Sunday, January 21, 2018

Later January Box Office

And then there are those live-action movies that just have your standard-issue VFX. No fuzzy teddy bears, no rampaging jungle animals, just lots and lots of explosions. LOTS of explosions.

Jumanji appears to have a death grip on #1, while Paddington 2 clings to the sixth rung of the Top Ten.

Three Days of Grosses

1.) Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (SONY), 3,704 theaters (-145) / $4.85M Fri. (-19%) / $9.5M Sat. (+96%) / $5.68M Sun. (-40%) / 3-day: $19.75M to $20M (-29%) / Total cume: $316.7M / Wk 5

2.) 12 Strong (WB/ALC), 3,002 theaters / $5.6M Fri. / $6.8M Sat. (+21%) / $3.75M Sun. (-45%) / 3-day: $16.2M / Wk 1

3.) Den of Thieves (STX), 2,432 theaters / $5.65M Fri. / $6M Sat. (+7%) / $2.5M to $3M Sun. (-42% to 50%) / 3-day: $14.7M to $15M+ / Wk 1

4.) The Post (FOX/DW), 2,851 theaters (+32) / $3.5M Fri. (-41%) / $5.5M Sat. (+59%) / $3M (-45%) / 3-day: $12.1M (-37%) / Total: $45.19M / Wk 5

5.) The Greatest Showman (FOX), 2,823 theaters (-115) / $3M Fri. (-2%) / $4.9M (+66%$) / $2.9M (-40%) / 3-day: $10.9M (-12%) / Total: $113.39M / Wk 5

6.) Paddington 2 (WB), 3,702 theaters / $1.785M Fri. (-26%) / 3-day: $8.3M (-25%) / $3.9M Sat. (+122%) / $2.5M Sun. (35%) / Total: $25M / Wk 2

7.) The Commuter (LG), 2,892 theaters / $2M Fri. (-55%) / $3.1M Sat. (+59%) / $1.7M Sun. (-45%) / 3-day: $6.7M (-50%) / Total: $25.8M / Wk 2

8.) Star Wars: The Last Jedi (DIS), 2,456 theaters (-634) / $1.6M Fri. (-38%) / $3.158M Sat. (+95%) / $1.7M Sun. (-45%) / 3-day: $6.6M (-45%) / Total: $604.25 M / Wk 6

9.) Insidious: The Last Key (UNI), 2,546 theaters (-604) / $1.8M Fri. (-48%) / $2.7M Sat. (+55%) / $1.39M Sun. (50%) / 3-day: $5.96M (-52%) / Total: $58.7M / Wk 3

10.) Forever My Girl (RSA), 1,115 theaters / $1.46M Fri. / $1.8M Sat. (+24%) / $1M Sun. (-40%) / 3-day: $4.29M to $4.38M / Wk 1

Coco has now reached the $200 million plateau in the U.S. and Canada, even as it drops to #18. Globally it's made $655,927,300.

Ferdinand (#20) will momentarily cross the $80 million mark domestically. (The bull has earned a worldwide total of $234,846,216.)

Meantime, Paddington 2, in a slow roll-out since last Fall,has now made $172,220,523, 85% of its world take.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Will Indie Animated Features Get Elbowed Aside?

Sam Summers at Vox is concerned:

... [T]his year, as the result of a controversial rule change, voting for the Academy's Best Animated Feature nominations will also be opened up to any member who wishes to participate.

This could mean a significant shift in focus for a category with a history of reaching outside the Hollywood studio system for its nominees, and one that plays a big part in raising the profile of foreign, independent, and stylistically diverse animation.

Until the rule change last Spring, independent animated features grabbed nominations because the nominating committees exerted a lot of control, and committee members liked indie features. This (apparently) didn't sit well with entertainment conglomerates (cough ... Warner Bros. ... cough) that found their big-budget movies shut out of the race for a shiny gold trophy. And the Academy, which has an obvious mission to keep the power players in Tinsel Town happy, hustled to correct the problem.

It might be a little premature to say that the rule change will mean Scooby Doo Gets a Dalmation In Trouble will gain a nomination while The Red Turtle will lose one, but it probably makes the commercial crowd-pleasers more viable in the Motion Picture Academy sweepstakes.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Martin Luther King Box Office

"Paddington 2", released across the U.S. this weekend, has already done good business on the rest of the globe. Worldwide the picture has earned $135,855,213, (92.2% of its grand total).

