Last Thursday, major news hit the animation scene. Tech giant Apple announced its intent to produce a feature-length animated film. Apple has been starting to offer its own original content, and the news is that they're in talks with Cartoon Saloon for a production that could possibly even get a theatrical release. Not only does this signal a player with major financial resources coming into the industry, but it also demonstrates a trend of convergence happening among media.
Apple's brand needs no introduction: the smartphone/computer giant has been the talking point of the economy for decades. Cartoon Saloon, however, also has its own impressive accolades. The Irish studio has compiled a filmography including The Secret of the Kells, Song of the Sea, and The Breadwinner. All three films earned nominations for the Best Animated Feature Academy Award, and won several other awards. Apple has not yet struck a deal with them; however, the fact that they are approaching signals that Apple wants to hit hard with this film. Partnering with a studio who produces such critical hits could help give them a reputation for quality.
Now this isn't the first time Apple has had connections to major animation projects. After leaving Apple in the 1980s, Steve Jobs famously bought the computing department of LucasFilm and converted it into Pixar. The studio just set the record this past weekend for the biggest opening of an animated movie with $180 million. Apple's imprint on the animation world is still being felt - and now they could be making another one if the deal with Cartoon Saloon goes through.
This goes beyond just Apple and Cartoon Saloon though. This is part of a massive convergence of the media market. Distributors like Netflix have been making original programs for years now, and Amazon is planning to join in. Disney, a content provider, is preparing its own distribution network. Now Apple, the hardware company with two distribution channels to its name (iTunes and Apple TV) plans to step into the ring of content. It's a process of vertical integration: if firms can control each stage of the process, from content creation to viewer consumption, they can tweak the experience to be unique and exclusive. It's a key part of an industry unlike any other. Consumer goods can compete on cost and speed; media relies on selling an experience that no one else can match.
Apple's steps into animation aren't for sure yet, but even then they've made waves. Partnering with Cartoon Saloon could potentially give them a stellar opening into the industry. If all goes to plan, the film will release in 2019, a short timeline; if they manage a theatrical release, then 2020 could see an Apple-brand film submitted for Academy consideration. It also shows a new content producer coming in from distribution - and more content is always a boon for audiences. We should make sure to keep our eye on Apple, and see what comes of this potential partnership.
Eric Miller Animation Studios is dedicated to crafting heartfelt stories and compelling visuals through 3D computer graphics, offering design and VFX for advertising, gaming, TV & film production. We work with the best animation talent in the industry to deliver visually stunning imagery. Big or small, we can bring any character or story to life.