oogiloves_billboard oogiloves_billboard
Bad Ideas

What Fresh Hell Is This?

At least it’s not animation. Billboards and posters for this mysterious children’s film have been appearing all over town for weeks. The film opened yesterday to disastrous reviews. This project has the stench of Delgo all over it.

Unfortunately, as animation is still perceived as children’s fare, a film like this could harm the good will animated features have built up in recent years. The Oogieloves in The Big Balloon Adventure (it hurts just to type that) opens this weekend on 2000 screens. The $55 million dollar production (that figure includes production and marketing) is being bankrolled and self-distributed by a would-be Walt Disney (or perhaps Jim Henson) named Kenn Viselman.

Viselman was previously a “marketing visionary” and producer on Thomas the Tank Engine and Teletubbies. He is so sure that he can “sell” parents and kids on this film, he has a sequel ready to shoot in October. This guy is either a genius–or a madman. My mind is made up regardless–based on the trailer, this guy is crazy. I look forward to reading the grosses next week.

  • Chris Sobieniak


  • Billy Batz

    The trailer is comedy gold! Christopher Lloyd , Cloris Leachman, Toni Braxton? C’mon Jerry this is hilarious! That this film even exists is pretty awesome, it’s stuff like this that confirms we’re in an alternate universe.Ever since Barney came out I’ve wondered what happened to kids entertainment as most of it is awful.What Jim Henson did was unbeatable apparently.

  • A.C.M.

    I’m not going to deny that this looks awful, but how exactly is this film going to tarnish animation’s reputation? The characters are actors in creepy doll suits. It’s not animation. Even if animation is still perceived as being for children, it doesn’t logically follow that something else that is perceived as for children but is not animation is going to change the public’s perception of animation.

  • Aaron

    Oh my God, Judge Doom is in this?? Why didn’t be bring a tub of Dip with him? For HIMSELF, when he realized what he was doing to himself?!

    • Jow

      If Those Were Cartoon Characters, I Would Pour Dip On Them Myself! The “Marketing Visionary” Too!

  • Robert

    Better not count on that sequel- opening day had a per-screen average of $44 .

  • Aaron B.

    They’ve been showing previews of this ahead of animated features for a month or so now… and it’s absolutely terrifying on the big screen.

    However, it did make me laugh. Tony Braxton! Cloris Leachman! Christopher Lloyd! Chazz Palminteri! Cary Lewis! Jaime Presley!

    Does anyone under the age of 25 know who any of these people are nowadays?

    • Steve Gattuso

      Who they are isn’t as important as what they are: Celebs desperately in search of a paycheck.

    • Inkan1969

      Oh, man. Christopher Lloyd, what happened?

      • Christopher Lloyd has never exactly been choosy about the projects he accepts. Look at his IMDb page someday. I honestly think he finds it funny to just accept anything that comes his way because he has nothing better to do.

      • He was FROZEN TODAY!

      • Jow

        His Career Was FROZEN TODAY!

  • Dana

    Weird. The guy seems to be taking a huge risk bringing the idea for a preschool program out the blue and putting it into to theaters even before any tv plans were announced. This is the first time(for me, actually) I’ve ever seen something like this done. The fact they managed to get celebrity star power for this boggles me, I’ll admit. Unless it becomes a phenomenal hit, this is gonna tank soooo hard and we’ll likely see it on DVD a week or two after release.

  • I know exactly how Jerry feels.

    When I first heard of this movie, I had the very same reaction. But to be fair, with the success of Pixar films and other animated venues, I kinda doubt that this film will really harm the landscape of animation. Then again, maybe I’m too highly optimistic.

    I think it’s time we all start a campaign in which we need to put the ban on bad movies…as Jay Sherman bravely put it– “If the movie stinks, just don’t go.”


  • Justin Delbert

    Teltubbies producer? That explains it all.

  • Crystal

    I actually saw the trailer for this at Brave and was thinking “Is this a joke?!” It seems a lot more like how kids shows are PARODIED in fiction (like the Happy Little Elves in the Simpsons).

    It’s like Happy Tree Friends without the gore. I don’t really see kids shows = animated shows as the same thing (in terms of this being shared).

    • Polecat

      Heh, heh, heh…One of the first things I thought of when I saw this post was “The Poots”, that show in Rocko’s Modern Life that occasionally beleaguered Rocko and Heffer when they watched TV or went to the movies. On the other hand, you never know what toddlers will love, so I’m not going to grade this one too harshly. If somebody’s two-year-old likes it, then I don’t see what’s wrong with that.

