Toon developments

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It was a huge year for animated films — quantity was way up, while quality, depending on who you ask, was all over the place. Variety looks at the factors behind box office success for this years crop, revealing that timing was everything:

Successful toons tend to have very strong legs, dropping just 20%-30% each week. Those legs can get cut off, however, when another animated feature for families opens.

DreamWorks’ “Over the Hedge,” for instance, had a decent $38 million bow and declined less than 30% in its second and third weekends. In its fourth frame, however, “Cars” opened, and “Hedge” took a 50% hit, putting a big dent in its B.O. momentum.

Similarly, DWA’s “Flushed Away” went from a 12% drop in its second frame to a 60% drop in its third, when “Happy Feet” bowed.

Meanwhile, Cinematical looks at the increasingly competitive race for the Animated Oscar®. This year 16 films are eligible for a nomination.

Cartoons are a pixel’s-length away from taking the Academy by storm. Animated films this year have a serious increase in competitors, giving award voters a lot to choose from. As the Oscar watch warmsup, studios are wooing Academy members for their animated films as much as they are for Dreamgirls or Babel. This year there are sixteen animated features that are contenders for Best Animated Feature nominations. A category once dominated by Pixar and DreamWorks, the pool has now grown to include Fox, Sony and Warner Brothers.

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