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.