About me
Rss feed

Welcome to the Archive section of the blog!

How much do they earn?

Posted on August 21, 2010 
Filed Under Business of animation | 2 Comments

Ever wondered how much other people in the industry earn?

VFX Soldier collected wage information at various VFX, animation and games companies in the USA and organised the data in a very informative spreadsheet.

VFX soldier wages spreadsheet

Bobby Beck posted an interesting article on his blog regarding a new trend in the industry, despite the growing success of animated features.

Related post:
TAG wage survey

Christopher Meledandri interview

Posted on July 22, 2010 
Filed Under Animation, Business of animation | Leave a Comment

I just found that very interesting interview of “Despicable Me” (DM)’s producer Christopher Meledandri. Some very familiar names popped up! Alright we knew that co-director Pierre Coffin was “Pat and Stan” creator but did you know that the original idea was from Sergio Pablos? Did you know that the character design had been handled by no less than Ratatouille character designer Carter Goodrich??? and yes “Lorax”, an other Dr Seuss book adapted for cinema release has finally been announced.

Check this out

The movie has finally reached $145M after only 2 weeks by the way. No bad when you take in consideration that it is fighting for screens with Shrek 4 and Toy Story 3.

Related posts:
“Despicable me” triumph

“Despicable Me” triumph

Posted on July 16, 2010 
Filed Under Animation, Business of animation | 1 Comment

With a worldwide boxoffice of $92M after only 1 week of domestic release, “Despicable Me” is a huge success for Mac Guff and Pierre Coffin.

“Planet 51” only totalled $105M in 16 weeks.

“The Tale of Despereaux” $86M in 11 weeks

“Valiant” did $61M in 13 weeks

“Triplets of Belleville” $14M in 32 weeks

Would the success of Despicable Me (DM) due to the large pool of talents found in France?

I have been told that during Annecy, Pierre Coffin was really really excited by the release of the movie and on stage, he even thanked the french government for its help.

Related post:
The magic of IP
“Despicable Me” fourth trailer

2010 TAG wage survey

Posted on July 16, 2010 
Filed Under Animation, Business of animation | 1 Comment

The numbers are out.

Here is cut down version for most of you:

Remember it is only an anonymous survey and only 690 people replied.

While we are at it, here is the link to the “Foreign Labor Certification Data Center”

Ah, I just discovered that website

No wonder a lot of europeans want to emigrate to the USA and a lot of american companies want to outsource in europe.

The magic of IP

Posted on June 8, 2010 
Filed Under Animation, Business of animation, Education | 3 Comments


Alright, here is a quick but long-winded post ;-)

The animation business is full of experts. Film critics, animators and buddying film makers, everybody seems to know the secret to success and still they can’t explain the failure of Sony to break the $300 million mark or the poor box office performance of Hayao Miyazaki’s features and other 2d movies.

For a start, here is the box office international gross of few movies according to

Cloudy with a chance of Meatball $235,356,527
Surfs up $149,044,513
Open season $197,309,027
Planet 51 $105,194,415
The Princess and the frog $267,007,809
Spirited Away $274,925,095
The Triplette of Belleville $14,776,760

Isn’t this shocking? “Triplets of Belleville” was nominated for 2 oscars and didn’t even recover its costs! “Spirited away” was an Academy award winner and hardly broke even.

Some people would argue that those two movies didn’t have any marketing. I might agree for “Spirited away” but that still doesn’t explain the poor performance of Sony’s animated feature. Don’t you think that the studio who made the Spiderman movies knows a thing or two about marketing?

Alright, I am an animator and buddying film maker so like everyone else I also have an expert opinion you can trust ! ;-)

Story is very important but many more factors come into effect to explain how well a movie will do.

1 – Production value
2 – Originality
3 – Mass appeal
4 – Legacy and credibility
5 – Release date
6 – Forget about the story!
7 – Sequels

1 – Production value
Personally when a Pixar movie comes out, I don’t even need to watch the trailer or hear what the critics will say, I immediately book my ticket and buy the Bluray movie as soon as it is available. Why? Because of the production values. I can trust Pixar to deliver everything I enjoy when watching an animated feature.
(Shrek vs Hoodwincked, Madagascar vs The Wild ….)

2 – Originality
Imagine a movie about Surfing Penguins (Surfs Up) coming out 6 month after some Dancing Penguins (Happy feet)? What about a story about Rats and Mice (Tale of Despereaux), one year after Ratatouille? This is a recipe for failure.

