There was a time, not that long ago, that people paid one admission price and spent all day at the movies. No need for morally questionable theater hopping: a single ticket got you a couple movies, a newsreel, a short or a cartoon and a trailer. A variety of factors including the advent of television and the Paramount Decision that forced studios to divest themselves of their theater chains put us on the road to where we are now, paying twelve and a half bucks for a couple of commercials, a couple of commercials masquerading as news, a couple more commercials, some trailers (which, let’s face it, are commercials) and one measly feature.
As far as I’m concerned, any extension of the moviegoing experience that doesn’t involve ads is a good thing. And there are small but encouraging signs that preshow shorts, particularly cartoons, are making a comeback. We’ve come to expect a new short with each new Pixar film; this year’s “Day & Night” was a far more formally complex film, particularly in regards to the use of 3D, than “Toy Story 3.” Other animation studios have dabbled in new shorts and now Warner Brothers has brought back the best brand in shorts to theaters: the Looney Tunes have returned.
Like me, you might have missed this news because you didn’t catch “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” in theaters last weekend, but Cartoon Brew has the full details on “Coyote Falls,” the new Roadrunner and Coyote short directed by Matthew O’Callaghan (“Curious George”) that premiered in front of the film. Modern fashion means Roadrunner and Coyote have been given the 3D treatment but this brief preview suggests they’ve made the extra-dimensional transition with ultra-violent sense of humor intact.
A move to more shorts makes sense: exhibitors and studios are looking for ways to make the moviegoing experience unique in the face of better and better home theater equipment; re-elongating that experience is a good place to start. If the promise of the first new Looney Tunes in years isn’t enough to lure you into “Cats and Dogs” two more Roadrunner and Coyote cartoons are coming this year, attached to Warner Brothers’ “The Legend of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole,” and “Yogi Bear.” For now, that’s all folks.