Sunday, July 14, 2019

Super Heroes Rule

... so what's new?

THREE DAYS OF GROSSES

1) Spider-Man: Far From Home -- 4,634 -- $45.3M (-51%) -- $274.5M

2) Toy Story 4 -- 4,210 (-330) -- $20.7M (-39%) -- $346.3M

3) Crawl -- 3,170 -- $12M -- $12M (1st weekend)

4) Stuber -- 3,050 -- $8M -- $8M (1st weekend)

5) Yesterday -- 2,755 (+141) -- $6.75M (-33%) -- $48.3M

6) Aladdin -- 2,557 (-201) -- $5.8M (-21%) -- $331.4M

7) Annabelle 3 -- 3,209 (-404) -- $5.55M (-41%) -- $60.7M

8) Midsommar -- 2,707 -- $3.55M -- (-46%) -- $18.4M

9) Secret Life of Pets 2 -- 2,320 (-526) -- $3.1M (-34%) -- $147.1M

10) Men In Black 4 -- 1,612 (-1,104) -- $2.2M (-41%) -- $76.4M

The three strongest holds weekend to weekend belong to Aladdin (the remake of an animated feature), Secret Life of Pets 2 (animated feature), and Toy Story 4 (also too an animated feature).

Global totals for feature cartoons? Toy Story 4 has now earned $771,069,574; Secret Life of Pets 2 is now at $298,837,185 in total grosses; and Aladdin is closing in on a cool billion with $960,189,720

And the new animated version of The Lion King is off to a robust start in China: $54.7 million on its first weekend.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Cartoons and Streaming

The name of the game for Subscription Video On Demand ? ...

... More dramas, more comedies, more thrillers, more fantasy-adventure series, more dating shows, more game shows, more cooking shows, more travel shows, more talk shows, more raunchy comedies, more experimental comedies, more family comedies, more comedy specials, more children’s cartoons, more adult cartoons, more limited series, ... etc. ... etc. ... etc.

Animation figures bigly in SVOD because a) kids watch it (and stick around as they morph into teenagers), b) cartoons encompass any number of genres, including dramas, comedies, science fiction (etcetera) and c) cartoons are cost efficient and ever-green.

Right now, streaming is in a growth mode and different entertainment are jumping into it. But as the New York Times points, out, the costs for setting up your own steaming gold mine is rising rapidly and is now in the billions of dollars.

If the business of streaming entertainment onto smart phones, lap tops and home flat screens the size of small billboards is like almost every business that's come before it, then there will be consolidation. And soon after that, ossification.

Happily for animation, it will be a major part of streamed content even after a more sterile and unimaginative environment has kicked in.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Flintstone! Again!

The Flintstones was ground-breaking in many ways. It was the first prime-time animated series, the first "adult" television cartoon (Barnie and Fred plugged ciggies), Hanna-Barbera's first prime-time hit.

(It was also a rip-off of The Honeymooners ... and Jackie Gleason later regretted that he didn't sue Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera for their back teeth, but I digress.)

NOW, however, The Flintstone looks as if it will add new episodes to the 166 originals already done.

Warner Bros. Animation and Elizabeth Banks’ Brownstone Productions are teaming up for a new “Flintstones” series, Variety has learned exclusively.

The project, which is in early development, is described as a primetime animated adult comedy series based on an original idea featuring characters from “The Flintstones.” The series will be produced by Warner Bros. Animation. ...

Every frew years, a bright young animation talent makes a pitch for a new Flintstone series. beyond the 166 produced for night-time viewing. And of course, there have been new Flintstone episodes in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. There have been live-action Flintstone features and made-for-television animated Flintstone features.

So new Flintstones in the second decade of the new millenium? Sure, why not?

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Cupheads

Now that the Mouse is doing its own thing with streaming on the World Wide Web, Netflix will have to get their animated entertainment from other providers ...

Netflix and King Features Syndicate, a part of Hearst Entertainment and Syndication, are bringing the massively popular indie platforming game Cuphead to the streaming platform with the new animated series The Cuphead Show!

