The Death of Animated Film?

Maybe it was just a bad Halloween weekend at the box office, or maybe it was a movie that didn't resonate with consumers. Either way, after seeing the weak reaction for DreamWorks' (NAS: DWA) Puss in Boots last weekend, there appears to be a major drop-off in excitement for computer-animated feature films.

I started to notice the trend when Shrek Forever After failed to grab the attention of kids or adults domestically when it was released last year. The movie wasn't a complete flop, but when you combine it with Despicable Me, Megamind, Kung Fu Panda 2, The Smurfs, and even Cars 2, the animated film industry appears to be uninspired.

Now that DreamWorks, Sony (NYS: SNE) , Disney (NYS: DIS) , and Universal Studios (owned by GE (NYS: GE) and Comcast (NAS: CMCSA) ) are all competing in the same playground, the quantity of such films has gone up and the quality has gone down, to the disappointment of children and Fools everywhere.

Failing to inspire
When Pixar released Buzz and Woody onto the big screen in 1995, the whole concept of computer animation was new and exciting. People would go for the novelty and find out the storyline from Pixar was strong as well. But the industry has failed to inspire for the last few years.

Even a move to 3-D in RealD (NYS: RLD) and IMAX (NYS: IMAX) theaters hasn't helped the industry out of this funk. When you're taking kids to the movies, the few extra dollars can add up quickly and the payoff might not be appreciated at all.

So is the run of creative and intriguing computer-animated films over? For the time being, that appears to be the case. Pixar and DreamWorks, two of the industry leaders, have lost some of their magical touch recently and may have to head back to the lab to cook up another Woody or another green ogre.

Here's hoping they can do it.

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At the time thisarticle was published Don't tell anyone, but Fool contributor Travis Hoium owns every Pixar movie and also owns shares of Disney. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of DreamWorks Animation SKG, Imax, and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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