Re-Releasing Animation on the Big Screen

The silver screen. Once the dominant screen for entertainment in the US, it fell somewhat dramatically with the arrival of television. However, the film industry remains adamant that their products are released to the local movie house first, just so that everyone in the food chain continues to get paid.

At least that’s how it is for mainstream movies. Hundreds of independent cinemas continue to exist throughout the country. Some continue to show the mainstream releases, but their numbers are few. Instead, let’s hear it for the independent cinema that shows independent movies!

The two I am most familiar with (the E. Street Cinema in DC and the Senator in Baltimore) show a diverse mix of film, both American and international. Personally, I like to promote the independent arts. Sometimes because the products are honestly better, but often because you can only find films you like in an independent theatre. I have to admit though, I am still ashamed that I did not go and see Marjane Strpati’s fantastic film Persepolis when it was playing at the Senator.

Anyway, onto my point. Wouldn’t it be a neat thing to show old animated films at such cinemas? Think about it, once a film finishes its theatrical run, does it ever get another? History suggests, rarely if ever. The exception so far seems to be mainly the Disney films. Fantasia springs to mind, as does Beauty & the Beast (although the latter is getting a no-doubt tasteless and pointless conversion to 3-D). The exception to this has been The Little Mermaid, which got trotted out again in the mid-90s only to crush Don Bluth’s latest release.

The reason I post is that I received an e-mail from GKids, the absolutely wonderful people behind the US release (have you seen it yet?) of The Secret of Kells and who deserve every success the film brings them. Eric Beckman is one hard working man I tell ya. In said e-mail, regarding their upcoming run of films at the IFC Center in New York, I noticed that Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpiece Spirited Away will be playing at the start of May.

I almost died when I found out that I can’t make it (I’m taking a later bus, stupid me). but it got me thinking. What if these independent film houses, and I guess it could run as sort of a national circuit or something, showed some old animated movies every now and again.

I mean, its technically possible, I’m sure prints survive out there somewhere, and everyone loves old animation (hey am I right folks?). Don’t you like to see movies on a big-ass screen? I know I do. Personally, I think there would be plenty of people who would line up to see The Aristocrats or The Jungle Book or even An American Tail again. You could even run some shorts before the feature. Tom & Jerry anyone?

Think how much money you’d make. The films are already paid for, all that’s needed is transport and/or copies and perhaps the requisite [ugh] license. Right?

Great! Everything’s sorted then. See you at the pictures.