The Balto Success Timeline
In one timeline’s 1995, Balto flopped at the box office. The exact reasons are unclear but this is mostly attributed to competition with Toy Story, which not only was a damn good movie but a visual novelty at the time. This had a negative chain reaction that would result in the closing of Amblimation Studios, the rise and fall of Dreamworks Animation, and ultimately the dominance of CGI in the western movie industry. Balto would have two direct to video sequels, but in the end its clear which movie is the household name.
But what if this did not happen?
Invision a winter 1995 where Balto is a financial success. Whereas Toy Story is or not is irrelevant; there is approximately a window of a month for either movie to amass its budget back. Pixar may or may not be born, but Amblimation Studios does not die.
This results in the following:
- Cats the animated musical finalises production. Riding on the coattails of Balto, it does reasonably well enough for itself. A crisis is averted whereas out timeline suffers.
- Dreamworks Animation ultimately does not form. There’s not an exodus from former Amblimation employees, ergo the studio remains small at best. It is possible that Antz gets made, but the 90’s and early 2000’s animation works like The Prince of Egypt and Spirit ultimately do not happen, at least not without the quality of Amblimation behind them. Shrek never comes to be.
- The biggest alteration is a prolonged survival of 2D animation in the western market. While CGI becomes a novelty regardless of whereas Pixar is in the picture or not, there is no immediate pressure to jump ship/saboutage 2D productions as the first domino to fall still stands. This makes a balmier 2000’s as far as 2D is concerned, possibly forcing CGI movies to either fully commit to different aethetics/audiences or inducing a more rapid evolution of styles to appeal to the same sensibilities. If Pixar exists it remains Disney’s primary CGI factory. with the main studio retaining mostly 2D productions. The shift might occur in the recession, but this is also when Disney made an attempt to return to 2D so it is unclear if the financial climate will fundamentally alter this.
- Amblimation’s success after Cats is pure speculation, but it can be reasoned that it becomes a household name if Balto is financially successful. It might receive the same sequels, albeit with higher animation quality and possibly a couple more. Universal becomes an unexpected dark horse in the race for animated feature films, and a menagerie of failed pitches might see the light of day here. It is clear that without Katzenberg we won’t see The Prince of Egypt or Sinbad transplanted to Universal, so “Dreamworks but Universal since ever” is not a thing.
- It is possible that the back-and-forth game of animated direct to video sequels between Universal and Disney does not happen as the former was influenced by the latter according to interviews on Baltosource. However, this is no loss as it might suggest that cinematic feature films, good or bad, exist instead of ten trillion The Land Before Time sequels.
- Wolfaboo cults become a dominant religious an cultural movement and everyone dies. The end.