Today Paramount Pictures is announcing new plans for the future. Their current deal to distribute animated films by DreamWorks Animation Studios expires December 12th, 2012, as reported by /Film.com. As one of the biggest animation houses in Hollywood, they have enomrmous power, churning out hit after hit that gross billions of dollars worldwide.
Paramount attempted to extend the current distribution deal for another year, but DreamWorks’ Jeff Katzenberg has declined the offer, searching for greener pastures with the house that Shrek built. While this means very little for DreamWorks Animation itself, they’ll find a nice home being a giant name in animation, but this leaves the question, what will Paramount do?
Today they are announcing the start of Paramount Animation, the brand with which they will continue their thriving animation films, including properties like Rango, and the many properties being developed by parent company Viacom’s highly profitable Nickelodeon.
Following the pattern of Rango, Paramount plans to produce films each year in the budget range of up to $100 million. Rango has grossed $240 million worldwide from a budget of $130 million. The Johnny Depp-voiced Rango has thus far been the best reviewed animated film of 2011, with more dollars surely on their way via home video and ancillary sales.
I think this a great announcement, I personally love animated films and get frustrated that the art form is relegated mostly to children’s entertainment. A few years ago, I had high hopes that Pixar would branch out after leaving Disney, only to be quickly bought by their former managing company. I still wonder what it would be like for a director like Martin Scorsese or Quentin Tarantino to make an animated film, and since Disney refuses to go outside the kids’ “safe zone”, I think this could be a great opportunity for Paramount to start making animated films for different audiences. What are your thoughts on this new company?