Sony Pictures Animation , 10th Anniversary

July 24, 2012

10 years. Did anyone know at the time just how important Sony Pictures Animation was going to be for the future of the company? That Imageworks was going to become an animation studio with a shrinking presence in traditional vfx? With Amazing Spiderman and MIB3, there is still some business coming from the Lot. But in the future, Imageworks is the business.

Look at our success so far with SPA’s ideas (worldwide grosses):

Open Season September 29, 2006 $197,309,027
Surf’s Up June 8, 2007 $149,044,513
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs September 18, 2009 $243,006,126
The Smurfs July 29, 2011 $563,749,323
Arthur Christmas November 23, 2011 $147,419,472
The Pirates! Band of Misfits April 27, 2012 $114,462,477

We all got an email from Michael and Amy a few months ago that had this note about Sony Pictures Entertainment:

“Our division closed the year with record revenues and our seventeenth consecutive year of contributing positively to Sony’s operating income.”

How much more of an endorsement do you need as to your value to the company?

Did everyone see the Comic-Con press announcements of the things SPA is developing? It looked to us like Imageworks is an animation studio.

Look at this list on wikipedia of everything we are working on:

Hotel Transylvania September 28, 2012
The Smurfs 2 July 31, 2013
Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers February 7, 2014
The Familiars
The Smurfs 3 July 24, 2015
Popeye
RollerCoaster Tycoon
Futuropolis
Make My Own Monster
Muncle Trogg
How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack
Instant Karma
Chickenhare
Harold and the Purple Crayon
How to Live Forever
Secret Histories
Untitled David Sussman Project
Pooch Café
Untitled Tonka Trucks movie
Kazorn & The Unicorn
ALF
Manimal

Even if you cross off the obvious “not going to happen” ones, that’s still a ton of product.

But no one who will actually make those movies will get any residuals or share in their success, except for one important exception. 5% of the revenue from DVD ,Blu-Ray, and other sales go into the Motion Picture and Television Fund. Those are the residuals you aren’t getting put into your retirement account or paying for health insurance. Those residuals go to the voice actors, producers, writers, and the 38 artists that work for Sony Pictures Animation.

During Hotel T , Imageworks artists are working on the other side of a cubicle from SPA artists, while earning inferior benefits. We’ve already written about how nearly every other crew member on Sony productions gets better benefits than Imageworks employees do.

We aren’t alone, PDI and Nick CG you are getting the same raw deal. Part of your company earns benefits from the work you’ve done, and it isn’t your part.

How many more films will you work on before the axe falls one day and you can’t get health insurance?

How many more days will you come in sick because you can’t afford to not get payed for a day?

How much longer will you be working with no pension benefits?

How much longer will you stay late and work hard for the benefits of other divisions that you will not share in?

Rep cards are still valid after leaving the company.

This process doesn’t happen overnight.

(Are we going to have this conversation again when Cloudy 3 and Popeye 2 go into production)?