Thursday, April 13, 2006

 

Madagascar vs. The Wild

It's already being called Badagascar and Madagascar-lite. That's because the newest Walt Disney computer animated film, The Wild -- a movie about a lion, a giraffe, and their animal friends escaping from a New York zoo, only to end up on a wild island with dance-loving natives -- is reminiscent last year's Madagascar, a film about a lion, a giraffe, and their animal friends escaping from a New York zoo, only to end up on a wild island with dance-loving natives. Both films even invoke the song "New York, New York" -- Madagascar by verbal reference in the film itself, and The Wild as the tagline on the poster, "Start Spreading the News-paper." As I pointed out some months ago, right here at "Movies on My Mind," this is not that uncommon of a trend in Hollywood. With rare exception (Big was one), the latter film released does not fare as well. Dreamworks -- the studio behind Madagascar (as well as the Shrek films) -- is the only animation studio truly giving Disney a run for its money these days. The Ice Age franchise, from 20th Century Fox, is surely a contender, but Fox has not been able to make a non-Ice Age film fly yet. Are ideas actually so scarce in Hollywood that two films, so similar, are released within a year -- from two different studios? Are these creative minds operating in a vacuum? Surely the idea of Madagascar was floating around when The Wild was being thought up...or vice versa. I refuse to believe that neither creative team had no awareness of the other's idea. As one critic pointed out, the lesson here is, "the early bird gets the boxoffice."

Comments:
Madagascar is actually taken from The Wild. Although Mad. was released sooner, that's because The Wild's animation is much more detailed and was still in production. The Wild was in production first.
 
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