Cuphead, developed and published by indie game maker Studio MDHR, launched in 2017 to mass critical acclaim. The game features hand-drawn animations inspired by the classic Fleischer cartoons of the 1930s (and also offers up a hefty challenge for players). The game has sold over 4 million copies and won the best independent game award at the 2017 Game Awards and a BAFTA Games award for its music. ...

That a retro cartoon is getting a sizable order from Netflix something positive about the power of hand-drawn animation. (SOMEbody is watching all those old Mickeys and Silly Symphonies on the internet ...)

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Box Office Fireworks

Over the holiday weekend, ticket sales are ka-BOOMing. ...

THREE DAYS OF GROSSES

1) Spidey Far From Home -- 4,634 -- $87M-$93M -- $177M-$184M (1st weekend)

2) Toy Story 4 -- 4,540 (-35) -- $34M (-43%) -- $306.3M

3) Yesterday -- 2,614 (+11) -- $10.5M (-38%) -- $36.6M

4) Annabelle 3 -- 3,613 -- $9.4M (-54%) -- $49.8M

5) Aladdin -- 2,758 (-477) -- $7.5M (-26%) -- $320.7M

6) Midsommar -- 2,707 -- $6M -- $10.4M (1st weekend)

7) Secret Life of Pets -- 2,846 (-507) -- $4.5M (-38%) -- $140.5M

8) Men In Black 4 -- 2,716 (-947) -- $3.7M (-44%) -- $72.1M

9) Avengers: Endgame -- 1,985 (-40) -- $3.1M (-49%) -- $847.9M

10) Rocketman -- 1,409 (-594) -- $2.6M (-32%) -- $89M

Aladdin has now taken in $905m worldwide, and Toy Story 4 has collected $570m in total box office receipts. Sadly, the weak sibling is Pets, which has managed to acquaire a relatively piddling $237.5m on a global basis. (Yikes!)

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Last Of The Golden Age Artists

Year by year, the participants in animation's formative era drop overboard ...

Milton Quon, an animator who worked on such Disney classics as Fantasia and Dumbo, has died. He was 105.

Quon died June 18 of natural causes at his home in Torrance, California, his son, artist Mike Quon, told The Hollywood Reporter. One of the last living artists who worked at Disney during its Golden Age of Animation, he was "drawing right up until his last days." ...

Mr. Quon was a graduate of Chouinard Art Institute, and like a lot of Chouinard alumni, he went to Disney's in thelate 1930s because the Depression was on and the studio was hiring. He worked as an animation assistant befoe World War II, then headed up WDP's publicity department after the war.

Milton Quon left the House of Mouse in the early fifties to become art director of a nation advertising agency. (I would guess that one of the reasons for his departure was that advertising agencies paid considerably more than Disney did in the early fifties, when the studio had a reputation for paying low wages to most of its employees.)

As far as I know, there are no animators left from the ear of Snow White, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Bambi, Fantasia. Don lusk was the last of the animators. Milton Quon is, I think among the last of the assistants.

H/t Jenny Lerew.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Gremlins Morphs Into a Cartoon

Amblin' TV is going the OPPOSITE direction that the Walt Disney Company is currently headed. It's taking a live-action feature, and turning it into an animated TV show.

Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, a half-hour animated prequel to the original 1984 Gremlins live-action movie [is getting ten-episode order]. The project, from Amblin Television and Warner Bros Animation, had been in the works for months. ...

Libraries, of course, can be exploited in many different ways. Just now Disney is on a roll repurposing animated properties into live-action features. (Or at least, remaking hand-drawn cartoons into CG cartoons and calling them NOT animated. Weird, but it's important for some filmmakers to avoid the taint of animation.

What this proves more than anything else is that "live-action" and "animation" are interchangeable these days. The audience just wants to be involved and entertained. I mean, since super hero movies and related intellectual property have large helpings of animated effects in them anyway, most differences have been erased.