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MilesGX
05-06-2011, 06:48 AM
Since I seen the best 3D animated movies like Toy Story and Cars, I kept hearing more family 3D cartoon movies coming out and being ranked for best pictures, like Rio. So why there are no adult or teen aimed 3D animation movies in theaters?

The only mature 3D animated movies I seen were Final Fantasy the Spirits Within, and Beowulf. There are also anime shows and movies that are aimed to the mature audience in America, but they are rare on television and movie theaters. The only anime shows that are known in the public are Poke'Mon, Dragon Ball Z, and Beyblade, which are aimed to children. So why are most animation studios like Walt Disney, Dreamworks, and Blue Sky Studios only make 3D animated movies that are aimed to kids and families in America?

Alessandra Kelley
05-06-2011, 07:07 AM
This sounds a little like the old American tendency to consider comic books suitable only for children, which hobbled the development of interesting, sophisticated stories in comics for decades.

It's certainly true that most computer animated movies are aimed at kids. Maybe it's a safer bet?

There is a lot of CGI work in adult-oriented movies -- although you seem to be talking about fully animated films, not special effects. Also, there is a ton of adult-oriented 3D animation in games -- just not in theatrical movies.

defcon6000
05-06-2011, 10:47 AM
There's Heavy Metal 2000, which uses a blend of 2D animation and CGI.

But yeah, you won't find too much in America. Cartoons are mainly oriented towards kids, not adults.

Jcomp
05-06-2011, 06:25 PM
So why there are no adult or teen aimed 3D animation movies in theaters?

The only mature 3D animated movies I seen were Final Fantasy the Spirits Within, and Beowulf.

You unintentionally answered your own question. Ultimately, it's a business decision. Final Fantasy: Spirits Within was a major box office bomb. It only made up a quarter of its budget domestically and even counting the worldwide gross it still lost $52 million.

Beowulf likewise made little more than half of its budget up domestically and only turned profitable with the worldwide gross, and then by only a relatively moderate amount.

Basically it boils down to the fact that, in the U.S., animated feature films aimed at adults aren't a good investment for the studios. There's no way to make it on the cheap without seriously sacrificing quality, and there isn't a large enough audience willing to see it in theaters to warrant production.

robeiae
05-06-2011, 06:28 PM
Yep.

Who wants to back a film that's gonna lose money?

movieman
05-06-2011, 06:42 PM
Basically it boils down to the fact that, in the U.S., animated feature films aimed at adults aren't a good investment for the studios.

They might be if the scripts didn't suck. I honestly don't remember Beowulf, but the problem with Final Fantasy was the story, not the graphics (though they do look dated today).

Jcomp
05-06-2011, 07:03 PM
They might be if the scripts didn't suck. I honestly don't remember Beowulf, but the problem with Final Fantasy was the story, not the graphics (though they do look dated today).

Perhaps, but realistically, we've seen plenty of movies with god-awful scripts turn massive profits based on astounding visuals. The Transformers movies immediately come to mind. Avatar doesn't have a terribly good script (I don't hate it nearly as much as some people, but I can acknowledge that the script is poor), and it's the highest grossing film of all time.

Conversely, there are plenty of movies with excellent stories that didn't find an audience. So unfortunately I don't think it matters too much if an adult-marketed animated movie has a great script. It still is facing an insanely steep uphill battle in getting the green light. Hell, any movie has to go through a battle to get produced, so a movie that falls into a category that has experienced some brutal box office failures is going to have tremendous difficulty getting off the ground.

The big problem is, with a CGI animated film, you're automatically investing in a blockbuster budget if you want the visuals to look good at all. If you go cheap you end up with stuff that looks like Hoodwinked, and even that cost more than any of the Saw flicks, for example. Going cheap on a CGI flick can work when marketed toward kids, because they're just watching a cartoon. If you try to market it toward a more mature audience, poor production values will be that much more glaring. So you don't really have the option of trying to produce a relatively inexpensive flick and hoping that it will turn into a sleeper hit.

