Ahhhhh, Monster Trucks.
Paramount Animation's mostly live-action movie with hyper-real CG creatures is something of a joke right now, as it was revealed months back that Paramount is treating this like an oncoming band-aid ripping. Its first trailer drew very mixed responses, some taking note of the original and gleefully kooky premise, others saying it looks really, really stupid. Me? I like the premise fine, the execution just seems rather "there". Who is really excited about it?
(I'll make an exception for Mister Coat, for he is unabashedly a big fan of director Chris Wedge!)
The company has already issued a $115 million write-down on the $125 million-costing movie, one that they couldn't crack since its inception. Was it a PG-13 blockbuster? Or was it going to be a family-friendly funfest? Delayed for nearly two years, there were problems. Big problems. The original, fully animated creature reportedly terrified half of the young audience at a test screening, prompting a complete re-design as the movie went from big PG-13 tentpole to family picture. Its live action portions were filmed as far back as spring 2014, and supposedly several reshoots occurred. Also notice that Nickelodeon Movies is finally mentioned. Original, there wasn't going to be any Nick connection.
I guess it doesn't matter to Paramount, they are dumping this film and they pretty much know it's not going to be a profit-maker. The trailer is unusually short, clocking in at under a minute and a half. It doesn't really show anything new, it feels like a remake of the teaser: Boy meets monster, monster goes into his truck, mayhem ensues. For some reason, the trailer emphasizes the heck out of the creature's nickname... Creech. Meet Creech, like he's the next big lovable character out there.
Paramount Animation seemed to start off on the wrong foot. They function similarly to Warner Animation Group, having a variety of studios handle the animation for their films. Unlike WAG, they don't have a special logo. Monster Trucks comes from Disruption Entertainment, while 2018's Sherlock Gnomes will be a co-production between Rocket Pictures, Starz, MGM, and Mikros. 2019's Amusement Park will be done by Ilion, SpongeBob 3 of course is obviously going to be a UPP/Nick pic.
While Sponge out of Water was quite the success story, Paramount tripped up by ditching The Little Prince at last minute, not like they were marketing it very well to begin with. Then months later, they made up their minds about this festering movie. Viacom recently saw a CEO change, so maybe Paramount Animation will set off on a different path in the coming years. For now, they'll be dealing with the consequences of the product of the previous guard.
Again, ripping the band-aid.