Notes on Monster House

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Artist Chris Appelhans has posted some superb concept art that he created for the upcoming MONSTER HOUSE. If the finished “performance capture” animation looked half as cool as Appelhan’s work, I’d be the first in line to see this film when it opens on Friday.

Based on the reaction the film received last month at the sneak preview at the Annecy animation festival, I’d have to predict that MONSTER HOUSE is going to be a hit. Nearly everybody I spoke to who attended the Annecy screening enjoyed the film a lot. The film is apparently entertaining and a refreshing change of pace from the childish animal-oriented comedies that every other animation studio is producing nowadays. A lot of people at Annecy were comparing it to early Spielberg films as well as THE GOONIES. It didn’t win everybody over however. One animator I spoke to walked out of the film after half an hour, saying that there was no reason for the film to be animated in the first place.

Back here in the States, Sony held sneak previews of MONSTER HOUSE last Saturday at 700 theaters. According to Box Office Mojo, attendance was strong at two-thirds capacity, eighty percent of which were families. Sony’s distribution chief Rory Bruer, however, is being extremely cautious with MONSTER HOUSE estimates, saying, “I think we’ll open in the mid-$20 million range, hopefully.” Bottomline: it may not be a very good animated film, but signs are pointing that MONSTER HOUSE will be a very successful animated film.

PS – San Diego Comic-Con attendees can get a sneak preview of the film – in 3D – while at the convention. Here’s the info from the Comic-Con website: Screenings are Wednesday night at 10:00 PM, and Thursday 12:00, 2:00, 4:00, 6:00, 8:00, 10:00 PM and 12:00 AM at the United Artists Horton Plaza theater. Tickets are available at the Sony booth (#3945) on a first-come, first-served basis.

(MONSTER HOUSE concept art via Flight Comics)