Among global audiences, anime has evolved from niche to normalized, counting celebrities from Michael B. Jordan to Ariana Grande among its fans. Just this week, The Association of Japanese Animations (AJA) announced the Nippon industry saw a record-breaking$19.1 billion (￥2.15 trillion) in revenue in 2017, fuelled by overseas sales to streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, alongside Chinese entertainment giants. Sales from outside Japan hit a new high of $8.81... Read more »
Top Animation News: Animation Career Camp, Oscars, Amazon and more!
Top Animation News is a weekly column that rounds up the biggest, best and breaking stories from the world of animation. This edition covers March 02 to 09, 2018.1. Two Toon Boom Animation Career Camps this month!
The global animation industry was worth $254 billion in 2017, with demand for original content from subscription video on-demand services creating a global need for talent at all levels of production. Toon Boom Animation Career Camps help professional animators set themselves apart and be hireable today —and tomorrow— by future-proofing their animation skill sets through specialization and certification. This month, there will be two upcoming editions in Vancouver (Vancouver Film School, March 17-18) and Los Angeles (Nickelodeon Studios, March 24-25).
2. Amazon gets into adult animation with BoJack Horseman creator.
Netflix has cornered the adult animation market with titles like BoJack Horseman (produced in Storyboard Pro by ShadowMachine Animation), Big Mouth and F is For Family (produced in Storyboard Pro and Harmony by Big Jump), though Amazon appears to be challenging that lead with Undone. The new half-hour sci-fi series is currently in production with a premiere set for next year. Of interest, it’s also the brainchild of BoJack Horseman creator Bob-Waksberg — a move that is sure to irk Netflix.
Check out Undone and Amazon’s adult animation aspirations on “Film School Rejects”.
3. Coco wins Best Animated Feature at Oscars 2018.
To little surprise, Pixar’s critical and commercial darling, Coco, took home the top prize at last Sunday’s 90th Academy Awards. It has already swept across awards season, winning big at the Golden Globes, Annie Awards and BAFTAs, among others. Directed by Lee Unkrich, the Mexican Day of the Dead-centred film beat out Loving Vincent, The Boss Baby, Ferdinand and The Breadwinner (produced in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro). Coco brought in $750 million internationally, making it 2017’s second-highest grossing animated feature after Despicable Me 3.
For the full analysis on Coco’s 2018 Oscars win, visit “The Guardian”.
4. …but why don’t 2D indie flicks ever win Best Animated Feature?
Since the first Best Animated Feature award was presented at the 2002 Oscars, Disney and Pixar have won it 11 times. Much of this has to do with the category being dominated by big-budget, family-oriented 3D content. That said, animation is still not given the creative credence it deserves from the Academy, which is largely composed of live-action filmmakers. “There’s the obvious problem of animation being viewed more as a genre than merely a medium viable for telling stories in any genre,” says Duke Johnson, co-director of Anomalisa.
Read this brilliant thought-piece on “Fast Company”.
5. University of Technology Sydney becomes Toon Boom’s first Australian COE.
Toon Boom is growing its international influence and reach by adding its first Centre of Excellence (COE) in Australia, University of Technology Sydney (UTS). It offers a Bachelor of Design in Animation, with Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and Harmony constituting its 2D tool set. UTS typically produces over 100 short films per semester, with a focus on character and story-driven work.
Educate yourself on University of Technology Sydney’s animation program on the UTC website.
6. International 2D animated features having a renaissance in U.S. theatres.
In the last two months, six international animated features from three continents have received a release in U.S. cinemas. On the list are Early Man (U.K.), Mary and the Witch’s Flower (Japan), Bilal: A New Breed of Hero (United Arab Emirates), Condorito: The Movie (Peru), Have A Nice Day (China) and Tehran Taboo (Germany). Of note is most of them are 2D animated, a stark difference from the usually 3D-dominated American market.
See the box office breakdown on “Cartoon Brew”.
Source: Kim Kardashian Instagram.
7. Oh, no! Anime counts Kim Kardashian among its fans.
Pop culture enigma Kim Kardashian is the latest celebrity to declare her love anime, pushing the medium closer to the mainstream. The star declared, “I am obsessed with anime” in a tweet on February 28, and has since claimed to model her hair on Zero Two from Darling in the Franxx. Kardashian endorsements generally mean something is beneficial to their brand, proving anime’s growing cultural and commercial value. “A possible consequence is that anime may become a less exotic/interesting hobby for long-term fans,” says Kristin Castillo, VP of strategy at Trendera.
Get on-trend with anime’s new cool factor on “Broadly”.
8. Nickelodeon is using VR and AR to keep kids’ attention.
In an effort to combat Netflix and YouTube, Nickelodeon is turning to technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) with its apps for the 2018-19 season. It has also announced over 800 original episodes from new and returning series, a 20 percent increase over the year prior. Among them are a reboot of Blues Clues, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (produced in Toon Boom Harmony)and Los Casagrandes, a diversity-focused spin-off of The Loud House.
Toon into Nickelodeon’s 2018-19 plans on “Engadget”.
9. Here comes the biggest slate ever from Cartoon Network.
Cartoon Network will be doing a massive push for the 2018-19 season, with five new series, 30 apps and major investments in podcasts, AR and VR. There is a strong focus on diversity, with the fresh shows including Victor and Valentino, a supernatural comedy following a pair of half-brothers in Latin America, and the female-led Infinity Train. Among the returning series are Adventure Time, The Powerpuff Girls and Steven Universe, which will also see 10 new episodes of its popular podcast. Head over to “The Hollywood Reporter” for more on Cartoon Network’s 2018-19 season.
10. China’s Bilibili has American IPO plans.
Leading Chinese animation streaming service Bilibili is looking to sell some shares stateside, with a goal of raising $400 million in capital. It hasn’t given its stock a price yet, though what is known is it had revenues of $379 million last year (and losses of $28.2 million) and is growing quickly. Bilibili had 72 million active users in the last quarter of 2017, 82 percent of whom were born between 1990 and 2000. This is just the latest in China’s growing commitment to cartoons.
Explore Bilibili’s IPO interests on “Variety”.
What Top Animation News were you most excited about this week? Was there something we forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments below!
Banner image credit: Netflix.