The partially animated Jumanji remains at the top of the List, while the partially animated "Paddington" debuts in the 7th position while Ferdinand and Coco are out of the Top Ten.

FOUR DAYS OF GROSSES

1) Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (SONY), 3,849 theaters (+48) / $6.1M Fri (-43%)/$12.2M Sat/ 3-day: $27.5M (-26%)/4-day: $34M/Total:$291M/ Wk 4

2) The Post (FOX/DW), 2,819 theaters (+2,783) / $5.9M Fri (+1090%) /$7.4M Sat/ 3-day:$18.7M(+1,001%)/4-day: $22.4M/Total: $26.7M/Wk 4

3) The Commuter (LG), 2,892 theaters / $4.5M Fri/$5.1M/3-day: $13.4M /4-day: $15.8M/Wk 1

4) The Greatest Showman (FOX), 2,938 theaters (-404) / $3M Fri (-27%) /$5.2M Sat/ 3-day:$12M (-12%)/4-day: $15M/Total: $97.8M/Wk 4

5) Star Wars: The Last Jedi (DIS), 3,090 theaters (-1142)/ $2.7M Fri (-58%)/$5.1M Sat/ 3-day: $11.7M (-50%)/4-day: $14.7M/Total:$595M/ Wk 5

6) Insidious: The Last Key (UNI), 3,150 theaters (+34)/ $3.4M (-73%) Fri/$5.25M Sat/ 3-day: $12.4M (-58%)/4-day: $14.5M/Total: $50.7M/ Wk 2

7) Paddington 2 (WB), 3,702 theaters / $2.6M Fri/$4.7M Sat/3-day: $10.45M /4-day: $14.2M/Wk 1

8) Proud Mary (Sony), 2,125 theaters / $3.3M Fri/$4M Sat/ 3-day: $9.7M /4-day: $11.5M/Wk 1

9) Pitch Perfect 3 (UNI), 2,505 theaters (-953)/ $1.4M Fri (-56%)/$2.5M Sat/3-day: $5.5M(-46%)/4-day: $6.5M/Total: $95.5M/ Wk 4

10) Darkest Hour (FOC), 1,693 theaters (-40)/ $1.2M Fri (-32%) /$1.8M Sat/3-day: $4.5M(-25%)/4-day:$5.7M Total: $37M/ Wk 8

Ferdinand (global total: $207,520,416) now sits in the twelfth position while Coco (global cume: $621,735,440) is now #14.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Non-Recurring Phenomenon ... (So Far)

People in animation often point to the high salaries and stable working conditions that happened in the Los Angeles cartoon business through the middle of the 1990s (now almost two decades back in the rear-view mirror).

People want to know how it happened.

And why it's not happening now, despite large numbers of animation employees working in all corners of the southland's thriving animation industry.

I've been an observer/participant of the biz since 1953, when my background-artist father hauled me down to the Disney studios on Buena Vista Street to meet Uncle Walt and (a little while later) watch the Mouseketeers film episodes of "The Mickey Mouse Club".

With the happy exception of the period extending from 1992 through 1998 (which will be explained shortly), the cartoon business has seldom if ever been a highly compensated sector of the entertainment industry.

When I was born in 1948, my highly-skilled Dad was making $60 per week as a journey background artist at Disney. This was not great money, even in post-war Hollywood. He also painted Christmas cards, did landscape art, and designed beach towels to bring in extra money to afford a 1300 square foot house in La Crescenta.

Father was not an outlier in the Mouse's wage department. Disney animator Don Lusk related that during the '41 strike, he made more money as a liquor-store clerk in Big Bear, California than he did as an artist working on Disney features.

Animator-board artist-director Dave Michener told me that when he was hired by Disney in 1955 as an in-betweener (the way-station for EVERY Disney hiree), he was making so little money that he kept his job as a night manager of a Los Angeles gas station for rent and eating money.

Woolie Reitherman, one of the Nine Old Men and the artist who ran Disney's feature department for fifteen years, related:

"Hell, none of us got rich working at Disney salaries. We're doing good now because we got Disney stock options."

