Animated movies in theaters post-Coronavirus

Leviathan

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2019 wasn't a very good year of animated movies. Outside of the mammoth successes of Toy Story 4, Frozen 2 and technically speaking The Lion King, it was marked by sequels grossing far less than their predecessors (Secret Life of Pets 2, Lego Movie 2, Angry Birds 2) and outright flops (Playmboil). The only non Disney/Pixar success story was The Addams Family, because it was a family-friendly Halloween-themed movie that cost pennies to make.

Trolls 2 and SCOOB are some of the first big Hollywood movies to go direct-to-VOD during the pandemic, and that seems to indicate that the studios didn't have high hopes for animated movies this year. Disney has proven that they don't bat 100 every time; even before the coronavirus hit in force, Onward was on track to be a dramatic comedown from Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2. While Paramount is sticking to it guns for SpongeBob 3 for now, that seems to be predicated on the idea that everything will swiftly go back to normal in the summer; when reality sets in, I imagine THAT will go straight-to-VOD too.

With all this in mind, is there a future for animated movies in the theaters? Because it looks like VOD is going to be the new home for anything that's not Disney/Pixar, Minions or cheap holiday-themed movies.
 
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Elijah Abrams

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2019 wasn't a very good year of animated movies. Outside of the mammoth successes of Toy Story 4, Frozen 2 and technically speaking The Lion King, it was marked by sequels grossing far less than their predecessors (Secret Life of Pets 2, Lego Movie 2, Angry Birds 2) and outright flops (Playmboil). The only non Disney/Pixar success story was The Addams Family, because it was a family-friendly Halloween-themed movie that cost pennies to make.

Trolls 2 and SCOOB are some of the first big Hollywood movies to go direct-to-VOD during the pandemic, and that seems to indicate that the studios didn't have high hopes for animated movies this year. Disney has proven that they don't bat 100 every time; even before the coronavirus hit in force, Onward was on track to be a dramatic comedown from Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2. While Paramount is sticking to it guns for SpongeBob 3 for now, that seems to be predicated on the idea that everything will swiftly go back to normal in the summer; when reality sets in, I imagine THAT will go straight-to-VOD too.

With all this in mind, is there a future for animated movies in the theaters? Because it looks like VOD is going to be the new home for anything that's not Disney/Pixar, Minions or cheap holiday-themed movies.
NO ONE said that animated movies (any kind) will never be in theatres anymore! Universal and Warner Bros just wanted to get Trolls 2 and SCOOB, respectively, released, since their production was complete. I think you need to stop worrying so much. VOD is not the future, because of a virus! Everyone, including families, are eager to get up out of their couch and go back out to places like theatres when it is safe to do so.
 
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mimitchi33

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And yet I still see foods saying that things like Trolls World Tour and Minions: The Rise of Gru are "ONLY IN THEATERS" when they were either delayed or made VOD.
 

RainbowCupcake

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Well, AMC and Regal are really shooting themselves in the foot by not allowing Universal movies to return to their theatres once they reopen, whenever that is. I think theatres would have bounced back just fine after the coronavirus, but with this announcement, now I'm not so sure. If theatres refuse to play all movies that are planning to be released on the big screen and VOD simultaneously, they're going to be left with such a small selection of films that no one will want to come. Some people still enjoy the "theater experience" (me included), but if you're not going to play any of the new animated movies that I want to see because "waah, they're already on VOD, so why bother," I won't show up. Which means losing $20 out of your pocket. Times however many people make the same choice as me.

So, I'm not sure. I hope this isn't the end of movie theaters. But with AMC and Regal making such a hasty, boneheaded decision, it kind of appears that theatres have already given up on themselves.
 

Light Lucario

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Trolls 2 and SCOOB are some of the first big Hollywood movies to go direct-to-VOD during the pandemic, and that seems to indicate that the studios didn't have high hopes for animated movies this year. Disney has proven that they don't bat 100 every time; even before the coronavirus hit in force, Onward was on track to be a dramatic comedown from Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2. While Paramount is sticking to it guns for SpongeBob 3 for now, that seems to be predicated on the idea that everything will swiftly go back to normal in the summer; when reality sets in, I imagine THAT will go straight-to-VOD too.

