At least the market has it right. If DWA can't turn a profit much less lose hundreds of millions of dollars after "classics" like ANTZ, SHREK, POE, etc... how the hell are they gonna make money NOW ???????? Funny, if they were making money ya think they would have gone public and let all the suckers share the profits??????? I DON"T THINK SO, do you?? And why didn't they go public with the other non-animated part of DreamWorks????? Hmmmmmm.................................
29 days and counting........
"If DWA can't turn a profit much less lose hundreds of millions of dollars after "classics" like ANTZ, SHREK, POE, etc... how the hell are they gonna make money NOW ??????"
I agree with you - the IPO was a bailout, plain and simple. DW didn't make much money with their cel animated films (read: they lost a bundle), only the CG ones. So what's different? All of DW's films in production are now CG, and DW is only making "funny" movies instead of serious flics like Prince of Egypt. That Katzenburg fellow has weird taste. The Shrek franchise will hold it's own, and there will be a couple strong IPs in a few years. Even the flops won't be too bad (see the fish movie.) What I'm saying is: they finally have their
"I see a way around this: working on a sequel could be a good way to get new hires up to speed."
Especially if the new hires are from DWA. It's tough to adjust from the "white trash" formulas of animation features to quality formulas like Pixar's.
Thanks for your reasoned response. It's a pretty optimistic viewpoint; most parents (and I am one) think in terms of one entertainment activity for the kid(s) in a day, and that's either "go to the movies" or "go buy/rent a movie and watch it".
Regarding the use of sequels: IMO most people don't pay much attention to which studio produced a given film. If a film is not a sequel they base their purchase on whether they liked the previous episode, otherwise, the trailers they've seen and the word-of-mouth they've heard. (For most of the history of the entertainment industry, studios tried to "brand" their products, but it didn't really work, because actor/character brands are far stronger than studio brands. Think about Disney's historical success: they did establish a strong brand, but it was based on characters that were established either in the early years of animation, or generations earlier, before animation existed, by fairy tales).
When you ask someone whether they want to see a non-sequel, they inevitably immediately ask "Who's in it?". By contrast, sequels leverage the characters and the previous successful selling effort; people ask "Is it as good as <the previous episode>?"
This unfortunately works against a studio with products that are better in qualities like originality, story, and technical attributes that can't be seen in trailers and work weakly word-of-mouth. I think Pixar could benefit big, short-term, by doing sequels. However, there would be two non-obvious but very important negative effects: (1) doing so would lower the competitive bar for DWA and upstarts (2) Pixar's key creators - who are artists at least as much as they are technicians - would lack a good canvas. Steve Jobs, to his everlasting credit, gives priority to long-term issues like the focus and enthusiasm of his workforce. [Actually, I see a way around this: working on a sequel could be a good way to get new hires up to speed. Steve, are you reading this? ;-)]
Pixar has stayed away from doing sequels for a very simple reason. Disney will not let sequels count as a new production under the existing contract. Why should Pixar spend the same amount of time on a sequel for only half the profits when upon delivery of Cars (and a brief waiting period) Pixar can reap all of the profits from its own movies.
This is the most basic element of contention between the two companies (Pixar and Disney). where have you been for the last several years. There is ample information available discussing this exact point.
The success with computer animation films is obvious and definitely will continue to be very popular. An excellent way to target those "family entertainment dollars", get them at the box office, and if they like what they see, get them at the retail home-entertainment level again.
Shrek and Shrek 2 were both huge hits at the box office and product merchandising/ licensing. Keying on its success is very important, don't know when the next hit of its magnitude will be coming out.
The other interesting difference with Dreamworks versus Pixar is Dreamworks does not seem to hesitate on doing a sequel to a successful franchise. Pixar seems to take more of an "originality" approach. There was a Toy Story 2, but Pixar could have easily done a Monsters Inc. 2 or a Bugs Life 2. Interesting that they did not, I would be curious why they would take a different viewpoint on maximizing a big hit with a sequel. Especially when they are very hard to come by.
I don't think DWA would be planning on a Shark Tale 2, but I would not be surprised at a Shrek 3 doing well at the box office. Might as well take advantage of a big winner.
<<I agree 100% with your analysis. But sadly, that's not how it will apparently play out. Large piece of evidence: DW has chosen to release Shrek II to DVD the day Pixar is releasing The Incredibles to big screens.>>
GH, I don't really see that as head-to-head competition thet will hurt either company. Releasing the DVD the same day as the movie coming to theatres may be a bit more than coincidence, but not damaging. The DVD release is more a holiday shopping attraction, and it will be huge.
I do not think people will be having to decide whether to purchase the DVD or go to the movies. It may actually help both as the DVD will remind those who loved Shrek 2, how great it was to see it in the theatres when it came out. And same for those heading out to see the Incredibles, realizing how nice it would be, to be able to watch it at home. And if they loved Shrek 2, they now have the opportunity to do so.
This may actually wind up being a benefit to both DWA and PIXR
<<It makes sense for DWA and PIXR to not go "head-to-head". But I do think the competition between the two will ultimately help both companies. I don't believe this is a "winner-take-all" scenario, the marketplace is big enough for a couple of big players to profit.>>
I agree 100% with your analysis. But sadly, that's not how it will apparently play out. Large piece of evidence: DW has chosen to release Shrek II to DVD the day Pixar is releasing The Incredibles to big screens.
IMHO DreamWorks, not Pixar, has historically been the side taking the thug approach. It may simply be another incarnation of MicroSoft's attempts to hurt Apple: ie. it's really Allen attacking Jobs. IMHO there is nothing positive or productive about this kind of competition. Harming your competitor(s) does _nothing_ for your customers, or, ultimately, for your industry. Consider a football game analogy: how does it benefit the people in the stands if one team purposely tries to injure the other's players?
Good point, DeepBlues. It makes sense for DWA and PIXR to not go "head-to-head". But I do think the competition between the two will ultimately help both companies. I don't believe this is a "winner-take-all" scenario, the marketplace is big enough for a couple of big players to profit.
I absolutely agree. When you look at families that have a 4-12 year old kid, they are always hungry for opportunities to go to a family-oriented movie. Unlike the zero-sum game of "if you buy a HP computer, then you won't buy a Compaq", this is a situation where I see families going to see "Shark Tale" AND "Incredibles". If both companies give each other some berth, I think the market will welcome both competitors.
Unlike Intel where the goal is clear and unequivocal: "make chips faster and cheaper", here the success of a movie is more ethereal and subjective so I think both companies stand to win and lose on equal footing, both depending on the quality of the creative inspiration of its team and how well interfaced these ideas will be to the target audiences.
I think the competition will keep both companies in check when it comes to putting the pressure on. Good products come out of strong rivalries.
<<In some ways, it seems like both companies are benefitting by avoiding direct competition (releasing their movies at the exact same time>>
Good point, DeepBlues. It makes sense for DWA and PIXR to not go "head-to-head". But I do think the competition between the two will ultimately help both companies. I don't believe this is a "winner-take-all" scenario, the marketplace is big enough for a couple of big players to profit. If Dreamworks can live up to what it needs to do to outperform the competition, which is the 2 quality movies per year, the box-office revenues (followed by the secondary market revenue booster), makes a nice steady stream of revenue for the company.
Of course they key is executing that kind of business plan, not always an easy thing. That is why taking advantage of a big hit and maximizing a Shrek 2 success is key. You never know how big the next "hit" will be.