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FloydBishop
10-04-2006, 04:05 PM
Via Animated News:

DreamWorks and Aardman split

Animation Magazine (http://www.animationmagazine.net/article.php?article_id=5971) is reporting that due to the box office failure of Wallace And Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit and creative friction in the production of the upcoming Flushed Away, DreamWorks has announced it has "no plans" to work with the celebrated stop-motion company after the release of Flushed Away on November 3. This new film was the second in a three-prcture deal previously announced, and ironically the first to drop Aardman's acclaimed animation process in favor of DreamWorks' established computer animation method, leading to speculation that the Bristol, England-based company did not take kindly to half of their film being animated by DreamWorks in the US while Aardman got to grips with using the relatively alien CG software.

For DreamWorks, the move will cut back the number of animated films they will be able to deliver annually, while Aardman now faces the uphill struggle of keeping their larger operation going and searching for a new US distribution partner. For audiences, it sadly means that the stone-age John Cleese comedy Crood Awakening and the long-in-development The Tortoise And The Hare won't be happening after all. Although both companies are unlikely to address these issues until after the US release of Flushed Away, sources from DreamWorks and Aardman have confirmed the breaking of the partnership. [More... (http://www.animated-news.com/archives/00005560.html)]

vfxcreator
10-04-2006, 04:38 PM
that sucks. curse of the were rabbit was one of my fav films last year, i thought it was great. and how was it a failure... 16 mil opening weekend, ~60 mil US, not including dvd sales, with a budget of 30 mil. (est imdb), nearly $200mil worldwide...

meh, probably politics involved here...

flushed away looks great too btw. i sure hope aardman finds another company to work with...

DaveW
10-04-2006, 05:16 PM
I was suprised the first time I read in an article that Curse of the Were-Rabbit was a flop. I know $56 million isn't a huge success in the animated film world but it was hardly a box office failure, especially considering the budget.

I hope Flushed Away does really well, but I don't want US distributors to think that it was due to the move to CG, I want to see more stop motion films.

unchikun
10-04-2006, 05:44 PM
Personally I did not enjoy Wererabbit too much, I thought the pacing was a bit slow and maybe not enough flatulence jokes ;)

Maybe some of the British sensiblities did not translate well stateside, but a bigger factor is the film is probably quite frightening to the target audience, young children. I'm often suprised how these childrens films can have scary sequences like Finding Nemo.

grrinc
10-04-2006, 06:00 PM
There is a naive, romantic side of me that was never happy with this coupling in the first place. It turns my stomach to here what is seen as a flop nowadays. I could see Aardman being bullied into doing ridiculous Shrek-like sequels, so good riddance to Dreamworks I say.

_mg_
10-04-2006, 06:35 PM
Wasn't it just a 3 picture-deal anyway?

There was a 'making-of' Chicken Run some time ago and the corporate culture divide between Dreamworks and Aardman was hugely apparent and quite funny too.

DaveW
10-04-2006, 07:06 PM
I don't think Were-Rabbit was too scary for kids. It wasn't any scarier than Dark Crystal (which I saw when I was 4) or even some Disney movies. Kids can handle stuff that's a bit harsher than Teletubbies and Sesame Street.

unchikun
10-04-2006, 10:42 PM
I don't think Were-Rabbit was too scary for kids.

I'm just going by discussions I had with friends who have kids and they felt it might be too scary for their children. It is the parents who pay for tickets in the end. I also saw previews with my young cousins and they said they were not interested in watching it.

I'm sure Aardman will have another "successful" movie. They provide a unique traditional medium in this age of high tech entertainment.

Glenfx
10-05-2006, 09:20 AM
I love that movie O_o', if that movie can be called "scary for children" then im a fantasy character.
Actually the thing i liked the most was that it wasnt the tipical super fast action pased movie. It was calmed and fun.

Its funny how those parents saying the movie is scary for theyr children, took theyr children to see movies like Ice Age 2, finding nemo or the huntchback of Notredam.
Ice Age 2 had quite the "sex" cognotation which was way off for a family movie (i disliked the movie because of that), and just starting finding nemo you see murder ^^ (tho i loved that movie as well), and the huntchback all it laked was a rape scene, i think is the least suited movie for children.


Aardman wont have problems when it breaks with dreamworks anyway, its not like they are closing the studio or anything.

