Animation is a field that is exponentially growing, with more animated series and movies than ever. The market is expected to hit around 642 billion dollars by 2030. This surge in animation has been driven by anime and Western animation alike, and has created an attractive category with an inviting customer base.
There are more live-action adaptations of animated movies/series nowadays, with Disney planning many more for the future. Vice-versa, live-action movies are also being turned into animated movies and series. This was especially popular in the 1970’s, with popular live-action movies like The Mummy and Beetlejuice being turned into animated series.
Could there be a surge of these adaptations in the 2020’s?
There are some common trends within the animation field regarding adaptations. As of now, more often animated movies are adapted into live action, with Disney making plans for a Little Mermaid live-action remake and Cowboy Bepop being adapted into live action by Netflix. These have proved incredibly popular, with the notable example of Cruella, Disney’s live-action adaptation of the story of 101 Dalmatians’ villain, achieving a $27 million box office weekend.
But the live action into animation adaptations have long been away from the spotlight. In the 1970s, they were more popular, with popular live-action series Star Trek being adapted into an animated series that amassed high ratings.
Nowadays, certain companies are looking to fill this niche, with many projects in the works.
Disney has already released Star Wars: Galaxy of Adventure, a remake of the original live-action movies, released on its YouTube Channel for a younger audience. Although the company has not disclosed plans for future animated adaptations.
Netflix is also ahead, with two projects in the work. Pacific Rim, the popular 2018 movie, is also being turned into an animated series, which has long been teased by creator Guillermo Toro but has only in recent years been picked up by Netflix; the series has been described as anime, although this is yet to be confirmed. The company is also working on an Altered Carbon anime movie set in the same universe, with Dai Sato, a writer for the anime Ghost in the Shell.
Crunchyroll and Adult Swim have also partnered on a new Blade Runner anime series, titled Blade Runner: Black Lotus, set to be released in late 2021, in partnership with Alcon Television group.
As one of the most successful games in the franchise (over 40.24 million copies worldwide), Super Mario Bros. is making an adaptation attempt with a much more fitting animated approach with a release window during the holiday of 2022. It is reported that Nintendo is aiming to create more animated projects with more of their IPs in the future.
With so many companies looking to fulfill the niche of animated adaptations, the growth in the animation industry will continue.
The Taiwan Public Television Service Foundation has created a spin off animation series titled Monster Fruit School starring Granny Fruity from their hit children’s television show Fruity Ice Cream. Released just this year, this series weaves monster power and Taiwanese fruit elements together to create the most fantastical animated adventure.
Joy-Team Animation Production Co. Ltd. is another company to look out for. Their animated series – Jungle King, My Papa – is adapted from a well-known comic in Taiwan. This series spans 11 episodes and follows a shipwrecked family’s escapades on a deserted island.
Xanthus Animation Studio is due to release animated series 2049+, Voice of Rebirth this year. The long-awaited series is set against a mythological backdrop and teaches viewers the true meaning of faith. There is also another series with a similar name - 2049. It has already been released this year by Greener Grass Production Co. Ltd and was produced by local artist Tang Sheng Rong. Other notable works of his include The Victim’s Game, Tears on Fireand The World Between Us, all of which can be found on Netflix.
The adaptation of live-action movies into animation has a future in the industry, with the previously mentioned projects in the works. The question remains as to whether these animated adaptations will trump live-action adaptations, and whether they will satisfy the fan bases of the live-action media they aim to adapt.