weekend, Warner Bros. will blast The LEGO Ninjago Movie into the marketplace. Nobody worries about animated features cannibalizing each other anymore. (That's so 2008. ...)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

European Union Cartoonage

The European continent is getting focused on how to keep its animation industries not only humming, but growing.

... A new and long-mooted E.U. Preferential Animation Support Plan ... identifies promotion, financing and retaining talent in Europe [as] some of the priorities for E.U. action.

It comes as Europe’s animation sector, viewed from the broadest of timelines, has certainly registered growth. 76 animated features were produced in Europe over 1984-1998, 361 over 1999-2013. European toon movies sold 20 million admissions during the first period, 220 million during the second. ... Animation sells better by far than other European film products, as the territorial sales reach of recent European hits. ...

Europe needs to encourage gifted European animators to return and open their own studios while there is still a “skills gap” in storytelling. ... The Plan added that European animation needs brand recognition, including investment in promotion. ...

Europe has a long history of creating animated shorts and features. France has been a hotbed of activity, as has Britain, as have some other countries. There is production done for the global market (think the Illumination Entertainment features from France) and animated effects for live-action that gets done in the United Kingdom (think the Disney remake of The Jungle Book and visual effects for various action-adventure and sci-fi pictures.

Britain and France offer government subsidies, which is why our fine entertainment conglomerates beat a path to their doors ... as they beat a path to Georgia, British Columbia, Ontario, etc. (The lure of Free Money is difficult to resist.)

Home-grown European features are less expensive than their U.S. counterparts, and (mostly) get exported to Mexico, South America, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia where they earn steady money, but seldom gross amounts that are off the charts. Seldom do they get wide distribution in the U.S. of A., but because production costs are low, they make tidy profits. One home-grown example: Tad, the Lost Explorer (shown up top) was released in 2012. Costing 7-8 million Euros, it earned a world gross of 45 million Euros, successful enough to trigger a sequel. This would be chump change for an American animated feature, but bountiful for a lower-budget European specimen.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Domestic Box Office

There remains two animated feature in the Big Box Office Ten:


1.) It (NL/WB), 4,103 theaters / $51M Fri. (includes $13.5M previews) /3-day cume: $103M to $108M / Wk 1

2.) Home Again (OR), 2,940 theaters / $3.1m Fri. (includes $300k previews) /3-day cume: $8.6M / Wk 1

3.). Hitman’s Bodyguard (LG), 3,322 theaters (-48) / $1.37M Fri. / 3-day cume: $4.86M (-54%) / Total cume: $64.9M / Wk 4

4.). Annabelle: Creation (NL/WB), 3,003 theaters (-355) / $1.2M Fri. / 3-day cume: $3.8M (-49%) / Total cume: $96M / Wk 5

5.) Wind River (TWC), 2,890 theaters (+288) / $963K Fri. / 3-day cume: $3.3M (-47%) / Total cume: $25M / Wk 6

6.). Leap! (TWC), 2,691 theaters (-14)/ $545K Fri. / 3-day cume: $2.5M (-48%) / Total cume: $15.9M / Wk 3

7.) Dunkirk (WB), 2,110 theaters (-642) / $542K Fri. / 3-day cume: $2M (-53%) / Total cume: $183.1M / Wk 8

8.) Spider-Man: Homecoming (SONY/MARVEL), 1,657 theaters (-379) / $515K Fri. / 3-day cume: $1.9M (-47%) / Total cume: $327.6M / Wk 10

9.) Logan Lucky (BST), 2,167 theaters (-808) / $506K Fri. / 3-day cume: $1.7M (-61%) / Total cume: $25.1M / Wk 4

10.). The Emoji Movie (SONY), 1,450 theaters (-658) / $197K Fri. / 3-day cume: $919K (-63%) / Total cume: $82.4M / Wk 7

Neither Leap nor The Emojoi Movie are setting turnstiles ablaze with their box office grosses. That honor would go to this cartoon:

Illumination/Universal’s Despicable Me 3 has made the Gru-vy leap past the $1B worldwide box office mark. With Thursday’s grosses, the Kyle Balda/Pierre Coffin-helmed pic has taken $741.4M at the international box office and $259.05M domestically. ...