For an adult / mature marketed CGI flick, you basically have to pour $80 - $100 million into the film at a minimum, which means you automatically have to commit yourself to a substantial marketing budget as well, and then you have to hope it defies the overwhelming odds and finds a large audience. It's just too risky as an investment. The only way I see such a film breaking through is if it has several huge names attached and is perhaps also attached to an existing brand with a built in audience.

movieman
05-06-2011, 07:08 PM
Perhaps, but realistically, we've seen plenty of movies with god-awful scripts turn massive profits based on astounding visuals.

Yeah, but there's suck and there's suck. Avatar's script sucked, but it was at least unintentionally funny and had more explosions than Final Fantasy.

Plus Dancing With The Last Samurai had already proven that there was a market for the basic storyline.

Kaiser-Kun
05-06-2011, 07:09 PM
Well, consider the next: if a 3D porn is made, it will show bouncing boobs AND male anatomy*. Can we handle both things bouncing in front of us?


*or so I've been told.

maestrowork
05-06-2011, 07:12 PM
Unfortunately, animation is still associated with kids... if you want the market. Even adult-friendly films such as Toy Story or Megamind, they still have to lure the kids into the theater to make money. Many adults wouldn't be caught dead watching an animation without their kids. I say "many" not most since many adults are also animation nuts (like me).

But it still depends on the story. Final Fantasy and Beowulf bombed because the stories were dull, uninterested. It's not like they didn't make millions, but they're also VERY EXPENSIVE to make, compared to live-action films. So who in the right mind would spend $100 million making an animated film aimed at adults when they can make the same thing for $50M with a better market potential?

movieman
05-06-2011, 07:21 PM
It's not like they didn't make millions, but they're also VERY EXPENSIVE to make, compared to live-action films.

Final Fantasy wasn't that expensive, was it? I seem to remember it having a lower budget than the typical Hollywood movie, probably because they weren't hiring name actors at $20,000,000 a time.

Jcomp
05-06-2011, 07:34 PM
Final Fantasy wasn't that expensive, was it? I seem to remember it having a lower budget than the typical Hollywood movie, probably because they weren't hiring name actors at $20,000,000 a time.

$137 million dollar production budget (http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=finalfantasy.htm). I'm pretty sure it was actually the most expensive movie produced that year. By a fairly heavy margin, in many instances. As a comparison, that's more than the following movies released in the same year: LotR: The Fellowship of the Ring ($93 million), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone ($125 million), Shrek ($60 million), Monsters Inc. ($115 million), The Mummy Returns ($98 million).

Adjusted for inflation, it cost more than Inception.

Ray is right, CGI is just expensive to produce. It's all the more expensive when you gear your CGI animated flick toward adults, because you can't get cartoony with the design. You can make something like Despicable Me for relatively little money because you can do goofy character and set designs and sacrifice realism. If you want realistic looking human characters with a high level of detail, you have to shell out a ton of money.

Alessandra Kelley
05-06-2011, 07:42 PM
At the moment, completely computer-animated movies seem to work best when they are more cartoony, rather than trying to emulate realism. Part of what sank Final Fantasy was the uncanny valley problem. The faces looked close to real -- when seen as still images. But when they moved, oh. My. God.

Unfortunately, our culture considers a cartoony style to be mostly a kiddie thing. It would be interesting to see if more experimental animation -- neither trying to be realistic nor trying to conform to 3D cartoon aesthetics -- might prove more acceptable for grownups.

Jcomp
05-06-2011, 07:51 PM
At the moment, completely computer-animated movies seem to work best when they are more cartoony, rather than trying to emulate realism. Part of what sank Final Fantasy was the uncanny valley problem. The faces looked close to real -- when seen as still images. But when they moved, oh. My. God.

