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The Financial Woes of Astro Boy‘s Producer

Astro Boy

The Animation Guild blog linked to this Variety article about the financial woes of animation outfit Imagi Int’l, which has studios in both Hong Kong and Los Angeles. The studio, which last year worked on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and is responsible for the forthcoming Astro Boy, also has three other features in the pipeline: Gatchaman, Tusker and Cat Tale. According to the article, Imagi will be able to complete Astro Boy but auditors say that “it is uncertain whether the Group will have the necessary financial resources to complete these animated pictures,” in reference to the following three films. All the sticky financial details are in the Variety piece. According to the Animation Guild, the studio is employing 66 artists in LA as of early-December. This is what the Guild’s business rep Steve Hulett writes about the situation on their blog:

“A short while ago, we received a communication from the company that there could be a short hiccup in cash flow, but not to worry. There were plenty of bucks overall and everything would be ducky in due course. Based on this, maybe things are a tad more serious than that. The company has several animated features in various stages of production, and a lot of money invested in them. It’s going to be grim for the sizable staff working in Sherman Oaks (not to mention Hong Kong) if everything comes to a grinding halt.”

  • A “short hiccup in the cash flow”. I recognize that the 2008 is drawing to a close, and congratulate the speaker for trying to get in the “euphimism of the year” at the last second. I can’t wait to call my bank and tell them, “I missed the mortgage payment this month. Nothing serious: I had a short hiccup in the cash flow.”

  • matt

    Hmmm, first Laika, now this. Surely you’d think that the financial deals would be structured around succeeding projects being supplemented by the eventual release profits of the earlier ones? Then again, I know absolutely nothing about money…

    What concerns me more is that in all these years I never noticed Astro doesn’t have nipples (and I call myself an artist!). Poor little robot boy… maybe that’s why they make him wear a shirt in that silly teaser?

  • Sam Filstrup

    It’d be a bummer if the projects came to a halt after loving TMNT I can’t wait to see Astro Boy and I’d like to see the studio continue to make more films.

  • matt

    Glad you loved TMNT Sam, but boy it frustrated me. Some great production design, but it was like they misunderstood everything Pixar had done and said “Hey, they do eye-darts! Let’s do that!” without actually understanding why or how eye-darts are used. Eyes being the most important thing, it made me crazy how they were done without actually thinking, when the impression of thought (and PARTICULAR thoughts) is what it’s all about! Darts and blinks aren’t just mindless detail to be sprinkled around like some inappropriate lens flare…

    Speaking of eyes, I wonder why they’ve toned Astro’s eyes down and changed to more ‘realistic’ proportions? Also, why tone down the widow’s peak so much?

  • Chiskop

    Who cares about eye darts in relation to pixar? i don’t. its time for this pixar **** to stop. TMNT was okay, but what else are you gonna compare to pixar? “ooh, i like the cartoon brew logo but i think they’re not doing it exactly as pixar would” <-

    Jobs are on the line at Imagi and at many studios around the world. But people would rather whore themselves to pixar at every turn. its boring.

  • matt

    Huh? It’s entirely reasonable to use Pixar as a touchstone with regard to the eye thing. The eyes are the single most important part of a character, live or animated. Eye darts and convergence are important for showing that the characters are THINKING and alive, and that their motion and emotion are motivated from the inside.

    Pixar is a great contrast to use, both because they do it exceptionally well and everyone here will be familiar with the work. Why would I use something more obscure to support a straight argument? And notice I only mentioned them once, and then my points were general. You however used them in almost every sentence. My post is boring? On an animation site?! What a simplistic and misguided observation!

  • Tom Bertino

    While we’re on the subject of eyes, how come his eyes are looking in two different directions? He looks like Ben Turpin…