Sunday, October 28, 2007

Imagi:Challenging Pixar from China

一篇關於Imagi的有趣文章:Imagi:Challenging Pixar from China,以下是轉載自Ming在動畫筆記本內的翻譯版本

一年前,Tim Cheung 在人人夢想的地方 -DreamWorks Animation 製作 Shrek 系列長片,不過今天,這位35歲從德州來的美裔華人在香港郊區一棟舊倉庫中教新手如何製作電腦動畫,手下這54個動畫師中,有些之前作推銷,有些之前是工程師,還有一個之前在7-Eleven工作。香港或許是中國電影的中心,不過據 Cheung 指出,這些員工大部分缺乏經 驗,顯然香港並非製作動畫的理想環境,不過 Cheung 和其他從Imagi過來的人才將改變這樣的狀況,他們一直從好萊塢業界中延攬知名老將,其中許多來自 DreamWorks,這些人都將擔任領導的腳色,訓練 Imagi 的員工如何製作電腦動畫。

不過這不是個簡單的工作,Imagi 在 2000年時創立,它曾經是一家製作塑膠耶誕樹的公司,不過2002年時,工廠賣給了 Carlyle Group,並且將經營重心放在動畫上頭,之後在2004年他們替NBC製作了一齣叫作 Father of the Pride 的電視卡通,不過NBC數月後取消了這個節目。至此之後,Imagi 將目標放在大銀幕上,並在今年3月時推出了他們的首部動畫長片-忍者龜 (TMNT),影評有好有壞,雖然上映首週登上美國票房冠軍,不過這部影片迅速地流失掉它的觀眾,目前為止票房94 million,一家跨國投資集團- Goldman Sachs 在 4月的一個研究報告中指出,票房急遽下跌可能是因為影片是在香港而非好萊塢製作,因而犧牲了該有的品質。

在Imagi的首部 電影上映之前,投資人將它的股價往上膨脹,期望電影能夠因此獲得大勝,不過之後電影雖然表現不錯,卻不如預期中的優秀,股價應聲下跌。Douglas Glen,之前在Mattel當副總裁,目前擔任 Imagi 的 Co-chief Executive Officer和 Executive Director,他說,影片首映之前股價是有一些非理性的上揚,雖然之後股價下跌,不過TMNT還是可以稱作一部成功的電影,更何況它是第三部在美國票 房冠軍的亞洲電影。

有著製作預算上的優勢,Imagi打算贏得更好的成績,上個月底,Imagi 宣布與 Warner Bros 和Weinstein 的合作關係,在 TMNT 總製作預算的32.5 million中,這兩家好萊塢發行商就提供了27 million,他們宣布將發行另外兩部Imagi即將推出的影片,兩部均由非常知名的日本動畫改編而成,分別是 Gatchaman 和 AstroBoy。

Glen說那些對 Imagi 心存悲觀的投資者應該看看Imagi影片在香港製作的預算優勢,Imagi 就像其他好萊塢動畫公司, 使用一流的好萊塢導演、編劇還有設計師,不過勞力密集的工作都在香港製作,以便達到價格上的優勢,Glen 說,基本上我們是間好萊塢的公司,只是我們可以 付給員工加州一般薪水的1/6。Imagi 不是唯一一家試圖登陸美國市場的亞洲公司,先濤數位製作公司(Centro Digital Pictures) 是另外一個例子,它製作過昆丁塔倫提諾的 Kill Bill 中一些特效畫面,同時也和Disney共同製作長片寶葫蘆的秘密 (The Secret of the Magic Gourd),這部影片是 Disney 第一部與中國公司共同製作的長片。

還是有人懷疑這些本土 製作是否可以與好萊塢的大公司競爭,David Webb是其中一個,他說,不是每個人都可以成為Pixar,這是個競爭激烈的市場,不是贏就是輸,他之前一直將Boto列為年度最優股,不過最近他發現 Imagi 已經不再賺錢(去年虧損了9 million),忍者龜的熱潮並沒有持續太久,事實上自從他們結束賣聖誕樹的生意後,就一直在虧錢的狀態。但儘管如此 ,其他人還是對Imagi抱著正面的態度,Goldman的分析報告也說,我們相信Imagi還是可以獲利,只要他們接下來的影片可以達到跟 TMNT 一樣 的成績,關鍵在他們製作預算上的優勢,Imagi 每部影片平均花費35 million,這個價位比 Pixar 的94 million或是 DreamWorks 的130 million都低得多,所以Imagi每部影片應該都可以賺44 million。