This is true. Even a movie like The Polar Express which ultimately turned a nice profit wasn't as successful at the box office as many other animated flicks with a more "cartoonish" approach to the animation (Madagascar and Ice Age 2 for instance), and many critics cited the "uncanny valley" as being a bit of a turn-off.

A lot of things factored into Final Fantasy's pitiful box office net, but where I think the filmmakers really screwed up was in going with a storyline that didn't even remotely resemble anything established in any of the video games in the series. They had a pre-packaged audience built from a very popular best-selling video game franchise and then put out a product that was basically "in-name only." It was a horrible idea to take a sword / sorcery / light sci-fi gaming franchise (at the time) and turn it into a mostly straight sci-fi flick with a dash of obscure mysticism.

MilesGX
05-06-2011, 08:45 PM
This is true. Even a movie like The Polar Express which ultimately turned a nice profit wasn't as successful at the box office as many other animated flicks with a more "cartoonish" approach to the animation (Madagascar and Ice Age 2 for instance), and many critics cited the "uncanny valley" as being a bit of a turn-off.

A lot of things factored into Final Fantasy's pitiful box office net, but where I think the filmmakers really screwed up was in going with a storyline that didn't even remotely resemble anything established in any of the video games in the series. They had a pre-packaged audience built from a very popular best-selling video game franchise and then put out a product that was basically "in-name only." It was a horrible idea to take a sword / sorcery / light sci-fi gaming franchise (at the time) and turn it into a mostly straight sci-fi flick with a dash of obscure mysticism.

I guess they wanted a different type of Final Fantasy story. Instead of being based on their typical fantasy games, they made a science fiction version of it with little elements from their games. It is interesting, but the story is dull.

Realism can be amazing in an animated film. When my brother first saw Beowulf, he almost thought the characters in it are real actors. However, you can still tell it is CGI due to how the characters move and look in lighting. Yes the budget is expensive and risky , but if you add a good story to it, it might earn millions more in the box office.

If most Americans still prefer the cartoony style, then why not make adult cartoon CGI movies? Something similar to Family Guy or South Park that has adult humor, sex, foul language, and maybe slap stick violence. For teens, how about an American Pie like animated movie? Although the sex will not be real, it would still be funny as hell.

third person
05-06-2011, 09:01 PM
Still waiting for The Incredibles 2. I mean really. They can keep making talking animal movies but NOT a sequel to one of the greatest animated movies ever made? Bastages.

PrincessofPersia
05-06-2011, 09:05 PM
South Park worked because it already had a huge adult following. Also, its budget was like 1/5th of FF, which it made back plus some change opening weekend. The animation in South Park sucks, but that doesn't matter because it's hilarious. So it's possible, but I think what helped South Park in a big way was its pre-existing audience.

Trying to make realistic animated movies doesn't work yet, because you can't get realistic enough. The problem with movies like Polar Express is they aren't cartoony enough to be cute, but they aren't real enough to get out of the creepy in-between area.

Zoombie
05-06-2011, 09:10 PM
The best teen animated film ever is Titan A.E, the film that singlehandedly shaped my formative writing career. Kickass movie, underrated.

Now, maybe this is just me, but maturity is more than just blood and guts and boobs. Toy Story 3 is leagues and away one of the best explorations of death, power, and love that has been made in...well, ever.

On the Final Fantasy movie...I thought it was okay, but then again, I despise Final Fantasy. I started with 7, hated it, tried 8, hated it...meh.

MilesGX
05-06-2011, 09:17 PM
South Park worked because it already had a huge adult following. Also, its budget was like 1/5th of FF, which it made back plus some change opening weekend. The animation in South Park sucks, but that doesn't matter because it's hilarious. So it's possible, but I think what helped South Park in a big way was its pre-existing audience.

Trying to make realistic animated movies doesn't work yet, because you can't get realistic enough. The problem with movies like Polar Express is they aren't cartoony enough to be cute, but they aren't real enough to get out of the creepy in-between area.