There have been two other billion-dollar movies in 2017: the well-loved car epic The Fate of the Furious and a faithful remake of an animated classic, a movie entitled Beauty and the Beast (Let's hope they cut* the original crew in on some of the massive take, since animation artists created the blueprint from which the remake was constructed).

And it's good to keep in mind that the one billion-dollar summer movie from last year was the animated Finding Dory. And the billion dollar winners from the summer of '15? The partially-animated Jurassic World and fully animated Minions.

* I'm joking, of course. This is Hollywood were talking about. The boys and girls at the top share the wealth with nobody unless there is a .357 Magnum pointed to their heads.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Work Around Town

I'm out of the cartoon biz (retired and gone fishing), but not out of knowledgable contacts who know what TV projects are being made where. Also too, there is the internet. That's always helpful.

Cartoon Network

Powerpuff Girls

Ben 10

Mighty Maja-Swords

Steven Universe

Clarence (wrapping up)

We Bare Bears

Ok-Ko Lets Be Hero's

Splittin' Rent (aka "Close Enough" -- see Adult Swim)

Summer Camp Island

Apple and Onion

Craig of the Creek

Note that CN is using more freelance board artists, which has its issues.

Adult Swim

Close Enough (aka Splittin' Rent)

Victor & Valentino

Infinity Train

Tiggle Winks

Warner Bros. Animation


Be Cool Scooby Doo

Scooby Doo Wild West

Lego Scooby Doo

(There are a plethora of Scoobs.)

Lego Justice League



Justice League Action (wrapped-waiting for pick up)

Mike Tyson Mysteries

Teen Titans Go! (finishing up)

DC Superhero Girls

Green Eggs and Ham

Wacky Racers

New Scooby Doo series (headed up by Chris Bailey)

Young Justice

Lego Movie sequel


Micronauts (produced in Ireland)

Stretch Armstrong (finishing up)


Bunsen is a Beast (Butch Hartman)

Sponge Bob

The Loud House

Harvey Beaks (ending)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (reboot)

Wally Kazam (ending)

Shimmer and Shine

Pinky Malinky

Glitch Tech

Hey Arnold Movie

Rocko's Modern Life

Henry Danger (animated series)

Disney TV Animation

Micky's Roadster Racers

Star vs The Forces of Evil

Puppy Capers

Sophia the First (wrapping up)

Future Worm


Duck Tales

Milo Murphy's Law (Dan & Swampy)

Wicked World

The Lion Guard (Disney Jr. "Baby Lion King")

The Three Caballeros

Muppet Babies

Country Club

Big Hero Six

Amphibio-land (Kim Robertson)

Elena of Avalor

Dreamworks Animation TV

Veggie Tales

Mr. Peabody and Sherman

Rocky and Bullwinkle

King Julian

Dino Trucks

Puss in Boots




Dragons Jr (young viewer)

Harvey Girls (Aliki)

Capt. Underpants

Spirit Riding Free


Boss Baby


Starz - Film Roman

(Sold to Lions Gate)

Rough Draft

New Matt Groening show

Mega Man


Costume Quest (for Amazon)

Paramount Animation

Gnomeo and Juliet: Sherlock Gnomes

Amusement Park

The Spongebob Movie 3

The Loud House Movie

Paramount Animation has two movies schedule for 2019, the long gestating Amusement Park and the third installment of "Spongebob", which has seen its production schedule start and stop a couple of times. My info is that "SB 3" is now on hiatus.

