After a less than spectacular release by Walt Disney Films, Frankenweenie has yet to make a profit in Domestic Box Office sales. Having sold a total of $33,554,600 in the U.S. with an estimated production cost of $39,000,000 it’s no wonder why the film industry doesn’t trust the medium of Stop Motion Animation as a viable profit making entity.
Yes, it’s true that Disney will make back their production expenses with the international release and eventual DVD and Digital sales, but in the film industry you typically need to make a profit within 3 weeks of theatrical release before the rest of the world recognizes you as a money making film.
So what went wrong? From a personal stand point, Disney’s Marketing team was horrible. After 3 months of hunting down the actual representative whom was in charge of promoting the film it was pointed out to myself that they would not be able to start marketing the film with publications (Interviews/articles) until 2 to 3 weeks before the film was released. From a magazine stand point this is unexceptionable. It usually takes that long to put together a layout for a single issue. The other problems that I noticed were the lack of interest and knowledge about the film from the marketing representatives. Basically Disney had no interest in this film in a marketing stand point and just assumed they were going to make the money back since it was a Tim Burton Film. Yes they posted on Billboards, in Newspapers, and a peanut display in the grocery store, but they didn’t realize no one cares about those avenues of advertising. What we want are articles about the artwork, a documentary on national television or cable tv station, or a simple amazing toy line in the local Toy’s R Us.
From personal experience they didn’t want to promote this film in a print medium. They just wanted to throw money at advertising and call it a day. This was a big mistake since Burtons fans want to know what is going on.
What I’m saying is they ignored a larger profit and greater overall audience appreciation for what turned out to be a magical film. Instead the film hasn’t as of November 8th made a profit. This is all according to Box Office Mojo (http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=daily&id=frankenweenie.htm), and IMDB (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1142977/business).
In this industry CGI has become the norm and stop motion has become more of a novelty rather then a valid medium. Yes there is a stop motion revolution happening, but when producers and studios throw films together thinking they will have the support just by using Billboard worthy names, they are greatly mistaken. In all actuality it is all about the Story, Performance, The Look and the Marketing Department promoting the film. If one of these things is off you can count on the film doing less then stellar performance.
In comparison ParaNorman (It was an Awesome Film!) has also as of yet been able to reach making back their estimated production costs of $60,000,000 with a total gross earning of $55,231,340 domestically. True, they will also make back what they spent to make the film in the long run, but without a proper stop motion block buster the stop motion industry will be left behind the rest of the pack.
Executive Producers take note, it’s your approach that makes the difference, not how much you spend but how much you care about your film.
P.S. We love Frankenweenie and it saddens us to see a lack of interest in the promotion of a beautiful film by the people whom paid to make it.