Will we see a rise in Animation in the near-future?

As a new reality begins to emerge, and filming sets remained closed, a greatly enhanced safety protocol most likely in place upon their return to production, it will cost studios more money.
Animation is a more doable means of visual storytelling in the right now, and cost-effective in the mid-term future, I can see this artform experiencing a renaissance of sorts (perhaps more out-of-work live-action content creators dabble their feet into the field as well, who knows).
Personally, I just want a Green Lantern Season 2. I do not think I have ever wanted a story resurrected like this before. (and, service plug, I probably never would have given it a chance without a subscription here. I’m still not a huge fan of CGI, as a lover of hand-drawn animation since the early days of my childhood, but this show used it very effectively.)


Maybe, but that has it’s share of issues too. After all, studios are pretty big and I don’t know if they can all work from home. Not to mention that animation often takes longer and is more expensive, and considering that no matter what there is going to be some economic downturn because of the pandemic/response to it, it might be a wash.

I dunno, things are just too up in the air to really say for certain right now.

1 Like

Interesting thoughts - I never really considered animation to be more expensive, but it probably matters what sort of media we are using as a means of comparison, what kind of animation is being produced (series vs film), ect. I think it is reasonable to consider that there are going to be less “blockbuster” style films being made as a result, but in contrast, I think if the industry wants to persist, it will need to start thinking of different means of generating content going forward. Length of production, if we start thinking long game, it might just make more of a case to see animation get a push, so to speak.
We can definitely agree on things being Too Up in the Air at the moment.

I also wouldn’t have given the animated green lantern show a chance without this platform because of my cgi bias (I know I made a mistake!), and would love a second season! DC has always been better at animation than Marvel so this could be their chance to shine if there is a resurgence.

I love animation as a medium and would love to see us get more dc animated movies- their current animated movie universe is amazing!

I know a lot of animation is done overseas, who have gotten their s*** together more so than the US right now handling the current situation, so maybe they would be able to produce animated content with studios in America shut down. For American shows, the voice work and storyboarding is down here and the animation itself is overseas, so maybe the creators will be able to work from home here? Idk much about the process, and not sure about it being more expensive, but would not be disappointed if the pandemic got us more animation!

1 Like

I have a bias against CGI as well, which is odd when I think about it - for instance, my favorite thing in the entire Star Wars canon? Rebels.
I’m hoping that the success of Harley Quinn and Young Justice’s revival inspires confidence in doing more animated series on this service. I do not have much of a knowledge base on how the process works either, but my hope is for more. As for GL Animated Series, I would not be mad if they continued the story in a digital comic format - I like how they structured the Injustice series to fit nicely on digital devices, something like that.


I love dc’s animated stuff. I hope more animation is created. I also wish Disney would go back to making some 2D.

1 Like

I think we will see more animation because it’s cheaper.
YJ season 3 was estimated at 12-15 million to produce. That is a lot less than a season of Titans. (Roughly about the same total runtime.)

Into the SpiderVerse only cost 90 million. Spider-Man Fea From Home was 160 million. The returns may be smaller but so is the risk.

With this pandemic with shelter in place and all, and the possibility that it might not be the only one over the next decade. Makes me wonder if studios (like many other companies) where people have to be in close contact with each other, may become more risk adverse. Less big spending, big blockbuster movies that can really take a hit by a 4-6+ week stoppage in shooting. Companies investing in more work at home capabilities for animators is certainly possible. Faster, dedicated work machines with bigger monitors aren’t that expensive an outlay. Net connections for certain employees where upload speed and download speed is big/fast both directions. Perhaps even dedicated connections, on a physically different line, although VPN overhead is relatively minimal.

I’d love to see more animated series. As we’ve seen with HQ, a more adult TV-MA type animation does have a market.


I feel the same way, especially when it comes to Disney. I would be very grateful for a feature every now and then, or maybe just one traditionally animated series. I think this is why I am constantly watching stuff from the Ghibili catalogue.

There is a lot of excellent information here, thank you - I imagined that animation was cheaper but your knowledge is clarifies it.
I think your possibility is a likely reality, and it is best to try to approach things with an open mind going forward, as to what will work and what will not (which is not being cynical either, open minds rarely are cynical for long anyways). You have actually made me excited as a storyteller, because I would love nothing more than for this platform of imagination to receive a renaissance period. Being risk-adverse, less big spending, these are both solid business practices, at least for the near future.
Harley Quinn is a perfect example. I was never a big fan of her in any iteration before this (I have yet to see the new Birds of Prey film so I may also enjoy that) but there is true substance to the show, the humor is pitch perfect, blended with some surprisingly touching character beats. I look forward to it every week - and I was only casually interested in giving it a shot when it came out. I know the initial focus was on the vulgarity and violence, but that’s not enough to propel a series for very long - the season 2 premiere was an excellent season-premise-establisher and I hope this show has legs.

1 Like

Given that season 1 got picked up by ScyFy channel, even if they might have some extra bleeps. I think the show is developing legs. But, it’s always tough to say. Ya might have an idea that really works for 26 episodes and has a satisfying story and character arcs. But, that might be it. The positive is there are a lot of bat-arcs to parody, S2 & No Mans Land. And HQ has had her own book for a while so there is stuff to pull from there. And SS as well.

P.S. If you liked Margot Robbie in SS, I think you’ll like HQ/BOP. It’s a “girl gang” movie. That was the premise and they executed on that premise pretty well.


