Not too long ago, we reported on the launch of Brazen Animation and how there seems to be a wave of new animation studios popping up everywhere. Well, now we have yet another new face entering the field.
Animation World Network reported that John H. Williams, producer of the Shrek franchise, and Henry Skelsy, managing partner of Fulton Capital Management LLC, have teamed up to form 3QU Media.
3QU Media will specialize in CG-animated feature films for the international marketplace, with its first four films being produced with budgets under $20 million. The first of its films, Charming, will be written and directed by Ross Venouker, and centers on Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty as their tales take a twist when they discover that they’re engaged to the same man: Prince Charming.
There are two things that intrigue me about this development. For starters, while it may appear as though they are playing it safe with super low budgets for their films (and it would make sense, as they are just starting out), it’s actually quite risky with what they are trying to accomplish. They are basically aiming to create blockbuster animated movies whilst using an extreme version of the Illumination Entertainment method of producing films at a low-cost model. But the difference here is that 3QU will have a much harder time engineering a hit, as $20 million doesn’t allow much in the way of impressive production value and likewise won’t allow a lot of room for them to fail (for comparison, an Illumination film costs anywhere between $60-75 million). Thus the heavy-duty work will rest on the shoulders of the story department to really nail it on the first go.
What Happened to Vanguard Animation?
Second, I can’t help but wonder what happened to Vanguard Animation. For those who don’t know, Vanguard Animation was also an animation company owned by John H. Williams. Only four films were ever released from that company (Valiant, Happily N’Ever After, Space Chimps, and Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back) before seemingly disappearing off the face of the planet after 2010.
It’s a strong possibility that the studio may have quietly folded several years back, but oddly enough the poster for Charming shows the Vanguard logo, which only raises the question: what really happened to the company? 3QU’s newborn twitter account marks its location in West Hollywood, California, which was where Vanguard once operated. This may confirm the possibility that Vanguard simply went into a period of suspended animation only to be revived as 3QU. It’s currently not known if all of Vanguard’s planned projects have migrated over or not (they can be seen on Vanguard’s still-existing website). The portfolio on 3QU’s website shows what appears to be three visual development pieces for three of their four projects, including a piece for Charming. While we don’t know the titles of these other three films yet, you can check out the concept art for them below.
Whatever the case, 3QU Media will be an interesting case to watch, if only for the fact that there is much mystery surrounding it’s connection with Vanguard as there is with how they can find success in the densely-populated world of feature animation.
Production on Charming has begun at Cinesite’s new animation facility in Montreal.
What do you think? Could this low-cost model work for 3QU the way it did for Illumination?
Brandon is your average nerd with a love for nerdy things (games, comics, anime/manga, etc.). He also loves reading and writing and plans to be an author someday. For now, he writes with passion and curiosity about the world of animation. He lives with his family in North Carolina and is currently attending college.