I can understand how South Park made it because its' humor is good and unique. No other studio probably dared to make fun of Jesus Christ and make Mickey Mouse act like an asshole.

So how realistic do you have to make your serious 3D animation movie to be good? As real as a live action movie? I know there are studios who are probably trying to achieve that goal.

movieman
05-06-2011, 09:20 PM
$137 million dollar production budget (http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=finalfantasy.htm). I'm pretty sure it was actually the most expensive movie produced that year.

Ok... maybe my memory was confusing the budget with the box office take :).

PrincessofPersia
05-06-2011, 09:34 PM
I can understand how South Park made it because its' humor is good and unique. No other studio probably dared to make fun of Jesus Christ and make Mickey Mouse act like an asshole.

I think that's part of it. I honestly think the pre-existing audience had a lot to do with it. Their humour is definitely unique, but I think the fact that they had time to accumulate viewers via the show helped them.



So how realistic do you have to make your serious 3D animation movie to be good? As real as a live action movie? I know there are studios who are probably trying to achieve that goal.

Personally, I think that until animation is good enough to trick your mind into thinking you're seeing real people, it won't be good enough. When the animation is cartoony, like in Toy Story or Despicable Me, you automatically recognise that you're watching a cartoon, and you forget about it. It doesn't enter your mind again until after the film. When you're watching something like FF that is trying to look realistic, every time something looks a bit wonky, your brain notices, and it draws you out of the story, reminding you that you're watching a movie that has no real people or sets in it.

MilesGX
05-06-2011, 09:53 PM
I think that's part of it. I honestly think the pre-existing audience had a lot to do with it. Their humour is definitely unique, but I think the fact that they had time to accumulate viewers via the show helped them.



Personally, I think that until animation is good enough to trick your mind into thinking you're seeing real people, it won't be good enough. When the animation is cartoony, like in Toy Story or Despicable Me, you automatically recognise that you're watching a cartoon, and you forget about it. It doesn't enter your mind again until after the film. When you're watching something like FF that is trying to look realistic, every time something looks a bit wonky, your brain notices, and it draws you out of the story, reminding you that you're watching a movie that has no real people or sets in it.

So apparently it has to have a solution to trick your mind into making think it is a live action movie. If it's that easy, then I guess there would be more mature animated movies that are as good as live action movies.

Jcomp
05-06-2011, 10:04 PM
Ok... maybe my memory was confusing the budget with the box office take :).

Hilarious.

I think that the best chance for a big, breakthrough adult / teen marketed CGI film would be James Cameron's Battle Angel, if he ever gets around to doing it (huge if) and if indeed it's ends up being done entirely in CGI. Whatever may be said about the story quality of his most recent efforts, he is box office gold.

Sarpedon
05-06-2011, 10:59 PM
For the record, I found the writing for Beowulf to be quite good. It was an interesting take on the legend. Not surprising, given that it was Neil Gaiman.

I didn't like the movie, overall in spite of this.

maestrowork
05-07-2011, 12:26 AM
I liked Beowulf, too, but I just think it missed the mark and couldn't excite its target audience. If they had given us a truly nude Angelina Jolie and show her and Beowulf doing the nasty... :)

kuwisdelu
05-07-2011, 02:08 AM
Because of the animation age ghetto.

Also remember that if you're going from 2D to 3D animation, and your main characters are humans, you might as well just shoot live-action. A lot of the benefit for 3D animation is for characters who aren't human, which is the case for most Pixar films. IMO, for animation, 2D looks better for humans than 3D, and most adults are probably less interested in cars or fish as main characters.

But there's a lot of great mature 2D animated movies, if you're willing to look outside of what's popular in the US.

I saw Evangelion 2.22 in a theatre. But there was only about twenty of us there and it only played one weekend.

ETA: You actually do see 3D anime every once in a while, but I always think it looks kind of silly compared to the regular old 2D goodness.