      Two caveats:

      1. I don’t have any kids of my own, so there’s no chance that I’ll have to sit through this any time in the near future.
      2. The YouTube link that Jerry posted to the trailer is no longer valid, so I couldn’t see just how bad it might be for myself.

  • Travis

    Had my first visit to California last weekend and saw these littered all over the greater Los Angeles area. Any suppressed childhood fear of things in suits has since resurfaced. Really intrigued by the cast selection, though. What an odd group.

    The whole “animation if for kids” debate should have (once and for all) been debunked by the release of ParaNorman a few weeks ago. Great script, amazing first and secondary animation, cool Jon Brion score. Oogieloves is not for kids, adults, or much less anyone with eyes & ears.

  • I’ve been seeing adds like this all over the mall. I thought it was just kids show for TV. But I never imagined it was really a theatrical film. O____o

  • Jim M

    Christopher Lloyd’s outfit made me laugh.

    I’d like to see a supercut of this flick with just Lloyd’s scenes in it.

  • Jow

    He went from Teletubbies to THIS? Oh, the shame of it all! At least it’s not Justin Beiber producing the Movie.

    • Jason

      ‘Marketing Genius’

      Which means he didn’t do anything. It’s like advertising ‘From the Executive Producer of…’

    • Confusion

      So say that like Teletubbies wasn’t rubbish, Jow.

  • Inkan1969

    Get a load of this trailer, too:


    A movie that ENCOURAGES the kids in the audience to make noise as they watch? That really sounds like theater Hell.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Do I have to be reminded of individual Romper Rooms going on all over America?

  • Spencer

    From the Academy Award Nominated Director MATTHEW DIAMOND who also brough you Shining Time Station and General Hospital… Wait that can’t be right.

    Oh no wait… It is.

    • David D

      Cor, it’s getting worse! Not only have they sullied the good name of Thomas the Tank Engine by associating it with this dreck, but they’ve got a former director of Shining Time Station, one of my favorite childhood shows, involved too?

  • Maya A.

    I first saw online ads for this on a bunch of websites aimed at young teens/adults, so I could sworn it was some sort of R rated movie with lots of cursing, etc. etc. for the like. I mean, looking at the title and those puppet faces, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine.

    • rnigma

      Like, perhaps, Peter Jackson’s “Meet the Feebles”?

  • Warhead

    I think I did a double-take when I saw this article. If this were a TV show on say, Nick Jr., I’d be less surprised, but jumping straight to a theatrical film? Where’s the audience for this? Responsible adults would probably think twice before sitting through a single screening of this with their kids, Kids older than 4 would probably want to watch something else like a Pixar film, and kids younger than that would probably nap all the way through it. It’s a movie that no sane man would watch.

    • Jow

      Hopefully The Nostalgia Critic At Least Does. I Would LOVE Him To Review This.

      • Taco Wiz

        He’s called the NOSTALGIA Critic for a reason, brah.

  • Wow. The saccharine…its closing in on meeeeee. Somehow, terrifying.

  • I’ve never heard the phrase “from the marketing visionary” in a trailer before.

    “Hey, people, this is from the guy who forced you to sit through Teletubbies with your two-year-old, so you KNOW it’s gotta be good!”

    And…who ARE these Cabbage Patch Kids lookalikes anyway?

    • Jason

      55 million dollars and the characters designs, lighting design, and overall appeal is just complete trash. I guess maybe most of that cash went to what the ‘marketing visionary’ is known for.

      Marketing and nothing else.

    • Jow

      My Guess Is That “Marketing Visionary” Happen’s To Be Whoever’s Doing The Marketing For This Movie.

      (Rim Shot)

  • Actually I want this film to succeed. It would open doors for others who actually produced quality work to show potential investors that “Hey this guy made money doing it!”

    Right now the only way to get anyone interested in investing in family features is if it has a mega star involved or being distributed by one of the majors.

    • Doug

      Somehow I don’t think it would work like that. I hope instead that it fails miserably – sorry Christopher Lloyd – and potential investors instead realize they have to pursue quality projects made by talented artists. This hot mess has to call into question the ‘visionary’ part of the ‘marketing visionary…’ byline. Somebody buy that man a can of Taste.

      • Unfortunately it does work like that. Investors, especially outside Hollywood want to see comparables.

        When the only comparables you have are studio juggernauts the question is inevitably “Do you have distribution and marketing from one of these juggernauts?”

        When the answer is no – then it’s “Thanks but no thanks – NEXT!”

        Most investors don’t know a good movie from bad, they just want to see how you are going to make money by citing actual examples.

