Friday, 31 August 2012

Hollywood Babble On & On #948: Oogieloves Get No Love

Kenn Viselman is the man who brought British children's TV sensations The Teletubbies and others to North America.

He's also, barring a miracle, just lost a shit-load of money on his independently produced family feature The Oogieloves In The Big Balloon Adventure. The $20+ million film currently holds the record for the lowest per-screen average of a wide release movie on its opening night with approximately $47 per screen.

That is a take that sucks donkey balls.

Now you're probably wondering how this could have happened. No one goes out to make a bomb. Everyone goes into the making of the film hoping that it will be a hit, and often it's the desire to make a film a "guaranteed hit" is what sucks out all the appeal of it.

I suspect that's what happened here, with a healthy dash of ego-blindness.

The producer has had enormous success with the Teletubbies and other toddler-friendly franchises on TV, so he probably thinks that making and selling a feature film directed at toddlers will be a natural progression.

It all looks good on paper, and probably sounds great at the pitch meeting.

Except in reality, it's a disaster waiting to happen.

The key problem: Targeting toddlers.

Toddlers don't go to the movies by themselves. No matter how much you yell at them, they don't drive and they can't buy their own tickets because they don't have their own credit cards.

They need to be taken to the movies by their parents.

That's the key.

Now selling a TV show to toddlers is EXTREMELY different from selling a feature film to toddlers. A parent can turn on a TV show, and go read a book, listen to music, or more likely, spend the time cleaning up after their little bastard spawn. They don't have to watch, let alone participate in the TV show their toddler is watching.

A theatrical feature film is different. 

Parents cannot do chores, read books, or chat on the phone with their illicit lovers during a movie for toddlers. They have to sit there and watch the frigging movie, and they're already edgy from packing the little shits into the minivan, finding a parking space, and paying for tickets and snacks.

If you're going to get the parents to go through all that trouble, and sit through your movie, you're going to have to have something for them.

That's what Disney/Pixar and to a lesser extent Dreamworks do. They deliver the sights and sounds that pleases the rugrats while entertaining the parents with stories, characters, and humor.

Oogieloves promises something for toddlers and only toddlers.

No parent is going to pay good money for 90 minutes of creepy neon-colored humanoids when they're not allowed to watch it while high without getting the cops and social workers involved.

The fact that the people behind this film didn't realize that is why they're now out $20 million in production money, plus millions more in prints and advertising.


  1. Does this beat the record set by Delgo?

  2. Rainforest Giant here,

    Furious nailed this one. I care for my toddling giant grandson (he really is huge he wears boys 6-8) and there is no way Oogieloves would be on the program. Now in a few months I will be taking him to see The Freshbeat Band for his third birthday.

    First I get to look at the hot Cuban chick without seeming creepy. Second, I get to watch my grandson sing and dance along which is the exact opposite of a movie. Parents are supposed to keep the monsters quiet at a movie. That is for the most part no longer practiced by the parents when they go to movies without the kids so I don't know why I should expect anything different but I do.

    Anyway this had bomb tattooed on its forehead from the get go. Maybe with the money sucked away from the monster we'll see less crap like Teletubbies in the future. Those thing are deeply creepy.

  3. No matter how much you yell at them, they don't drive and they can't buy their own tickets because they don't have their own credit cards.

    I think you've hit the nail on the head here. Judging by the first movie my parents took me to, what's needed is a good ol fashion war story with lots of explosions and armored vehicles. Worked for them, worked for me.

  4. Furious,

    Have you heard Kira (sp?) Sedgewick's comments about flyover country? She dared to point out that there was a world beyond the coasts and that they hold different opinions. The kid from 'American Pie' works on a Nickelodeon show and Nick has been liking to his filthy twitter feed. Any downside for Nick or are we already too decadent?

    Finally, with all the talk about comics anything new on that front esp. Arrow?

    Rainforest Giant