I wanted to take the Bean to a flick this past weekend, but was dismayed that between Piranha 3D
and the latest Resident Evil
movie, there wasn’t anything new out there for kids. I was unable to talk him into seeing Despicable Me
again (I love those Minions), so we ended up playing video games at home instead. If it had been this weekend, we might have ended up seeing the bland looking animated Alpha & Omega
This got me thinking about one of the questions you asked when I solicited
them a while back:
What's the cost/benefit analysis to making a mediocre kid's movie? I mean, I understand the Pixar enterprise (hire a lot of nerds to render stuff, write a good script, hire celebrity voiceovers, inject addictive subliminal messages, release movie, shit gold), but what's the matrix for a mediocre movie? Like Firehouse Dog or Curious George 2? Does anybody actually make any money off them? Do they intend to? Does the industry view them as the movie equivalent of Kraft Macaroni n' Cheese, or are they trying to make the next breakout hit and just... not? What's the deal?
There’s a lot to respond to in this question, so let me break it down piece by piece:
What's the cost/benefit analysis to making a mediocre kid's movie?
Kid’s movies aren’t different from regular movies. Nobody sets out to make a mediocre
movie, but sometimes bad movies happen to good people.
I mean, I understand the Pixar enterprise (hire a lot of nerds to render stuff, write a good script, hire celebrity voiceovers, inject addictive subliminal messages, release movie, shit gold), but what's the matrix for a mediocre movie?
Pixar is the absolute exception to every movie studio--having made 11 movies of exceptional quality that have all been smash hits. Let’s, for a moment, think of Hollywood as selling furniture instead of movies. Pixar is the small, hand craftsman while most other Hollywood studios are like Ikea. Their furniture gets the job done, but it’s pre-fab stuff meant for the masses. It takes a lot of time and a lot of work to make Pixar quality and frankly most studios don’t have the patience or desire to make movies the way Pixar does.
Does anybody actually make any money off them? Do they intend to?
Of course the intend to. Have we learned nothing from Gordon Gekko? Profit is the end goal for just about every company. And yes, they do make money from these movies which is why they keep getting made. You could make five Firehouse Dogs
for the price of one Transformers
. So they don't have to work to be profitable.
Does the industry view them as the movie equivalent of Kraft Macaroni n' Cheese, or are they trying to make the next breakout hit and just... not? What's the deal?
You got a problem with Kraft Mac n' Cheese? I lived on that stuff through college.
They do want breakout hits, but hits can't be conjured up in Dumbledore-like fashion. There’s no guarantee that even a quality movie is going to break out and be a big hit (think about a movie like Surfs Up). Movies like Curious George 2 exist because we, the consumer, know the brand. Hollywood knows we trust that damned monkey to entertain our kids, so we're more apt to pick up that box from the shelf. In that way it is like macaroni and cheese. We know and trust the Kraft brand, so that blue box ends up in the shopping cart.
So why does Hollywood keep making mediocre kids movies? The simple fact is that despite the enormous amount of entertainment options available to kids these days, we always want the new stuff. There was nothing new available in theaters last weekend, so Hollywood lost out on my money because my kid wasn’t in the mood to see something he’s seen before.
That is until Alpha and Omega comes out.
Got a question about movies or the movie biz? Drop me a line.