The theatrical market for animated feature films has remained much the same for many decades. A few things have changed of course, but on the whole, things operate in much the same way that they always have. That is to say, films are released to cinemas first, then home media, then PPV cable, then regular cable, before finally spluttering onto regular TV many years after the initial release. Such a model has served the industry well for decades, but for cinemas, the jig may finally be up, and animated features are going to have to change if they are going to survive and thrive.
Is this finally it? Has the last nail been hammered into the coffin of Pixar’s credibility? Long held in high esteem for the quality of their films, their unique NorCal-influenced approach to filmmaking, and the resulting highly artistic masterpieces that embodied the vision of a truly artistic and collaborative effort won them friends and admirers the world over. It would appear however, that a string of sequels and the studio’s inclusion in the recent Silicon Valley scandal that ensnared many tech companies in the region, may finally put paid to Pixar’s esteemed reputation.
Writing for Forbes.com at the end of June (and escaping my attention until know), Merrill Barr postulates that Nickelodeon were wrong to alter their marketing plan for Book 3 of Legend of Korra after the Mexican arm of the network inadvertently let a few episodes from the season get loose on the internet, and are beholden to internet ‘pirates’ as a result. I say that’s poppycock.
This week sees the highly anticipated Sailor Moon Crystal series begin broadcast. Besides being an entirely new version of the original manga (and not a remake of the original anime), it’s also notable for eschewing traditional licensing-based release models, but interestingly, is not embracing the ‘all you can eat’ type that has defined web-based media. Why might that actually be a good thing, and could it be a model for others to follow?