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Aardman Animations, Ltd.
Type Private company limited by shares
Industry Clay/stop-motion animation
CGI animation
Founded 1972
Founder(s) Peter Lord
David Sproxton
Headquarters Bristol, England, UK
Key people Peter Lord
Nick Park
David Sproxton
Divisions Aardman Features
Aardman Digital
Aardman Commercials
Aardman Broadcast
Aardman International
Aardman Rights
Aardman Effects
Aardman 3-D Systems
Films distributed by 'Theatrical/DVD'
USA/International
DreamWorks/Columbia Pictures
UK
20th Century Fox/Warner Bros. (on behalf of Pathé)
Momentum Pictures
Australia/NZ
Madman Entertainment
Website aardman.com

Aardman Animations, Ltd., also known as Aardman Studios, or simply as Aardman, is a British animation studio based in Bristol, United Kingdom. The studio is known for films made using stop-motion clay animation techniques, particularly those featuring Plasticine characters Wallace and Gromit. However, it successfully entered the computer animation market with Flushed Away (2006).


HistoryEdit

Before 1997Edit

Aardman was founded in 1972 as a low-budget project by Peter Lord and David Sproxton, who wanted to realise their dream of producing an animated motion picture. The partnership provided animated sequences for the BBC series for deaf children Vision On. After creating a segment called "Greeblies" (1975) using clay animation, became what was the inspiration for creating Morph, a simple clay character. Around the same time Lord and Sproxton made their first foray into adult animation with the shorts Down and Out and Confessions of a Foyer Girl, entries in the BBC's Animated Conversations series using real-life conversations as soundtracks. However, these two shorts were not actual Aardman productions. Aardman also created the title sequence for The Great Egg Race[1] and supplied animation for the multiple award winning music video of Peter Gabriel's song "Sledgehammer".[2]


Later Aardman produced a number of shorts for Channel 4 including the Conversation Pieces series. These five shorts worked in the same area as the Animated Conversations pieces, but were more sophisticated. Lord and Sproxton began hiring more animators at this point; three of the newcomers made their directorial debut at Aardman with the Lip Synch series. Of the five Lip Synch shorts two were directed by Peter Lord, one by Barry Purves, one by Richard Goleszowski and one by Nick Park.


Park's short, Creature Comforts, was the first Aardman production to win an Oscar. Park also developed the clay modelled shorts featuring the adventures of Wallace & Gromit, a comical pair of friends: Wallace being a naive English green-knitted-tank top-wearing inventor, and Gromit his best friend, the intelligent but silent dog. These films include A Grand Day Out (1989), The Wrong Trousers (1993) and A Close Shave (1995), the latter two winning Academy Awards.


1997–2006Edit

In December 1997, Aardman and DreamWorks (later DreamWorks Animation) announced that their companies are teaming up to co-finance and distribute Chicken Run, the Aardman's first feature film, which had been already in pre-production for a one year.[3] On October 27, 1999, Aardman and DreamWorks signed a $250 million[4] deal to make an additional four films in an estimated next 12 years.[5] With the deal was also announced the first project, titled The Tortoise and the Hare. Intended to be based on Aesop's fable and directed by Richard Goleszowski,[6] it was put on hold two years later because of script issues.[7] On June 23, 2000, Chicken Run was released to a great critical and financial success. In 2005, after ten years of absence, Wallace and Gromit returned in Academy awarded Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Next year followed Flushed Away, Aardman's first computer-animated feature.


On October 1, 2006, right before the release of Flushed Away, The New York Times reported that due to creative differences DreamWorks Animation and Aardman would not be extending their contract.[8] The deal was officially terminated on January 30, 2007.[9] According to Aardman's spokesman Arthur Sheriff: "The business model of DreamWorks no longer suits Aardman and vice versa. But the split couldn't have been more amicable."[9] Unofficial reasons for departure were weak performances of the last two movies, for which DreamWorks had to take writedowns,[9] and citing the article, "Aardman executives chafed at the creative control DreamWorks tried to exert, particularly with Flushed Away..."[8] The studio had another film in development, Crood Awakening, which had been announced in 2005, with John Cleese co-writing the screenplay.[10] With the end of the partnership, the film's rights reverted back to DreamWorks.[9]


Meanwhile, on 10 October 2005, a serious fire at a storage facility used by Aardman and other Bristol based companies destroyed over 30 years of props, models, scenery and awards collected by the company. This warehouse was used for storage of past projects and so did not prevent the production of their current projects at the time. In addition, the company's library of finished films was stored elsewhere and was undamaged. An electrical fault was determined to be the cause of the blaze.


