Big buzzworthy story here: VARIETY reports that Genndy Tartakovsky (creator, SAMURAI JACK, DEXTER’S LABORATORY; director, STAR WARS: CLONE WARS) has left Cartoon Network and become the creative president of a new San Francisco fx studio called Orphanage Animation Studios. “After 14 years in TV, I was burned out and wanted to express longer stories and experience them with an audience,” Tartakovsky tells VARIETY. “We’ll do family comedies, but we also really want to push action-adventure beyond where it has been.”
The piece says that Orphanage is planning to do animated features for a hefty pricetag of $50-75 million apiece, which frankly, at least to me, already sounds like a troubling sign. At those prices, they’ll likely be inclined to play it safe and emulate the formulas of other successful studios, instead of having the freedom to take artistic risks and attempt breaking new animation ground. The studio aims to release its first film in 2008, followed with a new film every 18 months thereafter. The VARIETY piece suggests that, “Orphanage Animation is being built on a model similar to Pixar, with execs hoping Tartakovsky will be the John Lasseter figure who will helm the first film or two and then oversee a team of inhouse creative talent developing future pics.” Best of luck to Genndy, and here’s to hoping a good new studio evolves out of this.*
Here’s a link to the complete VARIETY article posted at the Drawing Board.
*It’s worth noting that Orphanage isn’t exactly a new studio, but still a young outfit. It was founded in 1999 by three ILM veterans, and they’ve provided vfx for SIN CITY, HELLBOY and THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, among other films. They’ve yet to release an original production, but they recently began production on their first feature, GRIFFIN AND PHOENIX, a live-action romantic comedy.