The animation movies have come a long way. I remember back in 94 when Pixar announced it was doing a 100% computer animated feature film. Everyone in the film industry said it would fail as there was no way they could pull it off. I knew Pixar as I had been working with their Renderman application and knew the software could pull it off.
The movie was a smash. They pulled off the same wonder for Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, Cars, Incredibles, Wall-E, Up. Inside Out. But I guess for all the successes there have been some major duds too.
What I find disappointing is that many of the movies fall well short in the engaging story line and just rely on special effects to try and fill the gap.
I personally wish that Hollywood release only 1/3 the number of films but actually spent the time and effort to make those they do have something worth watching.
I would expect with the ongoing consolidation of the companies in the industry, you have essentially the bean counters pretty much running the operations now and they stay with the tried and true and with the countless sequels, milk them for all their worth. In the last few days, just further consolidation with Geffen selling out his Dreamworks studio to Comcast for a cool 3.8 billion.
There have always been independent production companies around, however, they need financing and the screens to show their films which, for the most part, the main studios control.
I can recall an interview back a couple of years ago with James Cameron, (whom has a made a successful blockbuster or two) who said that whenever he came up with an idea to pitch to the studio and the "suits", it was like he was a first time director/writer whom had never made a movie before, reputations mean little or nothing anymore in Hollywood. It took him several years from the idea/writing stage to actual production and ultimate release of "Avatar".