Want to hear some fun news I heard recently? Apparently Disney aren't making any 2D films anymore as far as any of their staff are aware.
And what is the reason for this that's been given? Money apparently. It seems that Disney's last two 2D films, Winnie the Pooh in 2011 and Princess and the Frog in 2009, didn't quite make enough box office returns as they'd've liked. Winnie the Pooh for instance, made a mere £128m when it was released, which obviously means that it's a dying art form and losing public interest apparently.
I have an alternate theory why 2D films don't make as much money nowadays. Maybe it's because in the past three years, two 2D films were released for cinema that I know of, 'Winnie the Pooh' from Disney and 'Arrietty' from Studio Ghibly, and I didn't go to see either of them because I never saw them advertised until long after it had been released, and my local cinema stopped showing them, if they ever showed them at all. But I can remember things like Bolt being advertised like crazy.
In fact, I looked up how much Arrietty made in the UK box office out of interest and apparently it made a mere £76,000 because it was only shown in 61 cinemas across the country. And I can see a problem straight away, of the two 2D animated films released in the cinemas in the past few years, one of them was shown in less than 8% of the UK's cinemas, it's therefore no wonder that companies like Disney think that nobody wants to see 2D animation anymore. Winnie the Pooh was even established to have been a moderate box office success completely in spite of the fact that it was released in close proximity to the last Harry Potter film and several superhero films.
So let's look a little bit deeper here, what they claimed was money, that's probably still true. 2D animation is very time consuming and expensive and much more difficult than 3D animation, so what studios are doing is pushing for something that's artistically relevant, but also easy and cheap to make, so naturally 2D would take second place every time, despite being equally artistically valid as 3D. That's not to say that I think 3D is cheap and easy though, half of Pixar's resume are my favourite animated films ever made, and having done 3D animation myself, I can say that it's difficult, but still easier than 2D animation.
The sad part of this is that 2D animated films probably will fade into obscurity because of lazy companies. Because it's long been established that the only film company out there who care consistently about art and story are Pixar, and they make 3D films because they started out as a software company who just happened to have better writers than the average film studio. Studio Ghibli is all we have to rely on, just as soon as they bother to distribute the bloody things.