by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
In June, my review of The Art of Cars 3 was posted here. In it, I said:
“It has been acknowledged that these “art of” books featuring animated films are money-losers, subsidized by the advertising budgets for those films, made for the promotion of those films and for the morale of the artists and technical crews that produced them. The Art of Cars 3 is full of the art of the animators, layout artists, production designers, story artists, digital renderers, graphic designers, modelers, and others who created Cars 3 .”
I had gotten that information – about the art-of animation books being money-losers that were published for their movie’s advertising and for their production staff’s morale – from a February 2017 story by Amid Amidi on the Cartoon Brew website. It was about Illumination Entertainment’s animated films — the Despicable Me franchise, The Secret Life of Pets, and Sing. The pertinent paragraphs were:
“Among the things that Illumination Entertainment does differently from other major animation studios is they don’t produce art-of/making-of books for each of their films.
From a business perspective, it makes sense. Most art-of books don’t make their money back, have limited reach, and add unnecessary costs to a film’s marketing budget. But they do have intangible benefits, like boosting morale among studio employees and helping build stronger relationships with the studio’s most passionate fans. I might agree that it doesn’t make sense to create an art-of book for every film, but perhaps Illumination could publish an anniversary art-of book at some point. Their tenth film is coming up in 2019, while 2020 will mark ten years since the release of their first film. Both of those dates seem like ideal milestones.”
April Whitney, the publicist at Chronicle Books for The Art of Cars 3, took exception to that statement. She said that Chronicle’s “art of” de luxe animation books, which cover most Disney•Pixar animated features, sell very well and are not, as I implied, subsidized by Disney’s marketing department.