Bento Box

Bob's Burgers


Fox Animation (on Alameda and Wilshire)

Family Guy

American Dad

The Simpsons


Avengers Assemble

Guardians of the Galaxy


Titmouse/Robin Red Breast

Moon Beam


Super Jail

The Venture Brothers

Nico and the Sword of Light (Amazon)

Big Mouth (Netflix)


Skylanders Academy (union freelance only)


ABC Mouse (Flash)

Star Burns Industries

Rick and Morty (for Adult Swim - Rick and Morty LLC)


Shadow Machine

Bo Jack Horsemen

Dad Boner

Six Point/Six Point 2

Apollo Gauntlet (for Adult Swim)

Star Chaser pilot

Walt Disney Animation Studios

Wreck-It Ralph 2

Frozen 2


Wild Canary

Sheriff Callie's Wild West

Puppy Capers

Bureau of Magic

Lost in Oz

Stupid Buddies Stoodio

Robot Chicken

Buddy Thunderstruck



Leodoro Productions

F is for Family

Reel FX

Various development work


Alvin and the Chipmunks

Curious George

Dream East Pictures

Magic Deer(ended)

Illumination Entertainment Studios

Secret Life of Pets 2


Rough Draft

Clash of Clans (YouTube) season 1 (ending)

Disenchantment (Matt Groening)

Animation continues to thrive in Los Angeles, but there is increasing competition for some job categories. Studios continue to corral costs where they can, and "New Media" work continues, with increases in production for "subscription video on demand" (new media) down the road. (As always, the list above is not totally comprehensive. Feel free to report mistakes and gaps. I'm not omniscient.)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Principle Photography

And the cash registers go ka-ching! as the vault gets dipped into more thoroughly.

The lamp has been rubbed and the genie is out. Will Smith, who plays the wish-granting Genie in the forthcoming live-action adaptation of Aladdin posted a picture on Facebook with fellow cast members Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, and Marwan Kenzari to announce that shooting for the Disney movie has commenced. ...

There will be two new songs written by Menken and Oscar and Tony Award-winning songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

What was good in 1992 will be better in 2018 ... or whenever it's coming out. And when I say "better", I mean higher grossing. Because that's what this is about, right?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Goings And Goings

Some people leave Cartoonland voluntarily (we assume) ...

Animation veterans Penney Finkelman Cox and Sandra Rabins are departing Original Force Animation, two years after helping the Chinese digital animation studio expand into Hollywood.

The duo announced their departure Friday, noting that they wish to return to producing after overseeing Original Force’s animated comedy “Duck Duck Goose.” ...

Penney and Sandra have been in the game for a long time. They were executives at Disney back during the Eisner-Katzenberg era, then execs and DreamWorks, and then at Sony Pictures Animation. They were instrumental in setting up Original Force's Culver City studio twenty-four months ago.

But then there are other resident of CL who don't. ...

Two-time Emmy winner Alf Clausen has been fired from “The Simpsons” after 27 years of providing music for Bart, Lisa, and company.

Clausen told Variety that he received a call from “Simpsons” producer Richard Sakai that the company was seeking “a different kind of music” and that he would no longer be scoring the longtime Fox hit.

You betchya. The show supervisors want to go in a new direction ...and that direction is "cheaper".

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Four Out Of Twelve

As of yesterday, there were four animated titles among the top twelve movies at the American box office. Sure, theatrical activity is sleepy right now, but four out of twelve tells us something, doesn't it?

Animated Box Office Performers

#6 -- Leap -- $7,967,048 -- (world total: same)

#8 -- The Emoji Movie -- $76,882,866 (world total: $144,582,866)

#9 -- The Nut Job 2 -- $22,830,259 (world total: $25,686,749)

#12 -- Despicable Me 3 -- $254,812,180 (world total: $972,856,686)

And below those four in the Dandy Dozen:

Cars 3 -- $149,083,064 (world total: $325,296,867)

Captain Underpants -- $73,495,941 (world total: $101,049,074)

The Boss Baby -- $174,943,931 (world total: $498,079,122)

Sadly, the Weinstein brothers have yet to crack the code for a successful animated feature.

Chris Meledandri, on the other hand, figured it out long ago. (Despicable Me 3 is outperforming Cars 3 by a wee bit.)