Sausage Party has been experiencing an unexpected wave of success. This wouldn’t be noteworthy, except the movie is an R-rated animated comedy. The key word being animated. Its success could be the spark needed to ignite a new era in American entertainment: the era of animated movies made for adults.
Sausage Party is an interesting movie. The heroic journey of a sausage who falls in love with a bun catches one’s attention. This kind of movie would never have been produced had it not been for animation. It was animated because it was the best option; however, no studio wanted to touch it with a ten-foot pole.
From what I have seen, the biggest reason centers around the past performances of adult animated movies. The most notable one being the South Park movie. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, was released in 1999 and was successful.
Notice anything wrong with that sentence?
It was successful, but there were almost two decades between it and Sausage Party. Between the two, there hasn’t been any successful R-rated animated movie. The movie Hell and Back performed poorly, Anomolisa was praised by critics, but it bombed at the box office.
The South Park movie did well because it already had an established audience, with a TV show that is still going strong in its 20th season.
The other adult animated movies did not have an established audience and suffered because of it. I would say that’s because the animated movies were not good movies, but Hollywood sees something common among them. They were all animated movies that targeted adults.
Hollywood sees how well Disney and Pixar do with animated movies aimed at kids and then assumes an animated movie past the PG rating won’t do well. Sausage Party came along and proved that to be untrue.
If Hollywood needs further proof, then they can look at any of the long running animated series geared towards adults. South Park, Family Guy, or the Simpsons are shining examples. All three have been running longer than many popular live action series. It’s not hard to see that animation can be successful in more than kid’s movies.
If Hollywood is nervous about the overseas market, then they shouldn’t be. The Anime industry has effectively captured the world’s attention by not solely targeting children.
Anime is a massive worldwide entertainment industry. It reaches about 87.2% of the world’s population and is one of Japan’s largest exports. Some anime is meant for kids, with Studio Ghibli creating kid-friendly and more serious movies. But the majority of Anime is targeted at teens and adults. Anime contains a multitude of genres that appeal to a variety of audiences around the world. But America has yet to hop on the adult animation train.
I personally hope America gets on the animation train as soon as they can. Sausage Party is a great start, but I hope some other movies come out soon. I love the artistic freedom animation gives directors. Hopefully they will love it too.
Disney and Pixar already make great animated movies and enjoy the freedom it gives them. Sausage Party is a bastion of hope for animation. It’s an R-rated animated movie made by an American studio. That’s something fresh and I like it.
There’s still a plethora of questions to be answered. Will R-rated animation catch on if ever in America? Or will it always stay kid friendly? Are people ready to see more animated movies for adults? What other reasons would keep American studios away from animation aimed at adults?
Only time will tell, but I have hope for the future of American animation.