From 2006-2007, the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan, had an exhibit featuring the works of Aardman Studios. Sproxton and Lord visited the exhibit in May 2006 and met with animator Hayao Miyazaki during the visit.

2007–presentEdit

In April 2007 Aardman signed a three-year deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment to finance, co-produce and distribute feature films. Aardman co-founder Peter Lord remarked "We are all very excited by the potential and have a number of projects we are keen to bring to fruition with this new relationship." The first film, Aardman's first 3-D feature film, a computer-animated Arthur Christmas, was released in 2011. In 2012 was released The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (known internationally as The Pirates! Band of Misfits), Aardman's first 3-D stop-motion film and Peter Lord's first film as a director since Chicken Run.


Additional two films were announced in June 2007:[11]


Aardman is also known to provide generous resources and training to young animators by providing awards at various animation festivals. For example, The Aardman Award at the UK's Animex Festival in Teesside provides world class story consultation to a promising young animator, for their next film.[12]


In 2008, Aardman joined with Channel 4 and Lupus Films to launch a user-generated content animation portal called 4mations.[13]


They also designed the BBC One Christmas Idents for that year, which featured Wallace and Gromit to tie in with the showing of the new Wallace and Gromit film called A Matter of Loaf and Death on Christmas Day at 8:30pm.


In April 2008, Aardman launched the Aardman YouTube channel, which is a YouTube Partner channel featuring the entire Creature Comforts TV series, the Morph series, Cracking Contraptions and clips from the Wallace and Gromit films.[14]


From December 2008, Aardman also started posting various flash games on Newgrounds, the majority of which are based on Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep.[15]


In 2009, Nintendo announced that Aardman would make twelve short films using only Flipnote Studio from Nintendo DSi. The films were posted on Flipnote's Hatena web service provider. The first film was called The Sandwich Twins and was released on September 16, 2009. The remaining eleven films were released on a weekly basis until Christmas, and can also be downloaded using Hatena.[16]


Company nameEdit

The company name is taken from one of its early characters, a superhero created for Vision On in 1972. Unlike the claymation productions that the company are famous for, Aardman was cel-animated. The name comes from the Dutch word "aarde" meaning "earth". However, "aardman" is more commonly translated as "goblin".


Non-Aardman productions by Aardman directorsEdit

A number of Aardman directors have worked at other studios, taking the distinctive Aardman style with them. As a result, there are some animated films that, while not actually made by Aardman, are often mistaken for Aardman productions, and may be of interest to fans of the studio.


Aardman's Steve Box directed the animated music video for the Spice Girls' final single as a five-piece, "Viva Forever". Widely regarded as the Spice Girls' most critically acclaimed song, the video took over 5 months to produce, considerably longer than the group's box office hit movie, Spice World. Barry Purves, director of the Aardman short Next, also directed Hamilton Mattress for Harvest Films. The film, a half-hour special that premiered on Christmas Day 2001, was produced by Chris Moll, producer of the Wallace and Gromit short film The Wrong Trousers. The models were provided by Mackinnon & Saunders, a firm that did the same for Bob the Builder and Corpse Bride.


Similarly, Robbie the Reindeer in Hooves of Fire, a BBC Bristol/Comic Relief production, was directed by Richard Goleszowski, creator of Rex the Runt. Its sequel, Robbie the Reindeer in Legend of the Lost Tribe, was directed by Peter Peake, whose directorial credits for Aardman include Pib and Pog and Humdrum.


