Did the uncanny valley kill Disneys CGI company?

By Brad |

About a year ago, Walt Disney Studios chairman Rich Ross did something noble, true and just — not something that Hollywood executives do very often. He closed a production company called ImageMovers Digital, which, under the sinister vision of Robert Zemeckis, had specialized in using motion-capture technology to create family-friendly animated fare foist freakish, zombie-infested abominations like The Polar Express and A Christmas Carol on moviegoers. According to the New York Times, Ross pulled the trigger after seeing early footage from an Imagemovers film that his predecessor had greenlit called Mars Needs Moms. The studio was in too deep at that point to scrap the film, but Ross knew that enough was enough: Disney wouldn’t be in the corpse-animating business anymore. Not under his watch.

Turns out it wasn’t a moment too soon: Mars Needs Moms bellyflopped in truly epic fashion upon its release earlier this month, destroying hundreds of millions of Disney dollars in the process. “Was it the idea” The execution? The timing? There are a lot of excuses being floated,? an executive told the Times. Here’s a hunch: maybe it was that whole “THE CHARACTERS LOOK LIKE THE %*#@ING UNDEAD” thing. Or, to use the technical term, “the uncanny valley.”

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