Seems like the whole Australian animation and film industries breathed a huge sigh of relief when Happy Feet opened in the US taking $40 million US in its opening weekend. And there was follow on box office success during Thankgiving meaning the film was on par with what Madagascar achieved this time last year (a film which also featured penguins – though less photorealistic ones at that).
Happy Feet has accounted for a major percentage of the Australian film production spend over the past three years which indicates as much about the general doldrums of the industry as much as the scale of this production. There is no doubt that if this film had crashed at the box office it would have been an unmitigated disaster for the Australian industry. If nothing else, this production was a chance to propel us into the 21st Century.
Happy feet has been four years in the making and the production process, from all accounts, has been tough. But you have to take your hats off to the team involved – and I’m doing this before I’ve actually seen the film. It really does mark a new era for our industry and will hopefully pave the way for many more Australian made CG features to follow.