Thursday, May 25, 2017
The Cavemen Cometh: Aardman's 'Early Man' Gets US Distributor
Well, it's about damn time...
Aardman's latest stop-motion animated feature, Early Man, is coming to US cinemas after all!
The good news. It's been penciled in for February 16, 2018. That's a few weeks after it debuts in the UK.
The bad news?
For those who are not familiar with the situation, Lionsgate does not have the best track record with theatrical feature animation. Plenty of times, they pick up animated features that quite frankly should've went straight to video. Things like... Happily N'ever After and Norm of the North. Then sometimes, they pick up an okay-ish flick like Rock Dog, only to completely dump it with little fanfare. They released Aardman's previous feature in the states, Shaun the Sheep Movie... With little-to-no marketing whatsoever. The picture tanked here in the states.
So... Early Man... Another come-and-go flop here? Or could it actually do okay business? I'm iffy on the release date, it's just a week after Sony's live-action/CG family film Peter Rabbit. Other than that, nothing ahead for a little while, not till Disney releases A Wrinkle in Time.
Here are some things to keep in mind, though... Shaun the Sheep Movie wasn't acquired by a US distributor until after the film was released in the UK and all of Europe. Lionsgate released it here in August 2015, many months after its initial February 2015 bow. Shaun the Sheep Movie is also based on a very cute, perhaps preschool-territory show that was barely shown here in America. Perhaps Lionsgate didn't have faith in it because of that?
Lionsgate also didn't lock Rock Dog until well after its first release, in the summer of 2016 in China.
On the other hand, Early Man isn't out yet, and Lionsgate already picked it up for US distribution. It's opening just a few weeks after it comes out in Europe. Maybe they're more confident in this one? Early Man happens to be an original idea anyways, and isn't based on unfamiliar source material. (Remember, what casual American knew who Shaun the Sheep was before the movie came out?) Perhaps it'll do okay, but I'm not going to hold my breath. Only one Aardman feature film did great business here, and that was their first... Chicken Run... That was 17 years ago. No stop-motion animated film has made anywhere near that amount at the domestic box office ever since, sad to say.
What do you think?