A layout artist once stormed into my Dad's office and said: "How do you people keep working here? Disney pay is LOUSY. And yet you keep working for Walt! WHY!? What's this guy's magic?!" (The artist quit the next day. Most everybody else? They continued to work for Walt.)

At the time, Walt Disney Productions was considered "the country club of the animation industry" ... even though artists made higher wages at many other studios.

Please understand that I don't think the examples above are good. Or right. Or just. But they are examples of the the way things were.

When I started at Disney in 1976, I made $135 per week, which was the scale minimum for the job I was doing. When I left ten years later, I was working as a journey story person ... at $50 above scale.

Low pay stopped being the norm when two live-action executives named Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg entered the cartoon business at the end of the 1980s. Eisner took away artists' stock options, but upper Disney management -- accustomed to operating in the live-action world -- began paying higher salaries.

Then the whole animation industry exploded in profitability. Disney cartoon features broke box office records. Prime time and daytime cartoons pulled down tall ratings, and studios that had never done animation before jumped into the game. Everybody who could hold a pencil seemed to be getting hired, and wages climbed upward.

And the pay rocketed still higher when Jeffrey Katzenberg was laid off from Disney, set up DreamWorks Animation, and aggressively poached artists from his old employer. Michael Eisner ordered Disney Feature Animation to "do whatever you must to keep artists here at Disney." All of a sudden lead key assistants were making four and five thousand a week on three-year-employment contracts.

At the same time, TV animation studios couldn't find experienced staff to work on their expanding slate of television cartoons and hiked weekly paychecks. The owner of a small, sub-contracting facility angrily told me one day: "A director negotiated $2400 a week with me, then came back a day later and said 'I changed my mind. I want $2600.' And I said 'Okay'. What could I do? I NEED him!" (This was 1995).

Warner Bros. Animation, faced with a slowdown in tv production, kept its staff on payroll with virtually nothing to do because it was afraid it couldn't get its staff back if it laid them off. The inactivity went on for months, with full wages. (This was also in 1995).

So. What's different now? Why are pay rates and working conditions worse? Even with more artists employed than ever before? A lot of things:

In the late nineties, mid oughts and early teens, the profitability of feature and television animation declined.

The supply of artists increased as large numbers of art schools, universities and colleges turned out more and more aspiring animators, designers and tech directors who made their way into animation. (And Adam Smith is not necessarily wrong).

The studios, led by Ed Catmull and Steve Jobs, began actively suppressing wages. (This went on until the Federal government ... and class-action lawsuits in which the Animation Guild participated ... cooled their jets.)

The recessions of 2001-2003 and 2008-2009 happened, and animation companies (along with live-action companies) cut wages, expenses and generally tightened their belts. (When a project is over, staff gets laid off. Nobody is held over if there's nothing to do.)

Animation is a global business. Pay and working conditions in Japan, India, France and Canada impact pay and working conditions in Southern California.

Newer animation employees, focused on getting a foothold in the business, worked unpaid overtime. Lots of unpaid overtime. And veteran employees, worried about keeping up with the uncompensated employees, took to working uncomped o.t. as well. As a result, schedules were shortened and workloads increased.

Studios have become more corporate. And conglomerates have swallowed other conglomerates, increasing the corporateness. This has made studios obsess about the bottom line, which has also driven down pay.

Many forces contributed to the working conditions and moneys paid in L.A. animation during the last few years. The high pay of the go-go 1990s was a phenomenon that has (to date) not reoccurred.

Monday, January 8, 2018

"The Cops" Now Permanently Dead

Louis C.K.'s cartoon comedy The Cops, earlier suspended, has now been officially cancelled:

... The move follows news on Nov. 10 that TBS had suspended production indefinitely on the 10-episode straight-to-series comedy after C.K. admitted to sexually harassing multiple women. The project, created and voiced by C.K. and comic legend Albert Brooks, subsequently released the cast, crew and animators from their contracts. ...

Studios are running away from projects with toxic creators. The landscape is way different than it was even a year ago. (This has meant, of course, that quality artists have lost jobs because a high-profile comedian ceased being high profile due to lack of impulse control.)

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Second January Weekend at the Box Office

"Jumani: Welcome to the Jungle" sits atop domestic office with a full herd of rampaging rhinos.

