One of the most unexpected surprises at theaters last year was the box office success of Alvin and the Chipmunks. Nearly everybody expected a modest showing, better performing than the Underdog pic, but certainly not a blockbuster. The film, however, is now Fox’s second highest grossing film of the year (behind only The Simpsons Movie), and with over $160 million to date, it is showing no signs of letting up. By the time it leaves theaters, it will have surpassed the grosses of The Simpsons Movie, Ratatouille and 300.
Obviously, we’re going to be seeing a lot more CG Alvin over the next few years. But perhaps this will also convince Viacom (Paramount Home Video) to release the awesome original Sixties animated series, The Alvin Show, produced by Format Films. It’s amazing that nobody at Viacom has awakened to the fact that they’re sitting on a goldmine with this TV series. Then again, this is the same company that owns the libraries of Terrytoons, Puppetoons, Famous and Fleischer (including Betty Boop). Apparently, their home video strategy is “We don’t like to make money.”
Despite the film’s box office success, it’s still an embarassing project to be involved with if you’re a major part of its creative team and you consider yourself to also be an artist. This became clear when actor Patton Oswalt made an offhand comment on his blog about how he and comedian Brian Posehn were both offered the role of Ian, the agent, and how they both rejected it because of its awfulness. David Cross, who took the role, was so peeved by the notion that he was a sell-out wrote a five-point blog post defending his decision to be involved in the movie. Thankfully, the film’s animation director Chris Bailey, doesn’t have to write a blog post defending his work on the film. Because unlike live-action actors, animation artists have no choice but to work on shit. It’s the only game in town sadly.