JoshBowman
10-05-2006, 12:14 PM
Frankly I'm really happy they split. I'm sick of stories and characters being dumbed down just so it can sell in America, crickey even Americans are sick of it.

Were-rabbit was a great animated film, it had real humour, good characters and a fun story. If there's one thing most American's don't understand it's subtlety and this is where Were-rabbit shon, it was good old British humour done in a good old British way.

The only downside to this is that with the split goes a lot of money for more movies from Aardman. I'll wait until I've seen Flushed Away to reserve judgement but I wouldn't put it passed Dreamworks to use their muscle to turn it into American animated trash, like most of their other films.

Please remember that this is how I feel, and i don't expect people to agree with me. I was brought up on British comedy like Mr Bean, As Time Goes By, and Keeping Up Appearances so what I appreciate is a little different than what's hip at the moment.

fuss
10-05-2006, 07:05 PM
I absolutely loved "The Curse of the Were-Rabbit..." and really don't see how somebody who actually watched the movie and payed attention to what was going on on the screen could say that it was scary. There were some moments of suspense, sure, but they were not REALLY scary. Funny, how it's usually the adults who claim that. I guess when they hear the phrase "WERE-rabbit" (or were-ANYTHING) many people get in their minds a mental picture of a bloodstained creature biting people's heads off and tearing up bodies. I mean, come on, what we are talking about here is an oversized rabbit whose worst crime was to eat away at its neighbours' vegetables. Besides, most kids can take much more than their anxious parents think.

I watched two movies made by Aardman so far and I was very enthusiastic about both of them. I would dare to compare them to Pixar if I was not afraid that it would do them wrong, as they have their own, unique thing going (at which they are really great imo) and comparing them to anybody, even to one of the leading companies in the business would do injustice to their creativity and their work. So, I'll just say, I hope they'll find another distributor, don't bow to the mass market and continue turning great flicks out for us to watch!

In this spirit, all the best to the folks at Aardman! :thumbsup:

Papa Lazarou
10-05-2006, 10:35 PM
I hope things work out for Aardman, they'll probably have to let people go and scale things down a bit. I hope they can manage to stay in the feature animation business.

The tricky thing now will be getting good distribution deals stateside. In independent animation that's the toughest nut to crack.

gginther
10-06-2006, 12:12 AM
Maybe some of the British sensiblities did not translate well stateside, but a bigger factor is the film is probably quite frightening to the target audience, young children. I'm often suprised how these childrens films can have scary sequences like Finding Nemo.

I would have to agree, there are too many "Kids films" that don't work for kids. I tried to running through a few Pixar films like Bug's Life & Nemo with my son when he was 3 but he made me turn them off after just a few minutes. Tried again when he was 4 and still no go. One of his most favorite films is Dumbo, but when he watches it he uses the chapter select to skip to the part where Dumbo wakes up in the tree and the crows teach him to fly. The first 3/4 of it was either too sad or too violent (he was 3 at the time) and now he doesn't even watch it.:shrug:

fuss
10-06-2006, 01:25 AM
Who said all these films are targetted at kids? Animated (or, stop motion, in this case) != for kids, not necessarily at least. It's this attitude displayed by the general audience (and, as it seems, unfortunately by many people in the industry themselves, at least judging by the kind of comments which come up whenever this kind of thread pops up on these forums) that prevents this medium of growing and exploring its possibilites. People see an announcement for an animated movie and immediately seem to switch into a default "must-be-a-kids-movie" state. If the movie turns out to contain more mature content, they utter their displeasure about it being too mature. At the same time they moan there are too many "talking-animals" movies with the same boring, childish stories recycled over and over again.

I don't think, for example, that "Chicken Run" was targetted at kids at all, seeing how kids would miss many of the subtle jokes the whole movie is spiced with, and while I can see how "The Curse of..." can be enjoyable by younger audiences as well, adults are still the ones who are likely to get the most out of it. "Shrek" and "Shrek 2" aren't for kids at all in my opinion - for teenagers and adults, but not for kids. Only Pixar seems to manage the stretch between "kids-movies" and "animated movies for adults", although just as in case of the movies by Aardman, I believe adults are the ones who should be able to enjoy these films a bit more than kids (they simply understand more of the jokes and subtleties of the plot ;)). People who worked on all these movies apparently put effort to interweave elements targetted specifically at adults so these movies are not "just for kids", so calling them as such is a bit of demoting their work... Again, it's due to the fact these movies are NOT just for kids, which makes them so special, at least to me...

