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Are American Animated Films Losing Their Americanism?

Are American Animated Films Losing Their Americanism?

America has long
been a powerful force
in the field of
animated feature films. Even
if the films themselves
were based on European
tales and books, their
country of origin manages
to shine through in
other ways (the voices
being the usual dead

However, with Independence
Day almost upon us,
Fast Company have, in
their latest issue, an
article about summer sequels
. Of the
six films listed, two
are animated and one
is a hybrid (The
Smurfs 2).

What was interesting
to note though, was
that they have broken
down the box office
revenues for each and
surprisingly enough, all
three performed better abroad
than in the USA
and all three did
not have strong American

That begs the
question: are American animated
features losing their American

Consider Cars 2
(one of the names
on the list). The
original film was a
financial (if not critical)
success and was a
sure-fire blue-blooded American film.
(It had a NASCAR
theme after all.) Flip
over to the sequel,
and suddenly, Lightning McQueen
and crew can’t seem
to get out of
America and see the
world fast enough.

Looking at things
another way, consider DreamWorks
Monsters Vs Aliens from
2009. It only made 48% of
its box office
take from
overseas. While there is
little to fault in
the film itself, there
is the sneaking suspicion
that the very much
gun-ho Americana and militaristic
themes throughout may have
been a turn-off for
foreign audiences. The result:
a rare once-off film
from DreamWorks. 

A more recent example is Monsters University, whose story
relies upon the very concept of university life as seen through American eyes.
Although it has yet to open in all markets, international gross is currently
only 43% of the total! 

However to single
out Monsters Vs. Aliens and Monsters
is to admit
that overt American themes
are not so welcome
abroad. That would be
absurd. American animated films
regardless of their story
and characters have been
imbued with American ideals
and themes that have
been more than accepted
abroad for many decades.

What is of
concern is that American
animated feature films are
starting to pander to
political correctness, and instead
of portraying any kind
of strong, cultural base,
opt instead for something
safe that requires minimal
effort no matter what
market it is shown

In this era
where cultural diversity is
being celebrated, animated feature
films, and American ones
at that, seem most
prone to shedding their
origin for sake of
an easy ride at
the box office.

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