      • Kevin Martinez

        That was the same argument trotted out for Delgo. But the real reality is that the success of this would only result in investors funding more movies about guys in cutesy-poo Technicolor costumes flailing around with B-list celebrities. It wouldn’t result in anything of merit.

  • HAHA they put Oogust 29th, instead of August…Classic.

    • Jow

      It’s Better Than “Real D Tree-D”.

      • Polecat

        Stop, you’re both making me nauseous!

  • Glowworm

    My boyfriend and I are terrified of this–we’re both in our mid 20s.

    My boyfriend actually started screaming in horror when we saw a preview for this in the movie theater when seeing Paranorman.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Just be glad your already adults and could see why!

  • Jerry you owe me for my time. I cannot believe I just wasted 2 minutes and 7 seconds of my life watching that pile of crap. At the same time I could not take my eyes off of it, total train wreck. Gotta say Toni Braxton has fallen quite a ways that she has to resort to this and Christopher Lloyd, that cannot be that actor from one of my favorite movies “Back to the Future”…oh wait it is, now I’m depressed.

  • This makes Timothy Green look Oscar worthy.

    • Jow

      This Makes Justin Beiber Never Say Never Look WATCHABLE.

  • The worst part is, no matter how badly this does in the States, I’ll guarantee that they’ll push it as much as they can over here in the UK through countless, hyped-up advertisements. Same story with “The Reef” and “Animals United” – neither which I cared for anyway.

  • I came out of seeing Brave with one of my friends and I saw a poster of this. I questioned who the hell even came up with this. Whatever happened to GOOD entertainment for kids? You know, the stuff that Jim Henson produced. Whatever happened to that? oh…it seems most people nowadays in the movie biz just aim for one thing. KIDS ONLY. They don’t even think about the fact that the parents themselves take their kids to see movies.

    uggh. I hate entertainment nowadays, its stuff like this that makes me wonder who the hell is running movie studios and animation studios these days. The guy who played Doc is in this? Great scott he’s desperate!

  • Huh… Satan *is* real.

  • Matt Sullivan

    There must be some real money behind this. I’ve seen posters and trailers for this thing all over SoCal, so SOMEONE must be paying for it.

    I wonder if blackmail is involved….

  • wever

    Why would this harm the good will for animated films? IT’S NOT ANIMATED!?! Are people jaded to the extent that they can’t even tell when a film is animated or not??

    • Db

      Are you saying that giant sombrero is real?????
      Seriously though, there’s enough crossover to make me nervous.

  • davidbfain

    This seems like a film made to fail ala “The Producers”. Spend lots of money advertising, watch it tank, huge tax right off.

  • Matt Sullivan

    I guess he’s posting this because it’s children’s “entertainment” and so much animation is clearly aimed at children.

    That said…*shudder* It sure does look….um….generic?

  • they look like the tweenies, teletubbies, and my bedbugs all in one blender. ok you know i’ve seen too many preschool shows (some when I saw them with a younger sibling weren’t too bad, I actually wanted to be a kid again). you can get out your guns at me for saying this.

    What they really need to do is pull off a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (I’m not a brony though) with demographic barriers, and make an animated Sesame Street spinoff in the vein of “Tiny Toon Adventures”, and have kids (and grown-ups) go crazy like many kids did with Tiny Toons and Animaniacs. Fever for merchandise and lots of pledge drives so not only PBS can get funding, but offer them DVD’s and Blu-ray’s of select episodes (that aren’t MODs) as a free gift. Hour long tv specials, story arcs so people can tune into their regular tv set, and about 1 new episode per week, limit the reruns, so they can compete with cable.

    And please,
    No “Looney Tunes Show”, no “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” (from what I heard about that upcoming show), I want a good Sesame Street tribute without boring the older kids.

    • Matt Sullivan

      I love your “I’m not a Brony” disclaimer ^-^

  • Mark McD

    The “marketing visionary” handle os for finding a long Labor Day weekend with no competing kids films opening, so parents have no choice but to take their kids to this movie before they find out what the deal is with it.

  • victoria

    Haha! Just think what a trip this movie would be seeing it high and or drunk XD

    • Polecat

      “Rocky Horror for toddlers”…man oh man. Now I know I’m glad I won’t have to see it.

  • “Zoozie” looks like Dora the Exploder’s nose finally blew off.

    The product placement for “Peptil Bishmil” was annoying.

  • Oh well – looks like I need to wait for another film to champion the indie preschool distribution plan.


  • Liam Scanlan

    According to Kenn Viselman’s site, there will be an Oogieloves TV series and this film will actually kick it off:kennviselmanpresents.com/portfolio/television
    But if the movie version bombs, I doubt the TV series will get a US broadcaster.

