As if the Hollywood animation industry wasn’t being flooded enough with new players making it a tougher ball game for the existing big boys, we got another new entrant to bring in more variety. It’s a collaboration in fact between 3QMU and Cinesite, and it may very well amount to something worth keeping tabs on.
About 3QMU Media: Apart from the slightly strange name for a company, this one is worth noting because it has been founded by Shrek producer John H. Williams along with Henry Skelsey, managing partner of Fulton Capital Management LLC. John Williams knows a thing or two about animation as his production company Vanguard Animation has been quite active in this space. However, Williams has not tasted Shrek-like success with the movies that Vanguard Animation took up that include the little heard of Valiant, Happily N’ever After, Space Chimps and Space Chimps 2. These are however all low budget films (around $40 million) and thus not in the same league of animation as DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek series. Nonetheless, repeating the same point here, John H. Williams knows a thing or two about animation.
About Cinesite: Cinesite is a well-reputed UK based digital visual effects and post-production company. It has been involved with quite a few HBO TV series, and beyond that, it has built a solid name in Hollywood too with work done in some capacity or the other in big budget flicks like the Harry Potter series, The Dark Knight, Iron Man 3, John Carter, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Titanic, and a lot more. On the back of such experience in the visual effects department, Cinesite is now venturing into the animation space through a deal with 3QMU. Cinesite is opening a feature animation division in Montreal to serve this purpose. In addition, Cinesite has established Comic Animations as a content creation and creative intellectual property division, to develop its own slate of original animated films. They have a short film titled Beans which has been posted on Youtube to showcase the company’s animation capabilities. It’s a short video, worth a watch.
The proposed movie: The first animation film to be rolled out by 3QMU Media and Cinesite has been titled Charming. As per Variety, the movie is likely to have a low budget of lesser than $20 million (which is quite really low!) and will be produced by 3QMU Media along with another company, WV Enterprises. The movie has a light romantic-comedy feel to it, as it re-imagines the tales of Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty after they discover they are all engaged to the same Prince Charming. The movie will be written and directed by Ross Venokur who has little background in Hollywood so far, though he is also set to direct the next animated movie of Vanguard Animation, Animal Crackerz.
This is an interesting partnership, though one cannot expect Pixar-scale animation in a sub-$20 million budget film. But if they get the feel of the story right, then it won’t take much for the studio to earn a decent return. If the initial movies work, then one may very well see a scale up in the production costs by the studio, going forward. But whatever happens, one thing is for certain, that room in the animation industry is being hotly contested for, and the likes of Cinesite are not going to be the only ones willing to take a plunge. How this industry shapes up in the next 3-4 years would be worth watching indeed!