Aardman alumni also produced many of the claymation shorts used in the 1986-1990 American television series Pee-wee's Playhouse.Template:Citation needed


FilmographyEdit

Released films
# Title Release date Budget Gross RT IMDb In partnership with
1 Chicken Run Template:Dts $45,000,000 $224,834,564 96% 7.2 DreamWorks Animation
2 Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit Template:Dts $30,000,000 $192,610,372 95% 7.7
3 Flushed Away Template:Dts $149,000,000 $178,120,010 72% 6.9
4 Arthur Christmas Template:Dts $100,000,000 $147,230,962 92% 7.2 Sony Pictures Animation
5 The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists Template:Dts $25,200,000 94% 7.2


Upcoming films
Title Release date In partnership with Ref(s)
Shaun the Sheep 2013/2014 TBC [17]


Films in development
Title Ref(s)
The Cat Burglars [11]
Untitled Nick Park project [11]


Television seriesEdit


Short filmsEdit

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CommercialsEdit

BooksEdit


See alsoEdit


ReferencesEdit

  1. Lane, Megan (2010-10-14). Template:Citation/make link. BBC News. Template:Citation/make link from the original on 10 November 2010. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11438219. Retrieved 2010-11-17. 
  2. Peter Gabriel, 'Sledgehammer' (1986) - The 30 All-TIME Best Music Videos Time. Retrieved 23 November 2011
  3. Template:Citation/make link. Telepathy Ltd. December 3, 1997. http://www.telepathy.co.uk/aardman/news/recent/recent10.html. Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  4. Gibbons, Fiachra (1999-10-29). Template:Citation/make link. The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/1999/oct/29/artsfeatures1. Retrieved 2010-11-17. 
  5. Moerk, Christian (October 27, 2011). Template:Citation/make link. Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117757480. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  6. Dawtrey, Adam (1999-12-20). Template:Citation/make link. Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117760185. Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  7. Linder, Brian (2001-07-07). Template:Citation/make link. Ign. http://movies.ign.com/articles/301/301178p1.html. Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 M. Holson, Laura (2006-10-03). Template:Citation/make link. The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D00E7D91430F930A35753C1A9609C8B63&&scp=4&sq=aardman&st=cse. Retrieved 2010-11-17. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Fritz, Ben (2007-01-30). Template:Citation/make link. Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117958381. Retrieved 2010-11-18. 
  10. Template:Cite press release
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Template:Citation/make link. Variety. June 18, 2007. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117967121. Retrieved March 26, 2012. 
  12. Hofferman, Jon (2007-09-12). Template:Citation/make link. Animation Magazine. http://www.animationmagazine.net/events/animex-adds-aardman-award/. Retrieved 2010-11-26. 
  13. Kiss, Jemima (2008-08-28). Template:Citation/make link. London: guardian.co.uk. Template:Citation/make link from the original on 17 May 2009. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/aug/28/channel4.digitalmedia. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  14. Holmwood, Leigh (2008-10-15). Template:Citation/make link. Guardian.co.uk. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/oct/15/television-youtube. Retrieved 2010-11-17. 
  15. Wildgoose, David (2010-08-27). Template:Citation/make link. Kotaku. http://www.kotaku.com.au/2010/08/lunchtimewaster-the-physics-of-sheep/. Retrieved 2010-11-17. 
  16. Nintendo (2009-09-10). "Oscar-winning Aardman Studios to create 12 Films of Christmas with Nintendo". Nintendo. Retrieved on 2010-11-18.
  17. Template:Citation/make link. BBC. January 27, 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-12299286. Retrieved March 26, 2012. 
  18. Template:Citation/make link. This is Somerset. February 2, 2012. http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/Aardman-jobs-Germany/story-15110021-detail/story.html. Retrieved February 20, 2012. 
  19. Dredge, Stuart (October 2, 2011). "Liveblog: Keynote: Sam Register, Warner Bros. Animation". MIPBlog. Retrieved on October 4, 2011.


External linksEdit


Related informationEdit

Template:Aardman Animations Template:Wallaceandgromit Template:The Pirates Template:DreamWorks animated films Template:Sony Pictures Animation Template:Cinema of the United Kingdom Template:Animation studios



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