What Cinematic Pandora’s Box Has “The Emoji Movie” Opened?

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A very interesting little tidbit of entertainment news flew under the radar earlier this week, and it immediately made me think of The Emoji Movie. It was about how the “Precious Moments” brand was just signed by agency UTA to represent it “in all dealings with producers and production companies for possible entertainment opportunities.”

You may not be immediately familiar with Precious Moments, so let me explain. You know those little ceramic figurines of kids with bigish heads and syrupy upturned eyes that your mother or (more likely) grandmother might have? The ones that depict various idealized childhood scenes, and sometimes depicted as angels or praying to Jesus?

That’s Precious Moments, whom UTA just signed to explore “entertainment opportunties.”

What sort of entertainment opportunities? Well, consider another recent UTA client: the prismatic Lisa Frank franchise. Do you remember Lisa Frank? She designed stickers of unicorns and kitty-cats in the 1980s. Apparently a “live-action animation hybrid movie” is being developed now based on those images.

How can you make a movie or animated TV show or any sort of narrative from the admittedly limited source material of Precious Moments and Lisa Frank? Well: how did they make a movie about emojis?

They just “did” it. They just did it, shoehorned cross-promotion for stuff like Candy Crush in there, and released it to the public.

But I though The Emoji Movie was the worst film of all time. I thought, based on countless YouTube video essays, that it was cinematic cancer. I mean…didn’t it bomb at the box-office???

NO: it did not bomb at the box-office. In fact, it was the perfect “meh” animated movie with easily-grasped smiling faces to trot the children to—just like a possible Precious Moments movie might be. And if Precious Moments is “hybridized” with the burgeoning “Christian Movies” market…it’s an easy mediocre “win.” And it wins before it ever gets made…it wins per “concept” alone, something to bank on.

But please do not consider this article some sort of cinematic purist’s rantings on the sorry state of the industry. I “get” it. The demand for this material—not just in terms of movie theaters, but the endless hunger of new streaming video content—is there.

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