I was recently assigned the task of entertaining two three-year-old granddaughters. I saw the preview for DR. SEUSS’ THE LORAX and even though Movieguide found it to be heavily anti-capitalist I figured it wouldn’t be too frightening for the girls. My wife and I took them to the movie.
What I was not prepared for were the previews.
The first preview that came on was for PARANORMAN. Most of Norman’s friends are dead. He sees and talks to ghosts. The walls of his room are covered with pictures of skulls and such. He’s apparently called to save his town from a witch. The imagery in the preview is the exact opposite of a friendly furry Lorax. Skeleton hands were coming up from the ground groping at things. I tried to cover their eyes. That doesn’t work very well.
And, as if one animated horror preview was not enough on came FRANKENWEENIE, the story of a dead pet dog given the Frankenstein treatment. Not near as frightening as PARANORMAN, it none-the-less had graveyards, lightning, and a heavily scarred pet dog.
Have the creators of animated features run out of friendly characters? TOY STORY 3 did incredibly well worldwide with its main characters being Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Yes, it had scary moments, but it certainly couldn’t be classified as a horror show.
Sony’s 2006 animated horror show MONSTER HOUSE and the scary 2009 movie CORALINE each made $75 million. TIM BURTON’S CORPSE BRIDE made only $53 million.
SHREK 2, THE LION KING, and TOY STORY 3 made over $400 million. FINDING NEMO and SHREK THE THIRD made over $300 million.
Frankly, previews for animated horror shows make me want to hold off on taking my granddaughters to see even the less frightening fare at my local theaters. Clearly, parents and grandparents have much more control ordering the DVD from Netflix a few months later. If by chance there’s a nasty preview attached, you have the option to skip it.