MilesGX
05-07-2011, 02:20 AM
Well what do you think would be the chances of a new 3D adult animated movie to reach theaters or hit the box office?

robeiae
05-07-2011, 07:16 PM
The best teen animated film ever is Titan A.E, the film that singlehandedly shaped my formative writing career. Kickass movie, underrated.Agree. Teen and young adult. ;)

I'm not sure that I'm understanding the issue, anymore.

Is it that there's a market for Pixar-like adult movies, or for full-on animated 3D movies?

Because they seem to be two different things, in my mind. Underworld--to pick a random example--is a live action cartoon, for all intents and purposes. And so is Watchmen. I enjoyed both immensely. If they had been done Beowulf-like, I guess I might still have enjoyed them, but I don't see the point, really.

MilesGX
05-07-2011, 08:04 PM
Agree. Teen and young adult. ;)

I'm not sure that I'm understanding the issue, anymore.

Is it that there's a market for Pixar-like adult movies, or for full-on animated 3D movies?

Because they seem to be two different things, in my mind. Underworld--to pick a random example--is a live action cartoon, for all intents and purposes. And so is Watchmen. I enjoyed both immensely. If they had been done Beowulf-like, I guess I might still have enjoyed them, but I don't see the point, really.

The issue here is why studios are not making more full on 3D adult aimed animation movies. There is only a few that I know.

maestrowork
05-07-2011, 08:08 PM
The issue here is why studios are not making more full on 3D adult aimed animation movies. There is only a few that I know.

I think the problem really is cost vs. market. Animation is so much more expensive to make (except for South Park style animation). So far, adult animation hasn't done very well in the box office. Who in the right mind (except maybe Robert Zemeckis) would want to invest that kind of money? Like Rob said:


If they had been done Beowulf-like, I guess I might still have enjoyed them, but I don't see the point, really.

So you dump another $50M to make the animation, while the audience thinks there really is no point: live action works just fine. So why even bother?

robeiae
05-07-2011, 09:17 PM
Seriously, I'd much prefer to see the real Kate Beckinsale in skin tight latex than the CGI image of the same thing. I guess if the star actor was Jack Black, the CGI might be a step up...

Zoombie
05-07-2011, 09:51 PM
Animation has the advantage of easily doing what cannot be done on Earth.

For example, one of my favorite amines, Planetes (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZ-OyT4ivkM), took advantage of it's animated origins to have realistic microgravity, spacesuits and spaceships...things that would be expensive and difficult to do in live action.

So, if you could just have people, have people.

But it's looking like the only way to have a realistic sci-fi film would be to have either a centrifuge on your ship or do it in animation. Or, ya know, wires and CGI.

WHATEVER.

MilesGX
05-07-2011, 10:05 PM
Well I believe animation doesn't have to be aim to little kids and families. Adult animation movies can be as good as live action movies depending how good the render and character modeling are in the film. CGI live action movies are good too; like The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

In the future, I was thinking of directing full 3D animated feature films that are aimed to different audiences, not just children. I want to make 3D animated movies that have extreme action, violence, and sex just like what most live action movies have. I want to do something different than what Pixar, Dreamworks, and Blue Sky Studios are doing. To me also, their stories are not that orignal. They are basically taking pieces of cliche' archetypes and turning them into their own feature films. For example, Rio is taken from the natural facts about spix's macaw birds going extinct. Blue Sky Studio bascially turned that already known fact into a musical comedy for kids. Kung Fu Panda, which I enjoyed, is a kung fu cliche' about an average joe becoming a hero like in most kung fu movies, and the animal characters are archetypes of cartoon fighting animals. Toy Story, on the other hand, is unique. The movie tells us what a life as a toy is like, but it seems to be made to just start a fanchise since a lot of kids liked toys. Since that movie, a lot of Toy Story toys hit the market for a long time. There are other cartoon shows about talking toys, but Toy Story is more unique. They funny thing about these movies, they are popular in public.

I could make my own movies that are not adaptions from another story media, or from used archetypes.