  • Baron Lego

    So all that 55 million buys you is concentrated, technicolor nightmare fuel?

  • Sarah J

    I saw a TV ad for this and was mostly surprised that this “film” was getting a theatrical release. It’s clearly made for very young children, like Teletubbies was, there’s no way in Hell that this movie is gonna make money. Also, the Oogieloves look like monsters that want to eat my soul. I think a horror movie starring these guys would be truly terrifying and I would pay to see it.

    Anyway, I don’t think the existence of this movie will hurt kid’s movies in general, much less animation. Most of the animated films that get theater releases in the US are from Dreamworks and Disney, companies that are too big and popular to be hurt by one bad kid’s movie.

  • Matt Sullivan

    According to this the movie is set up to have the worst opening ever. Even worse than DELGO maybe?


  • D

    I feel bad for the kids growing up with this mindless drivel. This is utterly disposable, vapid, sugary, candy coated tripe. I am all for kids films and shows to teach kids proper lessons, to be interactive, vibrant and fun but god damn, can we at least treat kids like little people and not like idiotic thumb-sucking moneybags.

    When I was in this films target age group (I am guessing that 3 to 6 demographic) my grandpa would watch Ren & Stimpy with me and my mom would show me the standard Disney classics and I turned out just fine.

    I would feel more confident in our future generations if they weren’t being consistently pandered to and force fed garbage that fails to stimulate, entertain, broaden or enrich their young minds. We tend to deny kids a ton of credit, sometimes they can be as astute and understanding as us. My cousin who is 5 just saw Bambi for the first time, I watched it with him and he handled it fine and rather enjoyed it. Kids can comprehend more than just vibrant colours, cuddly characters and wacky gibberish laden buffoonery that even an infant would go colichy over. Wheres another Pixar film or Disney Animated film when you need one.

  • There’s always been a certain class of sugary, super-patronizing children’s films/programming that has never been any actual kid’s first choice, but that certain marketing suits can always sell to certain other marketing suits.
    The theory, I think, is that even if nobody actually likes the product, it’s so “safe” that many parents will buy it unquestioningly—and so “noncontroversial” that Podunk broadcasters will grab it in a heartbeat.
    It’s what might be called an unpopular success.

    With Oogieloves, we see the unpopular success formula running into the solid wall of a venue—theatres—where you absolutely have to have a popular success.

  • Julian

    I am baffled and at the same time ANGERED people will just piss 55 million (it really cost that?) at this, yet all the emerging animation talent on Youtube and other places still have to completely fend for themselves and younger artists are too discouraged to even try anymore because they have a hard time getting money for what they do.

  • Animator-in-Training

    It’s a kid’s movie. A kid’s movie for preschoolers. They like this crap. Calm down, people!

  • Santhan

    I guess I should be thankful that I never saw the trailer for this when I saw Brave or Paranorman. Stuff like this makes me cringe, I think we’re at a point and we can take risks when comes to telling stories for children, better to forget about this and try to focus on something more beneficial.

  • Quiet Desperation

    It might take a full episode of MLP:FiM *and* Adventure Time to cleanse my palate after that trailer.

    • Steve Gattuso

      Just for the trailer, I had to do a couple eps of “Gravity Falls.” I felt like I was young and still a Catholic, doing penance after confession. “Five ‘Hail Mary’s,’ one rosary, and ‘Double Dipper’ for you young man.”

      This film may go down in box-office history, in the worst way possible. I’d go to see the disaster but then I’d ruin the record.

  • Jow



    Sorry, I Couldn’t Resist.

  • Jow

    My Favourite Show As A Kid Was Teletubbies. I Still Can’t Believe That The Guy Behind That Show Also Made This.

    My Childhood Is Dying.

    • Was my face red.

      Fear not. He didn’t. He was some kind of exec. It was made in the UK by Anne Home and her company Ragdoll, who recently has a hit here with ‘In the night garden.’

  • Loco the Clown


  • I guess drugs DO have negative consequences! Yikes

  • Mark McD

    I liked the first commenter in the Yahoo article: “I work at a movie theater and we didnt sell a single ticket for this movie today.” Yet there are “parent’s groups” who will give this movie their highest recommendation if it meets their standards of having absolutely nothing to offend the Bible Belt, has no violence or swearing, and does not challenge kids to think for themselves.
    I write a column about beer on Examiner.com, and was somewhat dismayed to see my articles was framed by an ad for this piece of celluloid. apparently our friendly Marketing Visionary was so prepared to flog this movie he didn’t consider words like “appropriateness” in his ad buys. ‘Cause saturation to guarantee a big first weekend trumps word of mouth any time.

