Now that Box Office returns for animated films are coming down from stratosphere like heights, reality is setting in for many studios. The days of money being thrown around left and right have slowed. Those that missed the boat during the frenzy are going to have a harder time making a go at it.
When decent films like Surf’s Up and Meet the Robinson’s aren’t getting a lot of attention from potential audiences, you have to wonder what some of these people are thinking that invest in projects like The Missing Lynx.
I can’t see movies like this doing well in the theaters at all. As a direct to video, it may have a chance. But come on, that thing is going to bomb if released to theaters. It reminds me of another hard-to-watch CG film, Happily Never After that I recently sat through. I could be wrong though. After all, I hated Happy Feet despite how many people enjoyed it.
With all of the bad films doing poorly, combined with the good ones doing moderately, you have to wonder what the investors and distributors are thinking. It is really difficult to get an animated film going right now. I recently heard about the antics of a studio in San Francisco that is trying to get a CG feature off the ground. They are an established company with a proven track record (in commercials), financial backing, and developed stories. They just cannot find a distributor. It is just another example of people being more apprehensive. If they were this prepared a few years ago, it would have been much easier.
Occasionally, I get an email asking me exactly what I do for a living or what I’m currently working on. While I won’t go into details, I’m involved with a film fund. This investment vehicle will co-finance more than a dozen movies. Worth several hundred million dollars, it is mostly geared towards live-action. A while back I was asked to consult on it to see if it was worth including an animated film or two in the mix.
While this fund is currently in limbo, I’m given a ring side seat to some of the financing action going on around Hollywood. It is more than obvious that the money for animated films is slowing. Now that investors are starting to see that it may no longer be the golden ticket, they are choosing to be more careful about their choices...
In part 2, I will discuss current financing schemes that studios are using.