Back to IndieWire

Adult Animation From DreamWorks? Don’t Count on It.

Adult Animation From DreamWorks? Don’t Count on It.

A financial analyst thinks that DreamWorks
should move away from the family-friendly fare that it’s produced up until now.
As exciting as that sounds, don’t count it just yet.

Building in a way on last week’s post, it’s
not hard to see why Steven Mallas at Seeking Alpha believes that DreamWorks
should enter the adult animation market.

For starters, the animation industry in
general is booming in all sectors, so why not grab as big a piece of that pie
as you can? Secondly, the company has been moving into other, non-traditional
segments of the market like YouTube’s AwesomenessTV, which is aimed at a
teenage instead of children’s audience. Between these two, it seems natural
that a move into adult animation would be a natural fit, right? Well, no. And
there are more than a few reasons why DreamWorks won’t be releasing an animated
film aimed at adults any time in the foreseeable future.

The very biggest reason is branding.
DreamWorks Animation has made a name for themselves as a family-oriented
producer akin to Pixar and Disney. To turn around and produce something that is
outside the usual fare is so incredibly risky, no studio would dare do it. Much
the same as when Disney created the Touchstone Pictures brand in order to produce
more adult-friendly films that wouldn’t tarnish the Disney brand, DreamWorks
would have to do something similar, and lose the appeal of the eponymous brand
in the process. As anyone will tell you, building a brand in this day and age
isn’t easy, or cheap!

On a more nuanced level, DreamWorks would
have to two financial implications to content with. The first is that adult
R-rated films take in (on average) far less money than ones aimed at all-ages.
This is no secret since a film that’s suitable for everyone will have a larger
potential audience than one whose viewing is restricted. The second is that
because potential revenues are lower, the cost of production would also have to
be lower. While this may not seem like a problem, in reality it would be.

Secondly, as a studio, DreamWorks is set
up, and run, as a studio that produces multi-million dollar films. Since an
adult-oriented film would bring in much less money, it’s budget would have to
be similarly smaller, and as a result it would have vastly different
requirements than every other film that passes through the studio. For
businesses, this is a headache since new infrastructure and processes need to
be created separate from the existing ones. That’s more time, money, and
resources that could be better spent elsewhere.

Finally, would we even want to see an adult animated film from DreamWorks?
The studio has done a more than admirable job of catering to kids and adults
alike so far with its films. Despite not being of quite the same caliber
of rival Pixar, they have nonetheless enticed adults to watch, and even become
fans! Chasing a niche audience is not what the studio needs at this point in
time, and even though the market for adult animation is growing, it’s still a
long way away from being strong enough to support studios as large as
DreamWorks.
    

This Article is related to: Features and tagged