Is 2D Animation Making a Comeback?


The following is another guest, opinion, post by Michael Shorkey.

Is 2D Animation Making a Comeback?

In Recent Years many American Companies have switched from Classic 2D to 3D animation, saying that “Hand-Drawn is Dead”, but it is mostly Hollywood saying that. In Recent Years a number of 2D Animated Films, both independent and internationally have gained followings, prominence and even awards/nominations.

Many people can point to the 2019 Christmas Film “Klaus”, written by Spanish Director Sergio Pablos and made by his company “Sergio Pablos Animation Studios”. The Veteran of films such as Despicable Me and Small Foot, he teamed up with Netflix to made a film that utilized the best of Hand-Drawn work and made a heartwarming Christmas Film that many now consider a classic, despite it being only a year old. The film gained many awards, winning every award it was nominated for at the 47th Annie Awards (7 Total) and was even nominated for Best Animated Film at the 92nd Academy Awards (But lost to the Highly Overrated Toy Story 4, because Pixar wins every year).

But I’m not here to talk about just Klaus, I’m also here to highlight the Animation Studio Cartoon Saloon. Originally known for Short Films and Saturday Morning Cartoons like Skunk Fu, the Irish Based Studio astonished audiences with 2009’s “The Secret of Kells”, showing how 2D animation can be used to tell deep and powerful stories, not just for children but for all audiences, taking inspiration from classic Medieval Tapestries and developing their own style. These great works of art, such as Song of the Sea and the upcoming Wolfwalkers has dubbed them by some and The European Studio Ghibli. 

But if you want proof of 2D doing financially well look no further than Japan/Asia. Of course you have Studio Ghibli, who have released countless Masterpieces over the years, but various films, especially ones based on popular anime, destroy the Japanese Box Office, such as the recent Demon Slayer film making over $100Million in its first week. This makes the argument “2D is Dead” look like a bunch of hogwash. 2D still thrives not only internationally, but also with the current Streaming Wars we are seeing companies like Netflix step up their game with animation, even saying they want to compete with Disney on the Animation side of things.

If Disney were smart, they would bring back their 2D Department to make content for their Disney+ Service, since many hardcore Disney Fans want a return to the classics. The argument that 2D isn’t profitable was based on the 2009 film The Princess and The Frog, which didn’t make as much money as Disney was hoping it would. But the reason why it didn’t do as well wasn’t because it was a 2D Animated film, it’s because at the same exact time James Cameron’s Avatar was released, and we all know how big that film was. So a lot of people who wanted to watch a movie on Christmas chose to see Avatar because it was THE movie to see. Princess and the Frog was a casualty of Avatar’s success, and essentially changed the Animation Industry in America for the foreseeable future.

With the recent renewed interest in Hand Drawn work, especially on Streaming, there is a possibility that 2D Animation might come back to the forefront in one way or another, be it through Netflix, or Disney+, or if the theaters re-open, either 3D or 2D the future looks bright for animation.

**side note from PNP** I sure hope he’s right! We at PNP totally agree with this viewpoint!

What do you think? Comment and let us know!


Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.