With all this in mind, is there a future for animated movies in the theaters? Because it looks like VOD is going to be the new home for anything that's not Disney/Pixar, Minions or cheap holiday-themed movies.

I don't think that putting those movies on VOD means that they didn't have high hopes for animated movies. With theaters closing down due to the virus situation, that was pretty much their only option. Waiting for who knows how long for theaters to reopen was going to cause them to lose money, or at least not get a chance to get more money to make up for whatever it cost to make those movies. Plus, it offers something new for kids and families to watch together, which is very much needed at this point.

Now as for whether or not this means animated movies won't have a future in theaters, I think it's too early to tell at this point. For now, I'm sure that more VOD releases will be on the way. It's going to be awhile before theaters can be reopened. Countless people go in and out of theaters every day and they're in a room for a couple of hours. That isn't a viable or safe option to release movies. Like you mentioned, it's doubtful at best that even movies in August could be released in theaters. The VOD method is profitable now because there isn't really any other way to watch these movies. I don't know if it will work once theaters are safe again, especially when not every household has a VOD service.

And yet I still see foods saying that things like Trolls World Tour and Minions: The Rise of Gru are "ONLY IN THEATERS" when they were either delayed or made VOD.

To be fair, products promoting these movies would have been made months in advance and well before the virus situation started to really affecting things. It's still ironic, but they couldn't change their products so late in the game.
 

The Overlord

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I think animated movies will return to theaters once this is all done. I have a hard time seeing Disney sending their movies DTV.

I don't know I have seen couple of a videoes about this subject recently:



This video made the argument that studios will be pushing for faster streaming release dates for movies and family films (where most animated films would be) would be the first films to go streaming over theatres because streaming allows the studios to keep more the profits and streaming is a more affordable option for families (paying just 20 dollars and making homemade snacks is cheaper than buying movie tickets for the entire family and buying snacks at the theatre).

The fight between AMC and Universal is pretty serious and nowadays Universal seems to want to release some movies online and in theatres at the same time and that would mostly be animated family films that would start this trend.

It's also big because, at this point, because I think Universal is the second-biggest maker of animated films for theatres in the US, behind Disney, considering that they own DreamWorks and Illumination. Disney is the biggest, but I think Universal releases more than Paramount and Warner Bros and even Sony.
 
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AdrenalineRush1996

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I think animated movies will return to theaters once this is all done. I have a hard time seeing Disney sending their movies DTV.
They're doing it with Artemis Fowl since like Trolls World Tour and Scoob, it was originally intended to be a cinematic release, though unlike those two, it's a live-action film than an animated film.
 

Dr.Pepper

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They're doing it with Artemis Fowl since like Trolls World Tour and Scoob, it was originally intended to be a cinematic release, though unlike those two, it's a live-action film than an animated film.
Sorry, I was referring to animated or major live action. I forgot about Artemis Fowl, but based on the trailer reactions it’s probably for the best.
 

Mostezli

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If more movies like Trolls World Tour do that kind of business wherein the studio made more on rentals in less than a month than a significant majority of the predecessor's theatrical run (even with the threat of piracy), digital must be prioritized. If places like Netflix make, produce, host all kinds of high quality animated movies for a small fraction of the cost of these recent theatrical flops, digital must be prioritized.
Laika.PNG
Laika's going to jump on the wagon.
If studios are outright making their own streaming services and have plans for animated originals,
digital must be prioritized.

When theaters open up, there will likely be an uptick in attendance like no other to which ever movie.
When theaters open up, more major movies are getting simultaneous digital releases.
 

Asa

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NO ONE said that animated movies (any kind) will never be in theaters anymore! Universal and Warner Bros just wanted to get Trolls 2 and SCOOB, respectively, released, since their production was complete. I think you need to stop worrying so much. VOD is not the future, because of a virus! Everyone, including families, are eager to get up out of their couch and go back out to places like theaters when it is safe to do so.
Exactly. Just because of the pandemic, doesn't mean it'll be the end of animation in the theaters. There's still plenty of time for animation to be released in theaters.

And don't even get me started on those "it's the end of times" articles. End of time my feet. Whoever made up those articles must've watched 2012 too many times.
 

