Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Skating on Thin Ice

Hey folks, I hope you all had a fine Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or a fine day whatever holiday you happen to celebrate! Anyways… Back to blogging!

Distributor Phase 4 Films, in their attempts to cash-in on the recent Disney animated blockbuster Frozen (which happened to cross $200 million at the domestic box office), are essentially showing how foreign animation often gets treated here in the United States and how companies succeed at making money off of something else that isn't theirs…

This year's victim is a Canadian animated feature film called The Legend of Sarila, an Inuit tale that was released in its home country back in March. The picture was actually submitted for Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature, though it's most likely not going to get a nod. While it's nice that the film got a US release, it's also annoying that it had to be sold like this. This "Disney Mockbuster" cheap buck cash-in scam has been a major thing since Disney animated films became available on home video.

With its snowy setting, Phase 4 Films did what all those other companies did. They saw Frozen and pretty much said, "Hey, let's put 'Frozen' in the title and fool all the grannies who pick this up for their grandkids for Christmas, thinking it's the Disney movie!" They called it… Frozen Land… And even went as far as making the cover's color scheme blue, pink and purple!

This particular distributor has done this kind of thing before, too. Last year, they took a 2011 Indian film called Super K and sold it here as Kiara the Brave, apparently the supposed Merida copycat is not even in the film that much. But hey, make the box art look like the recent Disney or Pixar smash that's playing in theaters and you're all set! Redbox picks up your piece of shovelware and unsuspecting parents get it for their kids. I actually saw some of these things (yes, DVDs in cases!) on the shelves at Target!

While these guys are no Video Brinquedo, they are literally poking a hawk's nest. Disney is after them now, and for a good reason. Not only did they put the word "frozen" in the title, but the logo bears a strong resemblance to the Disney one. Yeah, of course they need a whooping!

Anyways, I have no idea if The Legend of Sarila is bad or not. But the thing is, here's a film that was meant to be its own thing in its home country, and then some idiot company in the US sells it as a Frozen knock-off. I mean, that's kind of sad, don't you think? Even if the film is horrible, it's still kind of crappy that this had to happen. You make a film, then it gets used to fool people into thinking it's another film… You're essentially getting your moolah for your film through fraud, from someone else! But hey, the company is most likely okay with this! Any publicity is good publicity! *wince*

A lot of foreign animation gets the shaft here, unfortunately. Will we see films like O Apostol, Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury, The Fake and the like here in the United States in theaters or stores next year? (And no, I'm not talking about one-day screenings at one theater in LA for Oscar qualification!) Probably not, yet a said-to-be-mediocre animated film from another country is cherry-picked and given a release here, sold as a rip-off of one of the big animated films no less!

We need a foreign animated feature that'll get a big release here and change the game for international feature animation. Some felt that Argentina's Metegol (a.k.a. Foosball) could've been the one, but no dice. We play the waiting game… One everyone's been playing for decades…

On that note, have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all! See you in a few days!


  1. Looks like Disney's got a lawsuit on their hands because of the name of the film in the US.

    1. Maybe the two companies are in conspiracy. They had a secret handoff and planned a publicity stunt.