Ferdinand hangs on at the middle of the Big List while Coco drops to #9. Meanwhile, the partially animated Jumanji rises to #1.

THREE-DAY GROSSES

1) Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (SONY), 3,801 theaters (+36) / $10.8M Fri /$15.9M Sat/$9.26M Sun/3-day: $36M (-28%)/Total:$244.3M/ Wk 3

2) Insidious: The Last Key (UNI), 3,116 theaters (0)/ $12.7M Fri/$11M Sat/ $5.6M Sun/3-day: $29.3M/ Wk 1

3) Star Wars: The Last Jedi(DIS), 4,232 theaters (0)/ $6.6M Fri/$10.5M Sat/$6.4M Sun/3-day: $23.6M (-55%)/Total:$572.5M/ Wk 4

4) The Greatest Showman (FOX), 3,342 theaters (+26) / $4.1M Fri /$5.8M Sat/$3.9M Sun/ 3-day: $13.8M (-11%)/Total: $76.9M/Wk 3

5) Pitch Perfect 3 (UNI), 3,458 theaters (-10)/ $3.3M Fri /$4.4M Sat/ $2.5M Sun/3-day: $10.2M (-39%)/Total: $85.9M/ Wk 3

6) Ferdinand (FOX), 3,156 theaters (-181) / $2.2M Fri /$3.2M Sat/ $2.3M Sun/3-day: $7.7M (-32%)/Total: $70.5M/ Wk 4

7) Molly’s Game (STX) 1,608 theaters (+1,337)/$2.3M Fri /$2.9M Sat/ $1.8M Sun/3-day: $7M (+198%)/Total: $14.2M/ Wk 2

8) Darkest Hour (FOC), 1,733 theaters (+790)/ $1.8M Fri /$2.6M Sat/$1.9M Sun/ 3-day: $6.3M (+16%)/ Total: $28.3M/ Wk 7

9) Coco(DIS), 1,894 theaters (-210) / $1.5M Fri /$2.1M Sat/ $1.8M Sun/3-day: $5.5M (-26%)/Total: $192M / Wk 7

10) All The Money in the World (Sony) 2,123 theaters (+49)/ $1M Fri /$1.5M Sat/ $930K Sun/3-day: $3.55M (-36%)/Total: $20.1M/Wk 2

Coco has now taken in $589,081,961 around the world, making it a solid hit for the Mouse. Ferdinand has now made $183,331,286 globally. Both pictures have made the majority of their money in foreign markets.

Jumanji, decorated with generous dollops of animation, has now grossed $519,372,666 across the globe, with a lot of markets (including the U.S.) still going strong.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Work Around Town Too

Back to the 80s! Everything old is new again! (Especially when it pulls down solid ratings!)

Now a wee bit about animation work going on in Southern California, which has changed some since the last post (but not a lot).

As before, I am relying on well-informed industry people because I am now, as the saying goes, somewhat out of the loop. The information below could have errors (yikes!); if so, post a comment and I will update.

Amazon

Danger and Egg -- ongoing

Too Loud -- ongoing

Bureau of Magic

Lost in Oz -- ongoing (Amazon Prime)

Cartoon Network

Powerpuff Girls (shorts) -- waiting for pickup.

Ben 10 -- ongoing

Mighty Magiswords -- ending

Steven Universe (shorts) -- ongoing (and building on momentum)

Clarence -- ended.

We Bare Bears (shorts) -- ongoing (Season Three)

Ok-Ko Lets Be Heros -- ongoing

Splittin' Rent -- end of Season One and likely to get pickup (aka "Close Enough" -- see Adult Swim)

Summer Camp Island -- ongoing

Apple and Onion -- 1st season complete.

Cartoon Network has a digital network named "Bite Size" streaming some of its offerings:

Victor & Valentino -- ongoing

Infinity Train -- ongoing

Craig of the Creek -- ongoing

Adult Swim (another Cartoon Network subset).

Close Enough -- ongoing (aka "Splittin' Rent")

Tiggle Winks -- ongoing (shorts)

Warner Bros. Animation

Unikitty -- newly aired; awaiting results before more episodes are greenlit

Be Cool Scooby Doo -- (series) -- ended.