Dudley

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The fate of animated films in theaters is entirely dependent on how long things will take to get back to normal. Disney and and other animated movies’ release dates will only get pushed so far. If they don’t release it soon, they’ll not be able to make the money they spent back, and therefore will have to shut down production on future films, leaving animators with no work, or at the very least, have them look for work at other companies who aren’t going to wait. Since content for families is in high demand, other studios will ramp up production depending on how long this coronavirus will last.
To keep it short: the longer this quarantine lasts, the more families will get used to the convenience and affordability of seeing films at home, and the more time the studios will have time to experiment with benefits of PVOD. If this last for years, and theaters can be fully opened, people might not want to do it anymore.


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Leviathan

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The first Trolls was a big success and one of Universal's big merchandising franchises. Not only is Scooby Doo a big franchise, but WB was counting on SCOOB! to kickstart a whole cinematic universe of Hanna-Barbera movies. It says a lot that WB and Universal were willing to mess up their franchise plans and potentially alienate theater chains instead of postponing them for the summer.

We have already seen movie studios re-evaluate what kind of movies justify theatrical releases. Most of them saw diminishing returns for their animated family movies last year, and like Dudley said, if the Coronavirus situation doesn't resolve itself really soon, that's likely going to affect animated movies in a major way.

Sponge on the Run will be the real test. IF that goes direct-to-VOD, all bets are probably off.
 

Light Lucario

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The first Trolls was a big success and one of Universal's big merchandising franchises. Not only is Scooby Doo a big franchise, but WB was counting on SCOOB! to kickstart a whole cinematic universe of Hanna-Barbera movies. It says a lot that WB and Universal were willing to mess up their franchise plans and potentially alienate theater chains instead of postponing them for the summer.

Postponing them until the summer might not be a viable option. There have been some movies delayed until late summer or fall, but that isn't a guarantee that theaters will be up and running by that point. I'd be happy to be wrong considering that it would mean that the virus situation has improved faster than expected, but I don't think that the odds are in our favor. As much as people don't like having the shelter at place at home, it is so far the most effective way to keep people safe and reduce the spread of the virus, so we need to keep doing it.

I don't know if WB putting SCOOB! on VOD will create the same backlash that Trolls World Tour did for theaters. I thought that part of the problem was that Trolls had already been in theaters for a short amount of time before being put on VOD. SCOOB can't really be in theaters since I think the vast amount of theaters have been closed in the country. Like Universal, WB is in a tight spot since putting SCOOB! on VOD seems to be their only means of getting some money back after producing and advertising it. Waiting longer for just the possibility of a summer release isn't a good or safe option for studios at this point.
 

AdrenalineRush1996

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The first Trolls was a big success and one of Universal's big merchandising franchises. Not only is Scooby Doo a big franchise, but WB was counting on SCOOB! to kickstart a whole cinematic universe of Hanna-Barbera movies. It says a lot that WB and Universal were willing to mess up their franchise plans and potentially alienate theater chains instead of postponing them for the summer.

We have already seen movie studios re-evaluate what kind of movies justify theatrical releases. Most of them saw diminishing returns for their animated family movies last year, and like Dudley said, if the Coronavirus situation doesn't resolve itself really soon, that's likely going to affect animated movies in a major way.

Sponge on the Run will be the real test. IF that goes direct-to-VOD, all bets are probably off.
It's not just Universal and WB but also Disney as they've relegated an upcoming film of theirs that would've kickstarted a franchise to VOD exclusive despite not being animated like Trolls World Tour and Scoob, as in the film adaptation of Artemis Fowl.
 

The Overlord

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Apparently some of the stars of Trolls World Tour want some of the backend of the digital sales of the movie:

 

Elijah Abrams

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Sponge on the Run might also be skipping theaters too:

That article didn't say anything about the film skipping theatres. It just says that it might have to be delayed again. (Hopefully to September 18th, since Connected vacated that slot to October 23rd.) Decisions like these are also left to Paramount, not Bob Bakish, like in the article.

It's not just Universal and WB but also Disney as they've relegated an upcoming film of theirs that would've kickstarted a franchise to VOD exclusive despite not being animated like Trolls World Tour and Scoob, as in the film adaptation of Artemis Fowl.
Who cares about that movie? People disliked it when we got glimpses of it.
 
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