Friday, January 13, 2017
Animated Future: Paramount Animation's Plans, 'Monster Trucks' Debacle Explained
Well, Paramount Animation's second film is out, and it is set to trip out of the gate.
We all know the story of Monster Trucks now. Former Paramount executive Adam Goodman, who was instrumental in the early building of Paramount's animation division, got the idea from his 3-year-old son. Originally conceived as a four-quadrant blockbuster meant to reel in Transformers crowds and spawn follow-ups, the Chris Wedge-directed (or did he really direct the finished product?) hybrid movie was delayed several times, reshoots occurred, the tone was changed to make it more kid-friendly, and it had fallen off the charts after Goodman was ousted in mid-2015. The LA Times' sources said the movie became an "orphan" after Goodman's departure.
Now the article also says that the constant delays had to do with the executives turning their attention to other projects, but if we are to believe an anonymous fellow...
Either way, it was supposed to come out as far back as May 29, 2015. The first delay pushed it to Christmas Day, but Paramount pushed it not too long after Star Wars: The Force Awakens officially got a near-holiday release date. Then it was pushed out of March 18, 2016, to today. The Little Prince briefly took the March 2016 slot until Paramount - at the very last second - dropped the film, Netflix swooped in and took it.
Yes, Paramount Animation has had a rocky start. Not much is expected of the movie now, as it looks to open with $10 million tops. Paramount took the write-down way back in August, an unprecedented move to say the least. You could tell from that point onward that this movie was going to be a "rip the band-aid" moment for them.
The studio's president, Marc Evans, didn't say much about Monster Trucks but did express enthusiasm for the next two announced projects: Sherlock Gnomes (the belated sequel to Gnomeo & Juliet) and Amusement Park. Of course, future Paramount Animation productions will be done by other studios, similar to Warner Animation Group. Rocket Pictures, Mikros, and MGM are doing Gnomes, and Spanish studio Ilion is handling Amusement Park.
He also mentioned that upcoming films will mostly be "conventional" animated movies, basically animated movies that know they are animated. Not live-action movies with hyper-real CGI elements in them, not movies like Monster Trucks. That's good, because I want to see what Paramount has up their sleeves in this field. It's been too long of a wait, and it's good to see some projects finally getting off the ground that aren't Nickelodeon-based.
Currently, Paramount Animation has three projects dated: The aforementioned Sherlock Gnomes and Amusement Park hit in January 2018 and March 2019 respectively, a third SpongeBob movie is penciled in for February 8, 2019, but that's likely going to move since WAG has The Lego Movie Sequel in that slot now. The budgets for these films should be reasonable, as the first Gnomeo cost only $36 million, Ilion's Planet 51 cost $70 million. Sponge out of Water, a mixed-media kinda picture, cost $74 million to make. Certainly much better than Monster Trucks and its unnecessarily gargantuan $125 million budget.
With that said, what's going on with previously-announced projects of theirs? What's going on with John Kahrs' Shedd? Or Beastlies? Or The New Kid? Or Trey Parker/Matt Stone's Giant Monsters Attack Japan?
What say you?