You are right, it really is tough to say (I thought that GL Season 1 was excellent and had so much potential for future stories, and here I am, remaining wistful at the prospect of a return). I’m hoping, at the very least, we see at least one more animated series get a shot on this service, or if I’m being extra greedy, a total of four, so that we can have a nice quarterly rotation of new material to enjoy.

Margot was the best part of SS. I read they made some character change decisions with some of the Birds, but I don’t mind that sort of thing so long as it works within the story they are trying to tell. So I’m curious there, maybe a little nervous. I’m a big fan of Cassandra Cain as Batgirl in the 2007 series (the stuff with Lady Shiva was great), and I’ve heard she is nothing like that portrayal. I will hopefully get a chance to watch it sometime this week.

Cassandra Cain is nothing like she is in the bat books. She’s really there more as a plot device, more than anything else, imo. So not having to build all of CC’s comics backstory was good. It would have been time wasted.

Good to know in advance, tempers expectations.

Animation comes with it’s own share of problems and is apparently not as cheap compared to live action as it would seem. But might be, things will change once the virus has run it’s course likely in some ways no one has even thought of yet. So I would not dismiss anything. TV and Movies both took a big hit and got a big wake up call on how easily the status quo and long term planning can be affectd. So think a lot will change.

More then anything, I think there will not be as many shows overall in the coming years. I mean studios are losing an insane ammount of movie the longer this goes on. And by most estimated we are still months out from them being able to continue. They don’t just have a pot of money to resume producing everything like before. I think the golden age of TV shows we were in is over. In that I would not expect them to be producing the same insane number of TV shows they have been every year. And I think a lot of these expensive streaming only shows like the Marvel shows on Disney, the many HBO MAX high budget shows, the expensive Netflix ones etc… something has got to give and a lot of these insanely expensive shows I think will be put on hold eventually even after they resume production.

1 Like

I decided to do a little internet sleuthing to satiate some of my curiosity on the subject, because I’m reading that is both a cheaper option to live-action and a more expensive one?
Taking the recent Harley Quinn/Birds of Prey film, it is estimated to have cost about $85 million to produce, and although it had a slow start, grossed around $200 million. That’s a pretty sizable profit.
I could not find an exact numbers on how much the Harley Quinn animated series cost to produce, but from what I could gather, high-end animation would cost around $3~4 million per 13-episode (23 minutes in length) season. I based this off the estimate of it costing about $10,000 per minute of animation. I’m guessing that the total does not include voice acting or other expenses, so maybe we could bump that total up to say, $6 million for a season? $8 million?
The problem therein lies - how much does an animated show on a streaming service actually generate for revenue? How does one even measure that from within? Maybe some complex algorithm or mathematical equation?
Even with all of this mind, you could conceivably produce 14 animated series for the cost of one mid-to-upper-budget film - maybe even round that down to 10 if I’m not accounting enough for animated costs and hurdles in this brave new world. And this is a bit of apples-to-oranges, I’ll admit, using a film vs. an animated series (by my totals, it could cost around $4~5 million for an 80-minute animated feature, just for the animation).
I’m not necessarily advocating a complete change of direction in the televised/theatrical art-form towards animation, I personally love this era of prestige television storytelling, but as you have said - something has to give here, what will it be?

1 Like

I think the Brits have a more viable model. They can do a 10 episode season & use a lot of soundstage work to control costs. I would not be surprised if we see more of an adoption of some of those things for live-action.

Animation is certainly less expensive on average, per minute of show time. It is a medium that may indeed have something of a renaissance.


Part of the issue with animation is, in the West at least, it’s largely seen as a medium for children’s entertainment or “adult animation” that follows the Family Guy/South Park model of throwing immature humor and shock value content into at the wall and hoping it sticks. Granted some animated features still makes a ton of money, but usually only when it’s had a ton of money thrown into it and is marketed well.

The other issue is, as others have said, animation can be expensive to produce (though it does have advantages in our current world that you don’t need a physical studio, and even before this time typically animation, writing, and voice over were done as separate units). However, the animation we’re most likely to get would be cheaply produced and computer generated. We’re unlikely to see something on the level of BTAS or Fleischer’s Superman or anything of that sort.

It’s funny that in the Great Depression when it rose to prominence animation didn’t have an exclusive assumed audience of children, it was typically made as a short subject to be shown before a feature film and people of all ages enjoyed Popeye and Donald Duck and what have you. Snow White was considered a major achievement. I don’t think it was until the age of television that animation started being seen mostly as a way to entertain children and sell toys and cereals.


This show is amazing


Welcome to the DCU :grinning:

1 Like

We might just be seeing a broader approach to who the audience can be for animation here in the West. From this service’s fantastic Harley Quinn (I was never a fan of the character and I was almost was going to pass on the show altogether, but am I ever glad that I did not) to the newly released Mortal Kombat animated feature, Scorpion’s Revenge, which is ultra-violent and beautifully animated, to Netflix’s Castlevania series, which has some of the best horror storytelling in televised format ever, to the Midnight Gospel, an animated podcast that is bascially a trippy philosophical discussion come to visual life.
Now, I’m not arguing that these are proof of animation leading to some sweeping change or that they are going make the industry truck loads of money - but! these are wonderful adult-focused animation projects that currently exist, so it is at least worth noting that some producers are paying attention to the fact the those of us who grew up on Saturday Morning cartoons as one of our best friends in the 80’s & 90’s, still love the medium and would love to have material directed at their now adult sensibilities.