Friday, November 25, 2011

The Middle Kingdom's Cartoon Business ...

... seems to be under-performing:

The [China] State Administration of Radio Film and Television announced in early summer that in 2010, domestic animation studios produced 220,000 minutes of cartoons. It subsequently called China the world’s biggest producer of cartoons on TV ...

Yet during the summer movie season from July 8 to Aug. 11, five animated features – "Legend of the Moles – The Frozen Horror," "Seer," "The Tibetan Dog," "Legend of a Rabbit" and "Kui Ba" – were released in theaters. All were box office flops.

Nobody in the U.S. has heard of these Chinese features. But apparently only a chosen few in China know much about them, either. (As that wise old American philosopher Sam Goldwyn once said: "When people don't want to go see your movie, you can't stop them.")

As former Disney supervisor Kevin Geiger pointed out in October, China's protectiveness of its film industry and focus on large public-private animation companies dooesn't seem to be helping the industry happen in a big way:

... DWA's “Kung Fu Panda” franchise has caused a great deal of soul-searching in China. Many here have asked why the Chinese animation industry is seemingly incapable of taking such a creative turn with its own culture, and have wondered when a Chinese animated film will achieve such success in the West ...

So far, the answer appears to be "not soon." But China isn't stupid:

... Dreamworks Animation SKG Inc, producer of hit movies such as "Kung Fu Panda", is in talks to set up a joint venture studio in Shanghai as early as January next year to produce animation and design theme parks, Caijing Magazine reported, quoting government sources.

The joint venture, to be established in the first quarter of next year, would be formed by Dreamworks Animation and a consortium of Chinese companies ...

A wise Chinese philosopher named Hu Jintao once said: "When you can't beat your competitors, do a strategic alliance with them. And see what you can learn."

Words to live by.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steve, you're so negative. Legend of the Moles - The Frozen Horror is an underrated gem that will only grow in esteem.

As for DreamWorks forming a partnership in China, good luck. Chinese business isn't just known for rampant corruption and bribery. Chinese business partners are also known for smiling and saying "Yes, thank you" and then ignoring almost everything you tell them. They'll do things their own way whether you like it or not. This will be an interesting experiment to watch.

Anonymous said...

the legend of the mole is juvenile pap--terribly "written," designed, and directed.

Christopher M. Sobieniak said...

Adding to this, "The Tibetan Dog" is a co-production with the Japanese studio Madhouse. The film will be getting it's Japanese premiere in January.

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous of 9:14 AM, how dare you! Legend of the Moles changed my life, just as Astroboy did before that! Mole Manor and clown noses forever!

Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHAHA!!!! you must be chuck zimbealous.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that Chinese toons will never achieve success here. I'm getting tired of these CG, wisecracking, pop-culture-emulating animated films forced down everyone's throats in this country.

el diablo said...

I think the first commenter is on to something...http://www.japanprobe.com/2007/05/02/disneyland-in-china/

d.

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