October 14, 2008

What are the most profitable films?

If you haven't seen this factoid, take a gander at it now. SNL Kagan has produced a study which finds:

... that animated films have the best average profitability among all genres. Animated films contributed $230.6 million under a major studio deal, Kagan found ...

Remember how it used to be for animation? (You can if you're old enough.) There were Disney animated features, and then there was ... an arid desert broken by Yellow Submarine, Fritz the Cat and a handful of other cartoons. Big studios didn't want to get into the game because the big profits weren't there. Disney had a nameplate, nobody else could compete. That was the received wisdom.

Then came the 1990s and the HUGE profits generated by Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King and Aladdin (If not for the woeful Rescuers Down Under this would be a string of unbroken hits... which, ironically I found to be the best one from that period). The money cascading in to the Mouse House's bank vaults grew so large and deep that other studios had a massive conversion... There was Page Master. There was Quest for Camelot. There were Anastasia and several others, but in the early to mid 1990s they all crashed and burned. Fox Feature Animation went belly up, as did Warner Bros. Feature Animation. Turner Animation came and went.

But now another decade has slipped by, and the magic of CGI has leveled the playing field. Where nobody could compete against Walt's hand-drawn product, now many reap millions from the pixels found in computer imaging. (Ironically, Walt's direct heirs have been struggling).


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