Image 在好萊塢召兵買馬,也愈來愈多人加入他們的的團隊,10月時,Imagi宣布之前Mainframe Entertainment 的 Senior Vice-President, Ken Tsumura 將成為新的 Executive Vice-President,掌管製作部門,而 Jakob Jensen,一位在 DreamWorks 及 Disney 的老將,則將擔任 AstroBoy 的動畫指導。另外一個新員工就是 Cheung了,他將擔任 Vice-President for Animation,他說香港公司的氣氛就像 DreamWorks 在作 Shrek 第一集前一樣,在Imagi工作,就像在8或10年前在 DreamWorks 沒什麼差別。

閱讀原文
Imagi:Challenging Pixar from China
有關 動畫筆記本︰是近期喜歡的部落格,有很多有關動畫的資料及獨到的分析,喜歡動畫的朋友不要錯過。
◎imagi press release: Tim Cheung's Appointment: VP of Animation
imagi press release: Jakob Jensen Named Animation Director on AstroBoy
imagi press release: Ken Tsumura to Oversea Production at Imagi Hong Kong

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Felix, this is Andrew... How long will it be before seeing 1 rendered shot of a character for the movie gatchaman???

one finalized character shot... will we see one soon???? well anyway...just still waiting....I check back here everyday....

Later
Andrew

felixip said...

hey, Andrew, i know you can't wait to see the Gatchaman character... But i think probably you won't see it until the beginning of 2008, they are all until work in progress... >_<

Anonymous said...

#585 Go Go Go!

Anonymous said...

According to Murphy's Blog at:
http://the-5th-turtle.blogspot.com/2007/10/good-grief.html

The major sticking point to a TMNT sequel would seem to be Warner Bros handling of the marketing of TMNT, it was obvious they lost interest in TMNT once 300 became a massive hit. What assurances in terms of marketing and distribution are Imagi looking for from Warner Bros, and how far apart are the two companies in reaching an agreement.

Also, how differently will Warner Bros handle the marketing and distribution of Gatchaman and Astroboy?

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed with WB's marketing work on TMNT... you can told how bad they did on the DVD cover. Actually there was a argument on the main target audience...
Maybe they don't have confidence on TMNT at the beginning, they just spent minimal amount of budget on TMNT marketing. However, WB make pretty good money from TMNT.

for Gatchaman and Astroboy, the amount they will spend is totally different, a way much more and Imagi will much more bargaining power to fight for this time.

Anonymous said...

I know earlier on that TMNT producers and director were told a big factor in deciding if TMNT would get a sequel or not would be if TMNT got 100 million domestic boxoffice, the fact that TMNT only got half of that yet WB still wants to do a sequel is a clear sign that WB knew they made a mistake, despite their marketing TMNT still manage to be #1 at the boxoffice against several more heavily marketed films, something WB probably never expected.


A good thing about Gatchaman is that it is PG-13, even though movie studios hate PG-13 animated movies, it is clearly going for the older market that remembers the old cartoon shows, the same type of crowd that made Transformers a hit, and not the smaller boys action cartoon market which has never proven to be sucessful.

Anonymous said...

If Warner Bros. and the Weinstein Co. contributed 27 million to the production of TMNT, how much was given to the marketing budget?

felixip said...

i don't know how much was given to TMNT marketing, but the it's clear that they under spent relative to the potential of the movie...and failing to support the film after a strong opening weekend because monsy spent poorly and running the ads on babdly target media. As i know, in some key markets in overseas, they hardly spent anything at all.

Anonymous said...

Concerning overseas markets, I'm curious as to why TMNT wasn't released in Japan? TMNT seemed to to perform nicely in South Korea and China, coompared to some other places in the world.

felixip said...

they did't think TMNT will do good in Japan...This is why i think WB is look down on TMNT

Anonymous said...

That's insane Arthur and the Invisibles made over 4 million in Japan, and yet a CGI action movie with ninjas isn't expected to do as well?

TMNT would have made that much just from curious fans wanting to see the work of Imagi, the company doing Astroboy and Gatchaman.

I wouldn't be surprised if WB thought Astroboy and Gatchaman were not suitable for the Japanese market, and decided not to release them in Japan.

felixip said...

we don't have any control on that during TMNT at all... this time I believe that we will push the release in Japan for sure.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...