Let’s not kid ourselves because animated feature films was always about making money. It’s just that in the old days we simply weren’t that blatant about it. For us filmmakers, doing a good job was reward enough. Plus, if we were lucky enough to continue on and be blessed with another project that was icing on the cake. Today, it’s about a whole lot more than simply making a movie. It’s all about making money. That’s because a hit animated feature film will pretty much guarantee a sequel and that sequel will engender another film. We’re no longer making movies - we’re building a franchise. And, nothing delights a corporation more than a product that will make them money forever.
It’s not that I have anything against sequels, mind you. I’ve worked on a few myself and one of them was especially good. On occasion, a sequel based on a darn good idea is more than welcome and that can be a win win for all concerned. These days, I’m afraid the opposite is true and more than a few sequels are simply cash grabs. I suppose one can hardly blame the producers. They’re just trying to get the maximum out of their already sizable investment. Even in the old days, Walt Disney knew he had to make money. However, the Old Maestro had an agenda. Sizable profits simply enabled Walt to pour more cash into innovative new projects. Walt Disney wasn’t about profitability. He was about creativity and the money enabled that marvelous creativity to continue.
I’m an animation guy from another time and I continually grow weary of the “profit reports” from each new animated film being released. I would welcome discussion about the new film and its effective production values or compelling storyline. Sadly, the discussion always begins with opening box office and how many millions the movie earned. What’s even sadder is, the impressive numbers really don’t mean much to the people who created the film. Unless you backed the movie you can pretty much forget about that Malibu beach house.
What the heck! Why are we wasting our time talking about this? It’s time we got started on that new sequel because after all - that’s what animation today is all about.