Retail & Consumer : Mac Guff, Ubisoft, Gobelins
The 3D computer animated film ‘Despicable Me 2’ created in Paris’ 15th arrondissement by Illumination MAC GUFF studio has made a remarkable $1 billion dollars at box offices worldwide thanks to French talents. The studio was founded in 2011 when French animation and special effects company MAC GUFF was acquired by Universal subsidiary Illumination Entertainment of the US. Jacques Bled who was the co-founder of MAC GUFF is now CEO of Illumination MAC GUFF whose name is derived from ‘MacGuffin’, the term that Alfred Hitchcock coined for the plot devices in his films. The French connection has made ‘Despicable Me 2’ Universal’s most profitable film in its 100-year history.
Another example of the ability of French studios to make world-leading original and innovative films for the global market came with the resounding success of TV series shorts by UBISOFT MOTION PICTURES. The latter is a division of the world’s 3rd video game publisher and developer UBISOFT of France. It produced a TV series of 78 7-minute Computer Graphics animated episodes called Rabbids Invasion, for US’s Nickelodeon, the world’s largest cable channel for children. The series which is produced near Valence in the south-east of France, premiered in 2013 and following its global success, the US channel, which is seen in over 500 million households around the world, renewed the show in 2014.
France’s growing global ascendancy in animated films is hardly surprising as it has a long tradition of excellence in painting, illustration, cartoons, visual effects, cinema, and artistic culture in general together with present day world-class software engineers. Another determining French asset is the world-renowned school of visual communication called GOBELINS l’École de L’Image, in Paris. Every year it produces talented individuals snapped up by the world’s leading animation studios including Disney, Universal, Pixar, Dreamworks, Warner Bros etc.
The school has probably the world’s toughest entrance exam and during the course, GOBELINS students produce very short animated films for the famous film Festival at Annecy which attract talent spotting specialists from studios around the world. (See video sources below for a Graduate Student Project from GOBELINS and an interview of the head of Gobelins’ Animation Department).
Sources : screendaily.com, nytimes.com, enca.com, Bfm business
Video sources : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mspb2yRWh9g
Online publishing, January 5th, 2015