3 – Mass appeal
No matter how much money you are going to poor into the marketing of that subtitled black and white franco/iranian arty animated feature, Persepolis is a “niche” movie that will never attract the masses.

4 – Legacy and credibility
Why do you think studio feel the need to tell you that this new movie is from the creators of “Finding Nemo”, “Shrek”, “Ice Age”?
Ask your uncle, niece, someone around you not related to the animation industry, they will immediately recognize those names and be more inclined to see that newly advertised movie than the one from that unknown spanish studio, well, provided that unknown animation studio is actually named. I still haven’t seen a mention of Mac Guff or Illion studio on the trailers of “Despicable Me” or “Planet 51”.

5 – Release date
How well do you think a movie from an unknown foreign studio will do if it comes out at the same time as a production from Dreamworks or Pixar? Planet 51 and Astroboy came out at the same time as Dreamworks “How to train your dragon” and both studios went bust or are about to. Family have a limited budget for entertainment and with Disney/Pixar and Dreamworks aiming at 2 releases per year, this doesn’t leave much room for challengers.

6 – Forget about the story
I won’t dwell onto that one, I am still angry to have paid close to ¬£20 to see this at the Imax. “Avatar” had the thinnest story plot ever, the most blandest characters and still fared way better at the box office than any more intricate stories.

7 – Sequels
And here is what I was getting at. Strong intellectual properties (IP).

You thought people were fed up with Shrek? Well I have some news for you, with the release of Shrek 4 this month, Dreamworks has once again scored a home run.
Shrek 4 just came out 3 weeks ago and already scored $254,055,338 worldwide….. $254,055,338 is pretty much what “Princess and the frog” did in its entire release and if I remember correctly, this is exactly what “Avatar” did in the same amount of time before climbing above $2 billions! Don’t you think Dreamworks should start working on Shrek 5 now? So far, Shrek has generated close to $3 billions, isn’t that a strong IP? No wonder, Dreamworks treats its employees so well.

What about Ice Age 3, any idea how much money Universal/Blue Sky made? $884,784,626.

This is more than any Pixar movie. “Finding Nemo” is bit behind at $867,893,978

Well now that Pixar is not bound to a similar Co-Production agreement they signed with Disney in 1997 what would stop them and why do you think they are now in a hurry to release Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Monsters Inc2? This has nothing to do with the fact that Disney bought them but more to do with my secret of animation success, the magic of IP.

Until a european studio can find the money to fund not only a first movie but also its sequel, they will be bound to failure.

Despicable me

Related post:
Despicable me 4th trailer

“Waking sleeping beauty” documentary

Posted on February 26, 2010 
Filed Under Animation, Business of animation | Leave a Comment

“Waking Sleeping Beauty is no fairytale. It is a story of clashing egos, out of control budgets, escalating tensions and one of the most extraordinary creative periods in animation history.

Director Don Hahn and producer Peter Schneider, key players at Walt Disney Studios Feature Animation department during the mid1980s, offer a behind-the-magic glimpse of the turbulent times the Animation Studio was going through and the staggering output of hits that followed over the next ten years. Artists polarized between the hungry young innovators and the old guard who refused to relinquish control, mounting tensions due to a string of box office flops, and warring studio heads create the backdrop for this fascinating story told with a unique and candid perspective from those that were there.

[…] Read more

Pixar going “Up”… or down?

Posted on November 1, 2009 
Filed Under Business of animation | 4 Comments

Up or down?

Up or down?

I was writing a Twitter Tweet and while comparing the boxoffice takings from Pixar’s “Up” to Blue Sky’s “Ice age 3 (Dawn of the Dinosaurs)”, I realised that the numbers are actually much worse than what jumps to the eyes.

[…] Read more

State of the Feature Animation industry in 2006

Posted on February 21, 2006 
Filed Under Animation Mentor, Business of animation | Leave a Comment

There is a bit of discussion going on about the state of the animation industry at the moment so I have decided to upload some figures collected on website for people to think about. Have a look at them, this is fairly interesting and will be the material for a future post about the so-called “demise of 2d animation“.

Wordwide total gross of the major Animation features
correction for Emperors’ new groove, read 169 gross wordwide

Wordwide total gross of the major CG productions since 1995

Wordwide total gross of the major 2d/Stop motion productions since 1995 and before.


← Previous Page