Scooby Doo and the Red Ghost -- (long form Scoob)

Scooby Doo Wild West -- completed. (released)

Guess Who, Scooby Doo -- ongoing

* As usual, there are a plethora of Scoobs. (A veteran animation director I know says that his idea of hell would be working on "Scooby Doo" in an eternal animation cubicle in the afterlife.)

Lego Justice League -- ongoing

Wabbit/New Looney Tunes -- ongoing.

"Wabbit" is repurposed (expanded?) to include other Looney Tunes characters and retitled "New Looney Tunes".

Animaniacs -- upcoming (co-production of Amblin' TV and WBA.)

"Animaniacs" will be a reboot of the original 99 episodes from the early nineties. (It's just been announced.)

Bunnicula -- ended.

Justice League Action -- ended.

Mike Tyson Mysteries -- hiatus -- waiting for pick up.

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz -- ongoing (Season 3)

Teen Titans Go! -- ongoing (working on 5th season)

The alleged skinny on "Teen Titans Go!". WB Animation is now in production on the 5th season of the show. The work should take the crew into mid-2018. WBA is also producing a 70-minute "TTG!" feature, now in work.

DC Superhero Girls -- new version in work for Cartoon Network

Green Eggs and Ham -- ongoing

Wacky Racers -- ongoing

Young Justice -- ongoing

Flintstones -- ongoing (with African American cast)

Warner Animation Group

The Lego Movie Sequel -- ongoing

Smallfoot -- ongoing

Space Jam 2 -- ongoing

The Billion Brick Race -- ongoing

Scooby -- ongoing

Warner Animation Group has pre-production facilities at multiple locations in Burbank; production work (a la Illumination Entertainment) is done in foreign lands.

Hasbro

Micronauts -- ongoing (produced in Ireland)

Stretch Armstrong -- ended, now in post.

My Little Pony -- ongoing

Magic is Friendshi -- ongoing

Hasbro has down-sized production at its Burbank (Media Center North) facility, and now does much of its work at Boulder Media in Ireland. Writing for Boulder shows continues to be done in Southern California.

Nickelodeon

Bunsen is a Beast (Butch Hartman) -- ongoing

Invader Zim (tv movie) -- still in work, scheduled for '18 release.

Sponge Bob -- ongoing

The Loud House -- ongoing; the show has strong ratings and will continue without the creator

Harvey Beaks -- ended.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles -- reboot which is ongoing

Welcome to the Wayne -- ongoing.

Wally Kazam -- ended.

Shimmer and Shine -- ongoing

Pinky Malinky -- ended.

Glitch Tech -- ongoing

Rocko's Modern Life -- ongoing

Henry Danger -- ongoing

Disney TV Animation

Mickey's Roadster Racers -- ongoing

Star vs The Forces of Evil -- ongoing

Puppy Capers -- opening

Pickle and Peanut -- second season began airing October 2017.

Sofia the First -- ongoing (though close to end??)

Future Worm -- ended.

Tangled -- ongoing

Mickey Mouse shorts -- ongoing (Season 5)

Duck Tales -- ongoing

Milo Murphy's Law -- ending

Wicked World -- ongoing

The Lion Guard (Disney Jr. "Baby Lion King") -- ongoing

The Three Caballeros -- ongoing

Muppet Babies -- ongoing (produced at Oddbot, Inc.)

Country Club/ aka Big City Greens -- ongoing

Big Hero Six -- ongoing

Amphibia -- ongoing

Elena of Avalor -- ongoing

DreamWorks Animation

How to Train Your Dragon 3 -- ongoing

Trolls 2 -- ongoing

Trolls 2 -- ongoing

The Croods 2 -- ongoing (back on the schedule)

The Boss Baby 2 -- ongoing

Shrek 5 -- ongoing

Madagascar 4 -- ongoing

Puss in Boots 2 -- ongoing

Madagascar 4 -- ongoing

The majority of DreamWorks Animation theatrical projects are sequels, but there are also a number of originals: Everest, Spooky Jack, B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations (etc.)

Dreamworks Animation TV

Veggie Tales -- ongoing

Mr. Peabody and Sherman -- ended. (Crew moved to "Rocky and Bullwinkle").

Rocky and Bullwinkle -- ongoing

All Hail King Julian -- ending

Dinotrux -- ongoing

Puss in Boots -- ending

Home: Adventures of Tip and Oh -- ongoing

Kung Fu Panda -- ongoing (new order; formerly at Nickelodeon show.)

