TINTIN movie woes

tintin TINTIN movie woes
Sign of the times, or maybe studio bigwigs weren’t big fans of INDY IV or KING KONG III, but Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson have had a hard time getting financing for their proposed TINTIN motion-capture trilogy, with Universal — previously Spielberg’s safe haven — turning it down, Claudia Eller reported:

But after they submitted a final budget of $130 million for their 3-D animated movie “Tintin,” based on the Belgian comic strip, to Universal Pictures, the studio balked. The decision has left the two powerful filmmakers scrambling to find another financial partner.

When even Spielberg and “The Lord of the Rings” director Jackson, who have made some of the biggest blockbusters in history, can’t get their movie made, you know something is up in Hollywood. Universal’s refusal to finance “Tintin” underscores how in today’s tough economic climate, bottom-line concerns trump once-inviolable relationships between studios and talent.


AICN weighed in, while expressing support for the project:

This means, according to Eller’s sources, that TINTIN would have to gross $425 million worldwide to break even. That’s a lot of coin for a movie that doesn’t directly appeal to teens and twentysomethings. Then again, Pixar’s RATATOUILLE pulled in close to that amount in foreign $$$ alone; if TINTIN is mostly an overseas phenomenon, I don’t see why Spielberg’s film can’t approach that number (provided it’s good). And while this isn’t your typical Spielberg film, I somehow can’t see the rigors of mo-cap production kicking his ass; the Beard’s got a fairly above-average track record when it comes to blending storytelling and nascent technology.

200809221306 TINTIN movie woes
Nikki Finke, however, reports that Paramount has picked up the project:

I’m told Spielberg and Jackson began looking other places for the money, and had just talked to Walden Media. But the pair were still waiting to hear back from Paramount (which hadn’t yet passed, contrary to what Radar wrote). Now my sources say parent company Viacom just offered the bigtime directors 100% Tintin financing. So it’s Spielberg/Jackson’s turn to get back to Paramount with a yea or nay.


BUT…see the comment section after the Finke item, where posters argue whether anyone in the US is really interested in a Tintin movie:

This is no “Alvin and the Chipmunks.” This is the next “The Rocketeer” or “The Shadow.”

Comments

  1. This means, according to Eller’s sources, that TINTIN would have to gross $425 million worldwide to break even. That’s a lot of coin for a movie that doesn’t directly appeal to teens and twentysomethings. Then again, Pixar’s RATATOUILLE pulled in close to that amount in foreign $$$ alone; if TINTIN is mostly an overseas phenomenon, I don’t see why Spielberg’s film can’t approach that number (provided it’s good).

    But movie studios don’t make movies just to “break even.”

    This is no “Alvin and the Chipmunks.” This is the next “The Rocketeer” or “The Shadow.”

    That’s probably about right.

  2. Am I the only one who’s kind of hoping this project dies? Some of the comments made by Jackson and Spielberg about the approach they’re planning to take seemed to me to be missing the point in a huge way.

  3. Steve Taylor says:

    If RATATOUILLE, without any previous product before the movie (as far as i know) can make these numbers then why couldn’t Tintin, which has decades of history of sales and fan recognition, to precede it? I wish i had the money to put into it.

  4. Capper says:

    Why does it cost $130 Million to make an animated movie? Even with the 3-D animation, ala Toy Story, that sounds like a lot of dough to me.

  5. Mark Coale says:

    And we know that Steven Moffat is now more working about Dr Who Season 5 than this movie or its sequels.

  6. Tom Spurgeon says:

    “Why does it cost $130 Million to make an animated movie?”

    For each and every frame, a new Snowy is to be filmed, rotoscoped and then drowned.

  7. Cyrion says:

    A huge element of Tintin is the Ligne Claire pioneered by Hergé, which – while it indubitably works well within the panel frame of a comic book – has not even worked particularly well even in traditional 2D animation. His way of expressing emotions with lines does not translate well into any other medium. But that is only part of the problem.

    The bigger part is that the Tintin stories have pretty served their purpose as “inspiration” for major movies already, be it the “plane crash on a strange island” (Lost), the “we will fly into outer space” (The Right Stuff, Apollo 13) or the “adventure in the mountains/jungle/etc (from Indiana Jones to the Mummy to whatever)

    The question is what a project that cannot look like the original books, that must have a plot line resembling any other blockbuster motion picture release of the past 20 years, what target audience a project like this is aimed for?

    Don’t get me wrong, I loved Tintin as a kid (heck, I am German, we grew up on a steady diet of Asterix and Spirou and Tintin), but I have no interest or desire to watch a mo-cap movie made from it.

  8. I’m sure Jackson and Spielberg are honest admirers of Hergé and his works, but I think their talents would be better applied elsewhere.

  9. michael says:

    I agree with Capper, 130 is a lot to get something made. BUT, it says it’s supposed to be 3-D, so….

    Maybe new tech costs more?

  10. I just don’t see the point of the motion capture. Obvious failure for Polar Express, obvious failure for Beowulf. We not either do live action, design-oriented 3D (a la Pixar), or a CG based on the line-based design of Herge?

    The motion capture serves only to stiffen the characters. The simplification of design for the primaries will be at odds with an unsimplified movement style.

  11. Steve Taylor says:

    I concur. No to motion capture. Too bad it can’t be something live action that sort of resembles the comic. It could be done. (All we’d have to worry about then would be Speilberg casting Robin Williams as Tintin.)

  12. I could see this one having US marketing appeal if it was entitled Tintin Comes To America, but otherwise I don’t see much chance of a Belgian cartoon character being a big box office draw. Too unfamiliar to Joe Six Pack.

    Maybe.. if it takes place in, oh, New York City, and Tintin arrives as an immigrant. Stares up at the Statue of Liberty and says “Gosh, tellement shoette!” Then, the dog spies a hotdog, oh, let’s make him more like Lassie. Those two guys with the black hats, they could be Amish… and Tintina, Tintin’s sister, is a gorgeous dame..

  13. John Tebbel says:

    Maybe he can discover the conspiracy at the hart of InBev and save Budweiser.

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