The Brew, Reporter and others have noted that Disney Toon Studios will be releasing the (up to now) direct-to-video Planes on large silver screens across the U.S. and Canada.
... Planes originally was planned for a direct-to-home entertainment release when it was announced several years ago. The movie does for the world of airplanes what Cars did for the world of automobiles and even takes cues from the designs ...
So why would the Mouse be releasing a feature produced largely in India (story, design, and some animation is being done at the DT studio in Glendale, California) into theaters? ...
There's speculation that Diz Co. wants to throw an animated something against DreamWorks Animation's Turbo and there is some resonance to that. (This is the feature that's ready for release against the second DWA film of the year so ... why not?)
But I think the three biggest reasons are:
Cars toys has made gazillions for the Burbank conglomerate, and Planes has Winged Action Figure! pasted all over it. So what if it's an Indian-based production? Walt's company isn't some high-toned Florentine art studio.
Of all the "Peanuts" television specials ever made, the first—"A Charlie Brown Christmas" (1965)—was the Charlie Browniest. The 25-minute special was an underdog, just like its hapless protagonist, and barely made it on the air. CBS gave producer Lee Mendelson so minuscule a budget, we learn in Charles Solomon's "The Art and Making of Peanuts Animation," that he was forced to fund the rest out of his own pocket—even though Coca-Cola had already guaranteed sponsorship. When "A Charlie Brown Christmas" pulled in sensational ratings, CBS grudgingly asked for follow-ups. "We're going to order four more," a network executive told Mr. Mendelson, "though my aunt in New Jersey didn't like it either"—a line that Schulz might have written.
Bill Melendez, "A Charlie Brown Christmas's" director, did almost all of Charles' Schulz's "Peanuts" specials, commercials and episodics from the start of their partnership until Schulz's death. His studio was in Hollywood, fully contained in three homey bungalows on Larchmont. The place was small, easy-going and efficient.
Bill was a die-hard unionist. He walked out of Walt Disney Productions when the animation crew went on strike in 1941, and never worked at the Mouse House again. A decade later, he was President of the Screen Cartoonists Guild (TAG's predecessor, and the union that organized Disney in '41) when Walt had his revenge against that union and teamed with the IATSE to help form a rival union.
Bill didn't take the attack on the SCG lightly or kindly. When he formed his own studio, Bill Melendez Productions, in the 1960s, he made sure he signed a union contract, but it wasn't with the Animation Guild Local 839, it was with the Teamsters. It remained that way for the next forty-plus years.
I was always sorry about it, but I understood Mr. Melendez's reasons, and respected them. Sometimes old wounds go deep.
... Third was DreamWorks' Rise of the Guardians, which collected $13.7 million in its sixth round overseas from 6,251 locations in 60 markets. The Paramount release lifted its foreign gross total well past the $100-million mark ($142.9 million). ...
Wreck-It Ralph, Disney’s 3D family animation title, boosted its foreign take to $7.3 million its eighth round in 34 territories, and nudged its foreign gross total $67.6 million. Thanks to its strong domestic performance, the film has grossed a worldwide total of $239.5 million. ...
Hotel Transylvania's foreign gross total stands at $164.6 million. Universal’s Ted, $284.2 million.
Here's an interesting comparison factoid: Rise of the Guardians has collected $222.6 million worldwide to date, and Box Office Mojo lists its costs at $145 million.
Wreck-It Ralph, generally considered a bigger success because it's done better domestically, has a global box office total of $239.5 million and a budget (per Mojo) of $165 million.
So let's crunch the numbers. You see a big difference in the amount of money they've taken in after accounting for costs*?
Neither do I. (Perceptions are much of the game.)
* Admittedly, the Mojo's production cost listings might not be super accurate, but they're what we have to go on, yes?