Sausage Party is one of those movies that isn't going to appeal to everybody. The humor is very adult and that's not going to work for all moviegoers. However, hopefully, we can all agree that the people behind the movie should all be treated well. It's beginning to sound like this wasn't the case. Several people have begun to come out of the woodwork to claim that the working conditions on Sausage Party were absolutely terrible.
The whole thing started when the Sausage Party directors, Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan, were interview by Cartoon Brew. One of the items discussed was the film's budget, which has been pegged at an unusually low $20 million. Greg Tiernan talked about how Hollywood studios waste too much money and that Nitrogen Studios in Canada, where the film was animated, was able to do it for a fraction of the cost. It's all well and good, until you get down to the interview's comments section. There, you'll find numerous anonymous comments from people claiming to be animators who worked on the project. They say that the reasons costs were so low was because animators were forced to work overtime without pay. Allegedly, 30 animators walked out of the production, before the remaining ones signed a petition to demand overtime pay. Those who walked out apparently had their names scrubbed from the credits in retribution, even though most, if not all, had worked on the film for over a year.
While it's completely understandable that these artists would need to remain anonymous in the comments, as they could certainly receive punishment for airing their grievances in public, it also prevents us from being able to fully substantiate the claims. There's no way to even verify that the people are who they claim to be nevermind being able to prove the accusations. Having said all that, these statements certainly sound like they could be real. While we haven't heard a great deal about this sort of treatment within computer animated movies, for their cousins over in the video game industry, it's all too common. The concept of "crunch," required, usually unpaid, overtime in order to make a release date, has been well documented. Stories of employees sleeping at the desks are not new. It's not difficult to believe that something similar could have been going on at Nitrogen Studios.
There are a handful of comments from others, also anonymous, who talk about the wonderful time that they had working on Sausage Party and even some that claim that some of the accusations are completely false, so the situation isn't entirely cut and dried. Some who also support the claims seem to feel the problems were more to do with the fact that this was Nitrogen's first feature film, and so they didn't really know what they were doing, as opposed to the decisions being made out of cruelty. If this situation is true, hopefully, some sunlight will act as a good disinfectant. Nobody should be treated like this for any reason.