3 Below -- ongoing

Troll Hunters -- ongoing

Voltron -- ongoing

Dragons Jr -- ongoing

Harvey Street Kids (AKA "Harvey Girls) -- ongoing

Captain Underpants -- ongoing

Spirit Riding Free -- ongoing

Trolls -- ongoing

Boss Baby -- ongoing

She-Ra: Princess of Power -- ongoing

Cleopatra In Space -- ongoing

Minions -- ongoing

Noddy, Toyland Detective -- ongoing

DWA tv employees are now pitching original IPs to the company and multiple ideas have been greenlit for development.

Starz - Film Roman

(Sold to Lions Gate -- no announced projects)

Rough Draft

Disenchantment -- ongoing (New Matt Groening show, which was in development a long-time before it was greenlit).

Mega Man -- ongoing

Clash of Clans -- ongoing (YouTube series)

Frederator

Costume Quest -- ongoing (for Amazon)

Paramount Animation

Gnomeo and Juliet: Sherlock Gnomes

Amusement Park

The Spongebob Movie 3 -- ongoing (but long in development; has stopped and started multiple times).

The Loud House Movie -- ongoing

Bento Box

Bob's Burgers -- ongoing

Legends -- ended.

Netflix show -- ongoing

Fox Animation (on Alameda and Wilshire)

Family Guy -- ongoing

Seth M. no longer does day-to-day oversight of his animated comedies; he delegates, does a variety of voices, and concentrates on his live-action activities (with a second season of "The Orville", he kind of has to). Nevertheless, "Family Guy" and "American Dad" march on.

American Dad -- ongoing

Fox Animation (at the Pinnacle on Alameda in Burbank)

The Simpsons -- ongoing

Marvel Animation

Avengers Assemble -- ending

Guardians of the Galaxy -- ending

Spider-man -- ending

Some of Marvel Animation's shows are going on hiatus and (we're told) crews being laid off. Crew members say that much MA work will be completed in the next few months.

Titmouse/Robin Red Breast

Moon Beam -- ongoing

Megalopolis -- ongoing

Super Jail -- ongoing

The Venture Brothers -- ongoing

Niko and the Sword of Light -- ongoing

Big Mouth -- ongoing (and one of the top shows for Netflix, so it will be back).

Activision

Skylanders Academy (union freelance only)

Renegade

ABC Mouse (flash show) -- ongoing

Star Burns Industries

Rick and Morty (Rick and Morty LLC) -- ongoing (the show hasn't been greenlit for a 4th season but is a solid hit, so it will be back). (for Adult Swim - Rick and Morty LLC)

Animals -- ongoing

Shadow Machine

Bo Jack Horsemen -- ongoing

Dad Boner -- ongoing(?)

Six Point/Six Point 2

Apollo Gauntlet (for Adult Swim) --

Star Chaser pilot

Walt Disney Animation Studios

Wreck-It Ralph 2 -- ongoing

Frozen 2 -- ongoing

Gigantic -- development ended.

Other unannounced projects in development. Kindly note that though development work on "Gigantic" has come to an end, projects often get cancelled, slide into deep hibernation, and get revived at a later date. (Case in point: "Wreck it Ralph", which saw development under various titles over a span of years before finally being greenlit for production).

Wild Canary

Sheriff Callie's Wild West -- ended.

Puppy Dog Pals (Disney Jr.) -- ongoing

Miles From Tomorrowland -- ended.

(Other shows in development.)

Stupid Buddies Stoodio

Robot Chicken -- ongoing

Buddy Thunderstruck -- ongoing

SuperMansion -- ongoing

Hot Streets -- ongoing

Leodoro Productions

F is for Family -- ongoing

Universal

Alvin and the Chipmunks -- ongoing

Curious George -- ongoing (newer flash version)

Illumination Entertainment Studios

Secret Life of Pets 2 -- ongoing

Splash Entertainment

Kulipari: An Army of Frogs -- ongoing (season 2 for Netflix)

Splash Entertainment began its corporate life as Mike Young Productions and is headquartered in the west San Fernando Valley. Splash is a work-for-hire studio that often partners with larger entities.