Theatrically Released Animated Superhero Movies

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by JD, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    The animated TV series are popular, and the direct to DVD animated stuff seems to have been pretty succesful (at least for DC) so it seems odd to me that we haven't gotten any theatrically released animated superhero movies in ages.
    I think animation has a lot of advantages over live action stuff, with the biggest one being budget. It would also open up the casting since we wouldn't have to worry about matching what people expect the character to look like. Now we could get our Will Smith Superman, or our Gina Torres Wonder Woman.
    I love animation, and I would love to see a big budget theatrical animated DC or Marvel movie.
     
  2. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    The problem is that animated movies are still seen today by most people as for kids. There is a limit on how much money it can make, which is why the big studios have stuck with live action superhero movies to release on theaters.
     
  3. Taylirious

    Taylirious Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'd love to see Brad Bird do an animated Superman movie in the style of the Fleischer toons.
     
  4. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Zeus help me, so would I - though I can't help but suspecting the <10 minute format remains the ideal length for that sort of thing.


    Those names go together like Keanu Reeves and Ernest Hemingway! [​IMG] :p



    Maybe, but I think its biggest advantage is fast-moving elasticity and unapologetic unreality. If a live-action Elastigirl had done many of that character's lightning fast limb-extending gags, it'd cross into Uncanny Valley/Son of the Mask territory, but in The Incredibles, it works.
     
  5. Gotham Central

    Gotham Central Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm sure that part of the reason for this is the way that film rights have been allocated.

    For DC, anyway...multiple people held the rights to each of the characters depending on what format the character was to appear. Thus the fllm rights and TV rights might belong to different people. Typically when people but film rights they are doing so with the intention of making a live action movie since said films have the potential to make the most money. Thus anyone interested in animation was usually limited to TV.
     
  6. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Commodore Commodore

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    There are a few reasons for this. But I think a big one is that is we had many years of animated tv series and direct to dvd releases. It has been continuous. A feature released animated superhero film, using those same characters, would not be an event at all. Which is what drives features.
     
  7. Shazam!

    Shazam! Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    All-Star Superman is easily the best Superman animated feature to date but I'd be all over a Brad Bird effort.
     
  8. Dantheman

    Dantheman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    After Batman: Mask of the Phantasm bombed at the box office in 1993, despite little promotion and a release during the Christmas holiday season, don't expect Warner Bros. or any other studio to do this again in your lifetime. Direct-To-DVD/Blu-Ray is where it's at for animated superhero features, sad to say.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^On the other hand, we have had several original superhero or supervillain-themed animated movies that did fairly well in recent years, such as The Incredibles, Megamind, and Despicable Me. It's odd, then, that nobody would be willing to do another animated feature based on an existing comic-book superhero property. Maybe it's because those are comedies.
     
  10. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    ^I hadn't thought about that, but it is a really good point.
     
  11. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    ^ They're also not adaptations. Maybe being a well known property is a liability in this case, for whatever reason.
     
  12. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Uh, I don't think Despicable Me is what people think of when they hear "Superman/Wonder Woman-style superhero movie". All three flicks Christopher mentions are in fact deconstructions of superhero movies to varying degrees, as well as comedies, aimed mainly at children, at that. (Yeah, yeah, "Incredibles is for all ages", yadda, yadda. It's a PG movie mainly for kids.)
     
  13. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    How much money do the direct to dvd DCU animated movies make? 3 million per movie? That is mainly with Batman, Superman or Justice League titles, which are the the biggest brands. Wonder Woman didn't do that hot and the Green Lantern: First Flight movie flopped in sales.

    Granted, that were with barely any advertising, but that gives a good an idea how much animated DC or Marvel superhero movies would sell.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'm not sure I'd agree that The Incredibles is aimed mainly at kids, given how much lethal violence it contained, and given how much nostalgia for '60s spy movies and pop culture drove its designs, music, etc.

    Besides, how is that a factor here? We're talking about comic-book superheroes. Lots of superhero adaptations are family viewing suitable for children. Heck, believe it or not, there was once a time when the actual comics were suitable for children. Not to mention that most animated films in the US are presumed to be targeted at children. So if we're looking for reasons why studios aren't interested in releasing animated superhero films theatrically, I don't see why the age of the target audience would be a factor in explaining that.

    And it's not as if there aren't comic-book superheroes who are deconstructions to one degree or another, or who tend toward comedy. Why not a CG-animated Plastic Man movie, say? Or a more authentic version of Howard the Duck? Or a feature version of The Tick?
     
  15. od0_ital

    od0_ital Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe it has to do with the length of the animated feature. Seems to me that DC caps their animated movies at a hour & twenty minutes, maybe a hour & a half. Ya get a family of four - parents & two kids - into the theater, they've shelled out thirty-five to forty to be there, for not very long at all.

    On the other hand, ya release the same movie direct to DVD/blu ray, and for half the cost, the same family gets the movie to watch as much as they want.

    Now, say ya get the lone geek payin' ten bucks a ticket...he or she can save that ten, and apply it to the eventual DVD release for the same reason.

    And since DC's animated films are now known as direct to DVD, it'll be an even harder sell for 'em to get folks into theaters.

    Marvel's animated efforts pretty much suck, so they'll stick with the live action, for sure.

    And everyone else can keep doin' what they're doin' & hope for the best.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    First off, direct-to-DVD movies are limited to c. 70 minutes for budgetary reasons -- given the projected DVD sales and rental income, a longer movie would cost too much to be profitable. So that would have no bearing on the potential length of an animated theatrical feature.

    However, plenty of animated feature films are, in fact, between 70 and 90 minutes. To pick some Disney films, Alice in Wonderland was 75 minutes, Snow White was 84 minutes, Pocahontas was 81 minutes, Aladdin was 90 minutes, and Dumbo was only 63 minutes. The three Toy Story films were 81, 92, and 103 minutes (each exactly 11 minutes longer than the last!). The two Kung Fu Panda films were 88 and 90 minutes. The Incredibles was actually fairly long at 115 minutes, but Megamind is 96.

    So clearly, a running length less than 90 minutes won't keep an animated film from succeeding in theaters. It's just not a factor. In fact, theater operators love shorter movies because it lets them show the films more times in a day and thus sell more tickets.


    Again, there's a difference between theatrical and home-video movies that you're failing to take into account. Presumably a theatrical feature would have more expensive, higher-quality animation, a full orchestral score instead of synth, and generally better production values all around than a direct-to-video feature, creating more of an incentive to see it in the theater. Look at the difference between, say, Disney's lavish theatrical features and their cheaper home-video sequels. Marvel's DVD movies are made for a certain budget that's commensurate with the potential profits from that market. If they did choose to make a theatrical feature instead, that's potentially a more lucrative market as well as a much higher-profile one, so they'd put more money and care into it. And so would Warner Bros/DC. Their DVD movies are pretty high-quality for that market, but if they did a theatrical feature, it'd be another level above that.
     
  17. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    ^That's actually part of why I'd love to see DC do theatrical animated movies. I have loved their direct-to-DVD stuff, and would be interested to see what they would do with the money for a theatrical release.