Thursday, January 23, 2014

That's Just Nuts...


Yep, a sequel to The Nut Job is coming…

The film has taken in $25 million over the four-day weekend, $20 million for the three-day. This puts it above the opening weekends for similar small-scale animated films such as Escape from Planet Earth and Free Birds, both of which opened below $20 million. I guess farting critters, silly squirrels and 'Gangnam Style' are what some audiences wanted, or something in the marketing worked. Maybe it's because squirrels are ripe for funny animation and people thought, "Hey, squirrels! It looks funny!" I guess that's better than earthbound aliens and time-traveling turkeys.

Whatever the reason, The Nut Job is a success. Costing $45 million to make, it'll double that budget in no time, especially since The Lego Movie is not out until next month. It's also bound to be distributor Open Road Films' biggest release, topping The Grey. The sequel is set for January 15, 2016…

See, I was kind of hoping that the success of this film would convince others plus Open Road to invest in small-scale animation for January releases. That way, someone can take a crazy risk on a lower budget and help change the feature animation field in North America. Hopefully the success of this film doesn't tell studios, "More low budget kiddie flicks with farting and pop culture references!"

Interestingly enough, ToonBox and Red Rover - the studios who made this film - have two other projects in the works that Open Road Films will probably release as well. The first of which is Bolts & Blip: Battle of the Lunar League, which is based on the TV series of the same name. The other is Spark, a story about a space monkey and his two friends who must face an evil overload who has taken over their planet.


Now that latter project sounds interesting and creative, and hopefully it has decent writing. I haven't seen The Nut Job, but I hear it's really a kiddie film that brings nothing new to the table. I would've guessed that, considering the abundance of toilet humor and lame jokes in the trailers. If anything, it shouldn't have been a family film, it should've been adult-oriented like the short film it's based on (Surly Squirrel). Many are complaining that the characters are all very unlikable, as lead squirrel Surly was in the original short. If it was above the PG level, then the mean-spiritedness and unlikable characters would've been somewhat justified. Oh well, it's making money and everyone involved is probably happy…

Anyways, ToonBox's slate seems interesting. I wish them success no matter what, but I hope they experiment and try some new things. No fart jokes (sooooo 2001) and no belated attempts at being hip (did 'Gangnam Style' really need to be in the film?), let's see some smart family-friendly films or adult animated films that do something new, something fresh. With lower budgets, I think they (and other studios like Reel FX and whatnot) can really pull something like that off.

1 comment:

  1. Sad. With movies like The Nut Job being popular, the feature animation industry is in deep trouble. I can't believe they're doing a sequel to this garbage.

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