Article from South Florida Sun-Sentinel - May 26, 2005
the big draw

Animated movies have been reeling in the money. Can Madagascar continue the trend?

In Madagascar, an animated film opening Friday, an escaped lion named Alex confronts an old woman in Grand Central Terminal. Co-directors Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath wanted the woman to hit Alex with her purse. But Jeffrey Katzenberg, the CEO of DreamWorks Animation, had another idea: Why not have the woman kick Alex in the groin and mace him?

The moral to the story? You do not want to meet Jeffrey Katzenberg in a computer-generated dark alley. And you probably take his "advice" as if it were forged by lightning on a stone tablet.
"Audiences are responding better today to animation than ever in movie history," Katzenberg said during lunch at the Cannes Film Festival.

Two of the 10 highest-grossing movies of all time -- DreamWorks' Shrek 2 at No. 7 and Disney/Pixar's Finding Nemo at No. 9 -- and seven of The top 50 are animated. With budgets inflating in a desperate search for blockbuster hits, animated movies provide the greatest control because the story and voiceovers are completed before one pixel is drawn.
Disney/Pixar, now splitsville, fired back with Finding Nemo, which finished behind only the final Lord of the Rings installment on the 2003 box-office list. Shrek 2 and Disney/Pixar's The Incredibles have raised expectations even higher. Animated film is not just big business, it is exploding like nobody's business.
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