With summer vacation approaching an end, the box office of
Japan's animated movie Doraemon has topped 5 million yuan
(US$650,000) in its first week, and America's Transformers
has brought in over 260 million yuan (US$34 million) since its
mid-summer release; however, Chinese animated movies are not faring
The Shanghai Animation Film Studio invested 10 million yuan in
its film Warrior, but has so far only seen 5 million yuan
in box office sales. Though the China-US jointly produced
Secret of the Magic Gourd earned 20 million yuan at the
box office, the result does not inspire pride when compared with
the revenue of foreign movies.
A manager from one animation company, Guo Jie, said that the
lack of famous directors, scriptwriters, and marketing staff is the
main reason behind China's slow progress in animated movies.
He says China has enough animation producers, having been the
processing workshop for many Hollywood blockbuster movies including
Tarzan, Toy Story, and Finding Nemo. But
producing is just one part of finishing a movie, and a successful
movie also needs a good story and marketing promotion.
A good and creative story is a base, while marketing will allow
more audiences to know of the products. He criticized the
low-profile promotion of Warrior, because, "When it
premiered in cinemas, audiences knew almost nothing about it."
Chairman of the China Animation Association's Beijing Branch, Li
Zhongqiu, stressed the importance of famous directors. "China needs
famous directors, like Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige, to upgrade the
profile of the animation industry. Good directors and script
writers will help change the present situation."
Duan Jia, Professor from the Animation institute of the Beijing
Film Academy, called attention to the art of animation, saying that
it is often undervalued in China. In America, however, many
animated movies are more profitable than live-action features. Many
famous Hollywood directors have even branched out to direct
animated movies as well.
(CRI.cn August 15, 2007)