Now, I am not saying there aren't any animated/cg movies targetted "just" at kids. I guess we can all agree, they are actually in the majority. And that's the problem. All I wish is, when you guys encounter a cg/animated movie and find out it's not 100% suitable for your 3 y.o. but YOU do enjoy it, don't ditch it because of the fact that your kids can't watch it, rather be glad about you being able to have fun watching it and so support it, so in the future we might get to see more movie makers taking the risk of making animated movies targetted explicitly at the adult audience.

P.S. - Now, I hope all that stuff did not sound like a rant, I just had to get it off my system, as I am quite passionate about this topic and definitely feel in the minority with the way I feel about it ;). And, note to self: stop posting on message boards after midnight and after having only 3 hours of sleep in the past 36h. The stuff I write then tends to turn a bit weird, I'll have to see how it sounds to me when I read it to myself tomorrow. So if I treaded on someone's foot with my little posting, I want you to know that I sincerely don't give a da... errr.. I mean, then I apologize ;).

gginther
10-06-2006, 01:31 AM
I didn't say I ditched it. I still enjoy all those films. I'm just saying that there's entertainment that's often thought of as kid friendly, but sometimes it turns out that it's not.

fuss
10-06-2006, 01:38 AM
I didn't say I ditched it. I still enjoy all those films. I'm just saying that there's entertainment that's often thought of as kid friendly, but sometimes it turns out that it's not.

Well, I didn't mean to attack you and I also didn't address you in particular in my last posting. I just used your comment as a starting point and as an excuse to start a major rant and cry out my grief loud into the world ;). And now, I actually shouldn't be here but sleeping in my bed, so excuse me and good night :D .

unchikun
10-06-2006, 02:13 AM
When I saw the screening of a new print of Finding Nemo this year I heard children crying during the shark chase scene and realised with the dark imagery and loud surround sound, it can be quite intimidating for them. I really don't know why they just can't make a fun kids movie without all the heavy storyline (parent killed etc.) and politicized backdrop.

It is true that kids these days are probably tolerant of more extreme imagery but I know many parents are preventing their kids from viewing too much media for that very reason. As for Wererabbit, there are plenty of scenes that are pretty creepy, like the dark shadowy forest, eerie music, mysterious huge animal etc.

As much as I enjoy Aardman, if I were a parent, why would I want to force my kids to watch something that would freak them out and give nightmares?

nurcc
10-06-2006, 04:31 AM
I agree that a lot of animated movies that I'd like to show to my kids are a pain, because I constantly have to have my finger on the chapter skip button. Finding nemo in particular turns into somewhere between 30-45 minutes.

I think it'd be a great use of DVD technology - I've seen DVDs that allow different chapters orders (for example, finding nemo allows you to intersperse making of featurettes or not). So, what I'd really like as a parent is a track without the scary scenes. I don't really care about the story being choppy - mostly I'm showing it to my kids for the excellent animation and beautiful display.

mdee
10-06-2006, 02:30 PM
I would have to agree, there are too many "Kids films" that don't work for kids. I tried to running through a few Pixar films like Bug's Life & Nemo with my son when he was 3 but he made me turn them off after just a few minutes. Tried again when he was 4 and still no go.
Tell this to my 2.5 year old daughter who watches "Finding Nemo" (her favorite character is shark and the turtle),"Monsters Inc", "Bug's Life" (and "Garfield" and couple of others, Blur shorts are her favorities) literally every morning, sometimes 2 times a day, since she is 1.5 or so.. (must have probably something to do with what daddy does for the living heheh).

I didn't try to show her any Aardman stuff yet, but I am sure she will be all right with that. Not every kid is the same. In general it is the kids who make box office for animated features, they drag parents to the cinemas.

Hope everything goes well for Aardamn and they find a good US distributor.

jewalker
10-11-2006, 05:20 PM
I saw a television advertisement for Flushed Away last night. What surprised me was that it was being advertised as being "from the makers of Shrek and Madagascar." Was this an intentional slight against Aardman, or just a marketing technique for the US? Would it be a turn off in the US if they said "from the makers of Wallace and Grommit?" The shot where they showed the studio's logo was also only on screen for less than half a second; hardly long enough to recognize the logo.

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