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.

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