Hollywood Exec Admits Anime Success Baffles Studios

By Charlene Badasie | Published

Animation has long been associated with kid’s entertainment. However, in the past few years, there has been a shift due to the rise in the popularity of anime. In a recent Q&A on Discord, Kung-Fu Panda 4 co-director Stephanie Stine says Hollywood doesn’t know how to manage the change, even though the industry welcomes the demand for more serious animated content.

Impact Of The Spider-Verse

spider-verse 2 spider-punk

“I freaking love it!” Stine said. “Especially since so many audiences these days have grown up on more mature stories everywhere. I think in most bookstores, for example, the manga/anime section takes up a majority of the floor space. But here’s the catch – a lot of people in charge of the finances of making a movie think that audiences don’t like these kinds of stories.”

I’m not sure why,” Stine continued about Hollywood executives and their thoughts on anime. “Every time I’ve talked to an executive, they’ve told me that, yes, they totally see the influence and impact anime has had on the world. But no, we will not do that. It’s the highest of miracles to me that Spider-Verse was made in America,” she added about the 2018 and 2023 films.

No Longer A Niche Genre

dragon ball

Created in Japan, Hollywood considered anime a niche genre for years. However, the medium began establishing itself in American culture as a mainstream form of entertainment with shows like Astro Boy and Speed Racer. Iconic series like Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon grabbed the attention of young viewers in the 90s, paving the way for anime to carve a space for itself in Western pop culture.

Billion-Dollar Industry

attack on titan

The North American anime market was valued at around $3.56 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. Social media and online platforms have played a crucial role in boosting the genre’s popularity by making it more accessible. The launch of dedicated platforms like Crunchyroll has further expanded avenues for watching anime content.

Anime Coming To Theaters

anime movies

Hollywood got an added dose of anime at CinemaCon 2024. Senior Vice President of Global Commerce at Crunchyroll Mitchell Berger used the event to educate local and regional exhibitors about the genre, explaining how it could boost theaters financially. Berger reminded theater owners of Crunchyroll’s presence in the market and the success of the Demon Slayer and Dragonball franchises.

However, the most important part of Berger’s pitch for getting Hollywood to pay more attention to anime was new content. Those in attendance got a sneak peek at 10 minutes of Spy x Family Code: White. Berger then made a case for how “Crunchyroll can fill a theater” any day of the week, as the fan base is extremely passionate.

Covers Countless Genres

Popular anime content in the U.S. at present includes a variety of genres and series, with some of the most anticipated returning anime being My Hero Academia, Classroom of the Elite, and Tower of God. In addition to returning series, there are also new titles that have gained popularity among American audiences, such as Kingdom, a historical anime series based on the Warring States period in China.

Not All Anime Is Shonen And Action

The anime movie Josee, the Tiger and the Fish has also been popular with romance and drama fans. Released in 2020, the film has been praised for its heartwarming story despite Hollywood not being associated with the anime. Other anime films making waves among fans are the psychological thriller Paprika, the Ghibli film Porco Rosso, and the fantasy Madoka Magica.

Which Genre Will Hollywood Push?

Another popular anime series is Konosuba!, which has gained a dedicated fanbase due to its unique blend of comedy, fantasy, and adventure. The series follows Kazuma and his team of misfits as they embark on various adventures. But Hollywood has a tendency to be fickle, warming to some trends while leaving others out in the cold, and for now, anime is the latter.

Source: Discord Q&A