The piece goes on to describe Zootopia as “one of the least-anticipated movies on the calendar,” which is inaccurate; the film enjoyed strong buzz through Disney’s nearly year-long marketing campaign, including key promotional slots in front of Inside Out and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Stock also incorrectly states that Dreamworks is “dialing output down from three movies a year to two,” except that Dreamworks is actually increasing output this year, from one film in 2015 (Home) to two in 2016 (Kung Fu Panda 3 and Trolls).
Nearly every paragraph is riddled with sloppy errors or lazy critical thinking, like blaming the high cost of CG films on software engineers and artists. The third-party data used in the piece, which suggests that the average animated feature released in the U.S. costs over $300 million to produce and promote, is highly suspect, as well.
To top it all off, the piece falls back on an old canard that somehow pops up again and again in entertainment reporting: that there’s too much animation being made. Bloomberg quotes entertainment analyst Doug Creutz, who says, “There’s a glut of these type of films at the moment. It’s highly unlikely they’re all going to work.”
Certainly there are going to be animated films that perform poorly in 2016, but that will not be proof of an excess of animated content. In fact, as the Bloomberg lackey points out — and this might be the only thing he got right in the entire piece — animation is the most consistently profitable type of film at the box office.
And what exactly qualifies as a glut? According to Bloomberg, there’s 16 major animated titles being released this year. This “glut” of 16 films conveniently overlooks the fact that there have already been over 40 major live-action releases through April and 100 smaller live-action releases — and only a relative handful of these 140+ films have been hits. If the mainstream media held live-action to the same impossible standard that they use for animation, then there’s been a glut of live-action films for, oh say, the last century.
Through April three of the top five U.S. releases have been animated films. The only legitimate question any business piece should be asking is, Why does Hollywood continue to produce so few animated films when audiences have expressed a clear desire to see more of it?