Let's take another trip around the industry to see what's going on. ...continued...
The Disney marketing machine is in full force to promote Chicken Little. I can't remember the last time I have seen this much marketing for a non-Pixar film. They really want to see this movie make some money, and I'm really happy they are actually making a full-out-effort. I don't often see a movie on opening day, but for Chicken Little I plan on watching the 3-D projected version first thing. Gimmick or not (I don't think it is), this is very cool and could be a new spark for the industry.
There are stories floating around the net regarding Disney and Pixar relationship. They say that the success of Chicken Little will help determine if they get back in bed with each other. I have to agree with that assumption. If Chicken Little does well, there is less chance of a favorable deal for Pixar with Disney. Personally I would like to see the two split and I still think they will. Disney is on to something and they have a big enough ego that they think they can take Pixar down several notches. Maybe they can.
Meanwhile DreamWorks is getting set for a spring rollout of Over The Hedge. This film looks so-so for me. I like the more cartoony feel it has, but I just cannot stand the dry delivery of Bruce Willis. This was a huge mistake and is where getting big name voices will bite you in the ass. William Shatner on the other hand seems like a good fit.
While Sony Pictures Animation cranks away on Open Season, they have announced a movie based on cave kicking neandrathals. The project comes from Jon Favreau of Zathura fame (hahahha). Zathura, the 2005 version of Jumanjii. Jon was busy lowering himself to new levels by appearing on Apprentice a couple of weeks ago. I hope he was forced into this and didn't come up with the plan on his own. He looked like a dimwit. Finally, did anyone tell this guy that DreamWorks has a caveman animated movie of their own in Crood Awakening?
Threshold Studios is STILL working on their first CG feature called "Food Fight". They recently issued a press release announcing voices for the film. This movie has been in the works for so long and looks like it hasn't even really begun production yet. Will this turn into another Delgo 10-year movie? By the time they are finished, that $65 million budget is going to look like a $10 million film.
A few months back I spoke of a new feature company that would be opening up in LA. I've been hearing more rumbles lately and this still looks like a go. These guys mean business and will be creating CG films with $100 million plus budgets. Look for some announcements in the next 5 months. I would like to say more, but I have been sworn to secrecy. My feelings are that these guys could make a serious run to the top just based on finances, story, and talent. Could they make it to the first tier without even officially opening shop? Probably not, but they could be serious contenders in the not so distant future.
Moving up to the bay area, which is quickly reaching critical mass, there is really nothing new to say. Lots of talk, but no one new really doing anything other than releasing glossy press releases and making for story fodder.