  • JB

    For what it’s worth, I saw an ad for this months ago when my brother and I went to see Brave in theaters and I was enraged wit it even after the movie was over. Seriously, I couldn’t even watch the ad, I was shielding my eyes throughout. My brother’s shocked mouth-a-gape reaction was almost worth it though.

    I don’t think this little movie will topple the animation industry, but it’s certainly what I consider to be the epitome of bad children’s entertainment. It’s absolutely vile and obnoxious garbage that no one with any sanity would pay money for.

  • JB

    I saw an ad for this months ago when my brother and I went to see Brave in theaters and I was enraged with it even after the movie was over. Seriously, I couldn’t even watch the ad, I was shielding my eyes throughout. My brother’s shocked mouth-a-gape reaction was almost worth it though.

    I don’t think this little movie will topple the animation industry, but it’s certainly what I consider to be the epitome of bad children’s entertainment. It’s absolutely vile and obnoxious garbage that no one with any sanity would pay money for.

  • Bud

    Along with crap like teletubbies, these are all made with a slew of alleged “child psycologists” who love to tell creators how best to play to a child. What children like.

    Of course, it’s hogwash. Still, left to their own devices, these shows would still be just as bad.

    • Funkybat

      I remember being the “target age” for stuff like this. I never liked stuff like this. I liked Sesame Street, The Electric Company, occasionally Romper Room, but even that was pushing it. And that was about it for non-animated children’s fare. I’d much rather have watched Flintstones, Scooby Doo, Speed Racer or Captain Caveman reruns instead of whatever preschoolers were “supposed” to watch. Of course, I also liked M.A.S.H. and Happy Days even though I couldn’t fully understand what was going on, so maybe I’m atypical.

  • Julian

    I’m sorry to blow some dust on the good name of Mr. Rogers, but all that “educational children’s tv” and tripe made by governments, churches, and companies purely for the sake of “hitting a demographic” are just painful for me to watch and see kids watch. No creativity, no soul, no fun. The only thing I can remotely respect are things along the line of Sesame Street, where at least they give writers, puppeteers, and animators a bit of freedom to incorporate their style into it. I’m not going to BS, was I hard to entertain as a kid? No. Would I watch almost anything that was on? Yes. But, when given the choice, did I choose Rocko’s Modern Life, Ren and Stimpy, and The Simpsons over Barney and the Teletubies? I would fight my little brother to do so! The adult driven stuff was just so much more mysterious and interesting than being told “I’m special” and “clouds make rain” 400 times.

  • Kevin Martinez

    Well, it’s official now. Oogieloves has actually managed to out-Delgo Delgo.


    Oftentimes, the general public gets it absolutely right.

  • James

    Define “kid.”

    This sort of stuff was clearly designed for the pre-school crowd who are learning to read or write their own names.

    The things you list are designed for the grade-school crowd (and older).

  • You’re not thinking Oogie-dimensionally!

  • Doug

    Well, it’s been open for almost a week, and it’s made:

    (drum roll please)

    $827K. It’s safe to say that the term “box office disaster” was made with this film in mind.

  • As Ms. Leachman makes clear, she was in search of a paycheck. Refreshingly honest, she is.

  • dbenson

    The only way to market a film like this is to get on as many right-leaning and naive religious outlets as possible, complaining that sick liberal Hollywood is trying to stifle your family-values movie because you refused to play it their way. Guilt people into seeing it.

    If they catch on it’s a pile of crud, you go to the surviving alternative weeklies and tell how uptight right-wing Hollywood is trying to stifle your avant-garde parody because Disney and Dreamworks felt threatened by your satiric power. Guilt different people into seeing it.

    If you’re a REAL marketing genius, you do both: Appear on No Spin Zone to condemn Hollywood’s refusal to back a decent family film while encouraging theaters to schedule midnight showings with planted cult followers.Guilt EVERYBODY into seeing it.

    Unfortunately (or fortunately), this guy handled two huge properties without understanding WHY they sold.

  • Jeff

    The Cinema Snob reviewed it, though.

  • Jason

    I’m glad you’re here to speak for the children. Sorry if I want mine to be enriched by something worthwhile instead of being entertained by soulless crap.

  • Kyle

    Yeah, saw the ad with Brave as well. I kept waiting for the punchline, I assumed it was just a lame parody of some sort. Slowly I began to realize they were serious. I had to look away from that point on.

  • Jim

    I just don’t understand American film nowadays anymore. What on earth just happen?