Sunday, July 31, 2005

Studio Power Rankings: First Tier!

I'm a big baseball fan. I go to ESPN and Fox Sports all the time to see how my team sits in their Power Rankings. I thought, why not have a studio Power Rankings? Let’s swing through the list of first tier studios and put them in order. This is of course my opinion and if yours differs. That's cool. Start a blog and bitch and moan there.

Sometime in the next week or so, I will continue the Power Rankings with the second tier studios. Don't touch that dial! ...continued...

#1 : Pixar

With Cars coming to a close in the not-so-distant-future, the production crew will begin to shift to the next movie. Will they come to some compromise with Disney for distribution? I don’t know, your guess is as good as mine. Whatever the case, Pixar has several projects in development and pre-production to keep them busy. Expect some announcements very soon. I enjoy their movies the best. Let’s face it; they are the cream of the crop. If there were any negative things I could say about this studio, it would be their 1) their ego and 2) their assumption that the distribution world should be handed to them on a silver platter. They want Lucas terms, evidentially not everyone thinks they are worth such a price. A deal would have been struck a long time ago if they did. The longer they wait to strike something with Disney or anyone else, the more momentum Disney will have in negotiations. Pixar will have to, and needs to lower its expectations.

#2 : Disney

This probably comes as a shock to everyone reading this blog. Why in the world would I list Disney ahead of DreamWorks? After all, what CG films have they released (Uhh, Dinosaur. I’ll give them a mulligan on that!)? I’m basing this decision on Disney’s potential, not what they have done. Chicken Little looks pretty durn good, and some of their projects down the line look even better. These guys are about to make a huge splash. With Eisner on his way out, I think we have even better chances of this studio making a stunning leap forward. Their worst days are over, they are on the uptrend, while I feel DreamWorks is on the downtrend. Although I feel that Rapunzel is a project to keep Keane busy, American Dog and Wilbur Robinson look promising. They have lots more films in development and I expect a lot. However, if Chicken Little does poorly in the box office, things could get interesting at the mouse. Toy Story 3 is still moving along. There is a lot of controversy surrounding this movie. Some believe it is just a ploy to get Pixar back to the negotiating table and that it will be dropped in a second. What are my feelings? I’m not so sure. Although I give Pixar and Disney getting married again a 50/50 chance, I don’t think TS3 is being used a bargaining chip. Disney just wants to get the ball rolling if the negotiations are a bust.

#3 : DreamWorks

Here we are with DreamWorks in third place on my list. Although some of their projects look promising, Disney nudged them out for second place because of Shrek 3 and Madagascar- that I thought was a step down in story from SharkTale. Flushed Away, Over The Hedge, and the Seinfeld Bee Movie are a few other movies on tap. However, I’m not excited about any of these. With the stock problems, SEC investigations, and general rumors surrounding management, I just don’t know where this studio is going to end up. I don’t think they are going to close or anything that extreme, just that it may affect future productions because so much more is riding on each and every release. This could potentially be a disaster.

#4 : Blue Sky

This was another tough one. I almost put SPA at #4 and dropped Blue Sky down to an insulting fifth. I decided to keep them here and see what happens next. While they have a lot going for them, I’m just not excited about what’s coming down the pipe. Ice Age 2? Did Ice Age really deserve a sequel? Crap. Don’t fall into that Disney sequel trap. Horton Hears a Who. I don’t even know what to think here. I can only hope for the best. Financially, they are doing fine and since they have lots of things going on, maybe they will stop firing people during down time.

#5 : Sony Pictures Animation

These guys have yet to release a CG film. Let’s not count Polar Express. This was not their project and was absolutely hideous. Like Dinosaur/Disney, I’m going to extend a mulligan to these guys. Every studio deserves one mulligan. It is just a shame when they have to use them up so soon. I have high hopes for these guys. They have some talent and definitely have the experience as a studio. On the down side, the rumor is that the management/executive system is even more of a mess than Disney. Creatively speaking, the Open Season teaser looked decent enough. The colors felt a little muddy to me, and the animation was pretty good. The quality is certainly above the second tier studios, but not yet on level with Pixar or Disney. I’m really looking forward to Surf’s Up. This film is still a long ways off, but if the final product is anywhere near the descriptions I’ve heard from the people working on it, then it will be a fun movie.

Part 2 will be coming soon.


Grover said...

The rankings seem fair.

I'm not sold on Disney. Chicken Little still reads like a sitcom, and they are still so full of executives making creative decisions it is hard to believe they will make a film with the right beats. With inspiration and heart. Disney films from the past 6 years (except Lilo) always feel like the creative decisions were decided by committee (films as a product are a process that take a group of people no doubt, but the creative vision is not)

Needless to say, I would be pleased if Chicken Little was good. But I except them to produce more of a 'Three's Company' TV quality entertainment than Casablanca, or for that matter Nemo.

TMOAT said...

Blue Sky would lynch you for the this. They are certain they hold a pretentious second to Pixar.

Although after Robots I believe they lost the bragging rights.

John said...

How about Laika? What about some of the smaller 2D studios? Can't wait to hear your rankings on those.

That said, I think Pixar had better watch out their time at the top will be but a blip in the history of feature animation.

Christian Reese said...

Man, negative negative negative. You put two sentences of happy, and 5 of why said studio needs to either get their butt in gear or call you up for advice on how to stave their pathetic chances in Hollywood. Not even entirely sure what this list is based off of. Money, overall box office popularity, or whether you had fun watching them. Just thought this list would have a little more credibility than, "their last movie wasn't fun." How about some good things...Blue Sky is still actively hiring students to get their pictures made, making them very attractive to up and comers while still holding a solid enough veteran squad to produce very original, dynamic movies. Pixar has never announced themselves to the world with a megaphone, they just create fantastic stories and let the public have their own thoughts about their attitudes. I'm not wanting to sour the milk here, but there's a lot of good coming from these guys, and I really think that the good far out weighs the bad.

Staloren said...

Christian, I'm not here to satisfy your need for happiness. I'm hear to lay it on the line on how I see things. The rankings are not based on how I like the movies or how well they did in the box office. It is the overall picture. Box office, business model, financial state, likelyhood to succeed and more. It is just opinion. Everything on this site is opinion or rumor.

I can honestly say I don't care if BS is hiring students. It doesnt have much to do with anything other than making students happy and BS getting cheap labor. That's cool, you have to get people from somewhere. And I prefer that much more than outsourcing to another country.

There is a lot of good coming from studios, but this website is not about stroking these companies egos. I'm saying things that come to my mind and how I see things. I see positives just like anyone else, but why point out the obvious? Let's talk about things that everyone else seems to be afraid of saying.