Universal has said no to Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson‘s Tintin project — a 3D animated feature based on the Belgian comic strip — because they don’t want to spend $130 million to make it. And, as L.A. Times reporter Claudia Eller noted yesterday, “the decision has left the two powerful filmmakers scrambling to find another financial partner.”
Update: Viacom has reportedly stepped into the breach, so I guess we’re stuck with the damn thing.
I was going to say that anything that takes Spielberg and Jackson down a peg is a good thing in my book. I’m intrigued as the next person about what a first-rate 3D animated film might be like, even one from the two most over-praised and spiritually bloated rich guys in the film business.
Before reading about Viacom I was going to spin my wheels and dream about Spielberg dropping Tintin and finally — finally! — getting around to making his Abraham Lincoln movie instead, but the evidence is pretty strong that he’s been afraid of it all along.
“When even Spielberg and The Lord of the Rings director Jackson, who have made some of the biggest blockbusters in history, can’t get their movie made, you know something is up in Hollywood,” Eller wrote. “Universal’s refusal to finance Tintin underscores how in today’s tough economic climate, bottom-line concerns trump once-inviolable relationships between studios and talent.
“Until now, however, filmmakers of Spielberg’s and Jackson’s stature were thought to be immune to the brass-knuckles tactics of the studios. Squeezed by a business trapped between rising costs and leveling revenues, the two filmmakers are Hollywood’s latest — and most prominent — victims of cost containment.”