For Practicing Context (or whatever it’s called, I tend to think of it as “Lucy”) I had a number of ideas as to what I could spend some time looking into.The verdict of m’colleagues was to look into the area of children’s films.
My cine literate chums and I came up with this list of live action films (because I think they are far fewer in number than animated)
|1939||The Wizard of Oz|
|1971||Bedknobs & Broomsticks|
|1983||Masters of the Universe|
|The Dark Crystal|
|1988||Who Framed Roger Rabbit|
|Dennis The Menace|
|The Little Vampire|
|2001||Harry Potter 1|
|See Spot Run|
|The Lizzie McGuire Movie|
|2003||Agent Cody Banks|
|Cheaper By The Dozen|
|Shark Boy vs Lava Girl|
|2007||Bridge to Terabithia|
|Hotel For Dogs|
Obviously there are many more but these are interesting in that they have stuck in the group’s collective memory.
Further investigation on IMDB led me to the Working Title page. Since the mid-1980’s Working Title have been involved in a wide variety of films and are possibly the most successful British Film Company of this period. But out of 170 films the only family ones that stand out are Thunderbirds (a flop) and Nanny McPhee 1&2 and Mr Bean 1&2 (hits).
These seem really safe choices, Thunderbirds being a much loved brand, Rowan Atkinson’s Bean character had enjoyed international TV success and Emma Thompson has Academy Awards for Acting and Adapted Screenplay so if she wants to write and star in an adaptation of the Nurse Matilda books by Christianna Brand, as a production company, you’re at the very least holding a respectful meeting.
But other than these, nothing leaps out as being orientated towards families, so 1.7% of their output.
The question I think I am formulating is “Does the British Film Industry make proportionally fewer films for families/children (or U and PG certificate films) and if so, why?”
There are no shortage of British writers writing for 7-13 year olds. It is possible that they just don’t write screenplays. A more likely possibility is that script readers (the first fence for any screenplay) are on their first rung of the film industry ladder and as such don’t want to see/read films for children. It could be that family films don’t make money (which might come as a surprise to Pixar).
With lottery money, previously distributed by UKFC and now the BFI, does a proportion go to family films?
Anyway, as someone that currently has half a script for a kids’ adventure movie with a cracking idea for a sequel, I’d like to know if there is a really good reason why it shouldn’t be made and shown.