Seth Rogen Did Not Want ‘TMNT’ Animators Overworked and Suffering, Told Director That Work Should Not ‘Become Their Entire Lives’

A Vulture report published in June claimed that animators on Sony’s “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” were extremely overworked during production. The report followed similar claims made by several visual effects workers about the brutal working conditions at Marvel Studios. For Paramount’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem,” it appears director Jeff Rowe wanted to buck this problematic trend. He recently told Insider that producer Seth Rogen helped him ensure that animators on the film were not overworked and suffering.

“That was the thing that was really important to us on this film, and I learned it from Seth and Evan because in getting to know Seth, I’m like, ‘He has a really good work-life balance and everyone at Point Gray does,’” Rowe said, referring to Rogen’s production company. “And I asked him about that and he is like, ‘Well, when you’re doing live action, sometimes you’re on a set for 40 days in a row and it is exhausting and tiring. And we want to make sure that our people have time away from that and that it doesn’t become their entire lives.’”

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“I really took that to heart and wanted to make sure that when we made this film, we did it ethically,” Rowe continued, noting that he got feedback directly from the film’s animators about what would make them most comfortable. Some of them wanted to work “three days a week,” for instance, while others asked to work remotely.

“We’d be like, ‘Great, let’s figure that out, and let’s accommodate that because that’s your process and that’s what leads you to make your best art,’” Rowe said. “And we would often do that with most of the team and just try to make sure everyone always felt supported. I never want the team to be suffering more than I am. And I also hopefully am suffering more than the team because I’m the captain and I’m paid to absorb that, and they’re not. It’s important to preserve that. People just do better work when they’re rested and have home lives.”

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” pulled in a solid $28 million during its opening weekend. The film opened on a Wednesday and earned a five-day gross of $43 million. With a $70 million production budget, the film is far cheaper than Pixar’s $200 million-budgeted “Elemental” and Sony’s $100 million-budgeted “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.”

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