4:16pm PT by Scott Feinberg
'The Croods' First Animated Oscar Screener to Reach Voters
In a year when the best animated feature Oscar race seems to be wide open, will it help a contender to be the first to arrive in voters' mailboxes? Fox and DreamWorks Animation certainly seems to think so. Ahead of all the animated competition, the distributor and production company have sent sent official screeners of The Croods, a hit when it opened in March, to Academy members. Regular, commercially-produced DVDs have been sent to members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. The mailings went out on Oct. 2 and arrived at the end of last week.
Kirk DeMicco and Chris Sanders' $135 million film, a 3D computer-animated adventure-comedy about a family living in prehistoric times, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in February before opening wide in the U.S. on March 22. The film was greeted with mostly positive reviews and grossed $585 million worldwide. A sequel and related television series are now in development. The film's DVD and Blu-Ray (in 2D and 3D) went on sale to the general public on Oct. 1.
Several of the category's other top contenders do not have the luxury of getting their films to voters quickly because they are still playing or have yet to open in U.S. theaters. Sony's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 opened Sept. 27; Relativity Media's Free Birds, Disney's Frozen and Touchstone's The Wind Rises are all coming in November; and Fox will release Walking with Dinosaurs 3D on Dec. 12. GKIDS' Earnest & Celestine hasn't been dated yet. And even once those films hit theaters, distributors may still delay the release of any screeners since there is widespread concern that piracy of screeners could cost films millions at the box office.