Netflix has risen to become an entertainment juggernaut that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Warner Bros. or the Walt Disney Company. As a result, many companies are looking to replicate Netflix’s success - particularly established Hollywood studos.
A couple weeks ago, we posted a blog about Disney's upcoming streaming service, and how they are planning some big-name releases for it. It seems that eleven years after Netflix introduced its services, digital streaming is definitely here to stay. That is not to say, though, that its effects are not fully realized. Digital streaming has enabled a convergence of different outlets, blurring the lines between different distribution services. For any entertainment firm to survive in this new age, it needs to take steps to understand this convergence.
Much has been said about Netflix and others' impact on filmmaking. Just a couple weeks ago, Steven Spielberg spoke about the matter, saying that films that release on streaming platforms should not be allowed to be considered for the Oscars. Instead he insisted they should only be considered for Emmy Awards. His concern grew out of the fact that it's increasingly difficult for filmmakers "to raise money, or to compete at Sundance and possibly get one of the specialty labels to release their films theatrically." Christopher Nolan has also criticized the practice, saying that it takes away from the theatrical experience.
It doesn't change the fact though that more and more, studios are turning to streaming services as more than just secondary distribution after a theatrical or television run. It's now a primary distribution outlet, with original series made by both the streaming companies and established studios. Just this year, Annihilation opened to a domestic theatrical run, while simultaneously launching on Netflix abroad. Films and television now rub elbows on computer screens around the world. As a result, they're beginning to look awfully similar...
Take for example the question of budgets. This past December, Netflix released Bright on its platform, an urban fantasy film that cost about $90 million to produce. That's the same budget as the smash hit Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle which hit theaters about the same time. Made for TV films have historically carried far less production value than their theatrical counterparts, but that gap is starting to disappear. Even looking at serials, budgets are ballooning. For example, in season six of Game of Thrones, each episode cost roughly $10 million to make. Contrast that with films like 2017's Split, with only a $5 million budget.
Serials themselves pose a myriad of other questions. Some have neat little thirty-minute episodes that all tie together, quite distinguishable from stand-alone films. Some, however, boast hour-long episodes that feel cinematic in their own right. In any case, films often connect into series as well. How great is the difference between, say, Batman Begins/The Dark Knight/The Dark Knight Rises and Gotham episodes 1-3? And what about series, such as Black Mirror, where the episodes do not connect at all?
Film and television have evolved as media for decades, changing to fit their environment and viewers. The two-parter episode, the cinematic universe, so many ways have been found to manipulate the media to deliver unique experiences. In the past, they tried to distinguish themselves through methods ranging from outlandish (TV sweepstakes and better theater experiences) to the mundane (tweaking aspect ratios to be unwatchable in other formats). The reason we should care about the convergence of television and film into streaming is because we can now find even more ways to tell better stories. Anthologies can be assembled and released simultaneously, for example. It poses new challenges as well; television producers can't listen to feedback on early parts of their seasons and use it to alter later parts, everything must be released at once. Streaming, in a way, has become a medium of its very own, and it may be a decade or even more until its potential is realized. Like it or dislike it, it must be considered as a force to be reckoned with today.
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It's only the 1st month in 2018 and there's already so much going on in the animation industry! Here is a few things that have come and yet to come in the month of January! Stay tuned for a round-up for every month this year!
1. Animation at the Golden Globes!
So many great animated features were nominated for "Best Animated Feature Film" at the Golden Globes.
- Boss Baby, which was released on March 31, 2017 by 20th Century Fox and produced by DreamWorks Animation.
- Breadwinner, which was released on November 17, 2017 by GKIDS, Elevation Pictures and Studio Canal. It was also produced by numerous production companies, including: Cartoon Saloon, Aircraft Pictures, Guru Studios, Jolie Pas, Irish Film Board, Melusine Productions and Telefilm Canada.
- Ferdinand, which was released on December 10, 2017 by 20th Century Fox and produced by Blue Sky Studios, 20th Century Fox Animation and Davis Entertainment.
- Loving Vincent, which was released on October 13, 2017 in the United States by Altitude Film Distribution and Next Film. It was produced by BreakThru Productions and Trademark Films.
And the one that took home the Golden Globe, Coco, which was released on November 22, 2017 by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios!
2. Animated Features in January!
Paddington 2 was released on January 12, 2018 by Studio Canal and produced by Heyday Films, Studio Canal, Canal+ and Ciné+! The journey of a whimsical teddy bear who goes through a series of jobs to save up money for a pop-up book he falls in love with. When the book is stolen, he embarks on a different search, Paddington sets forth to unmask the thief!
Check out the trailer here!
3. Animated Series in January!
On Netflix there's a few TV Animated Kids' Shows, including: Trolls: The Beat Goes On!, Llama Llama, and The Adventures of Puss in Boots Season 6.
As you know, Animated Series are not just for children, Netflix also has a few other animated series released, including: Devilman Crybaby, which started January 5, 2018, an adaptation of the comic Devilman by Go Nagai. There is also a long list of other Anime being released on Crunchyroll that you can find here!
4. New Animation Competition
Launched by Studio Art&Graft, "7 Second Sins" is a competition where all animations must be 7 seconds long and must reinterpret the assigned sin for the month. The first deadline being January 27, 2018 and on "Pride" with purple as the color palette.
If you're interested in joining in on the competition, check out the rules and deadlines here!
5. Animation Programs for Students
There is also a lot going on for animation students all over the world. New programs, improved programs, and tuition free animation programs!
The Sunrise Animation Studio in Japan has a free animation training program that you can find out more about here! Paris, France also provides a similar opportunity with TeamTO at the animation school La Poudrière in Bourg-lès-Valence, which is right next to their studio!
Plus a whole long list of more of these new and improved programs here!
Stay up to date on more news in animation on all our social media platforms!
Need something new to watch on Netflix? Keep an eye out for these new animated series that will be launching within the next year!
If you enjoy watching "The Simpsons" and "Futurama", Matt Groening is stirring a little something that may just be the perfect new animated series for you to get into. "Disenchantment" is being prepared to launch on Netflix in 2018. Set in a “crumbling medieval kingdom of Dreamland,” a “hard-drinking young princess Bean" and her fantasy creature campions!
Read more about who the voices for the characters will be here.
Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters
A toy that was originally introduced in 1976 is being produced by Netflix and Hasbro as a new animated series that will be launched at the end of 2017. Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters is about three friends, who turn an accident into an adventure. An experimental chemical changes their lives, but for the better...for everyone!
Read more about it here.
Godzilla: Monster Planet
In the 60 years the monster has been around, this will be the first animated series for Godzilla. Set in the year 2048, humans will try to win back the planet that was taken away from them by monsters. It may not look like the Godzilla we're used to, but they are hoping it can be enjoyed by old fans as well as a new generation of fans. Look for it in November 2017!
Check out the trailer here.
Of course, there are so many more exciting animated shows launching on Netflix soon. Click here for a full list of premieres.