WI/AHC: Animation out of the ghetto?

It's been said animated film (& TV) suffers from being in a "children's ghetto", where it can't do serious projects enjoyable by adults. (Not "adult film", i.e. porn... :rolleyes: )

What would it take for a major studio to make animated films aimed specifically at adults? Something like "Dracula", say, or even "The Maltese Falcon". Could they make money? Could they actually find an audience?

What studio (if any?) is best suited to trying this?

I have no POD in mind, but something in the late '40s/early '50s, & something before "Roger Rabbit" is released, seem like good choices. Immediately after WW2, there was a shift in the audience for comics, thanks to WW2 & the rise of EC; the same might (just) attract animation (in place of live action noir?); "Roger Rabbit" seemed to kick off the CGI boom, & could have been much less funny... (So, too, could "Toy Story".)

Is the "ghetto mentality" too ingrained?
As far as I know, the only animator to regularly make feature-length cartoons for adults was Ralph Bakshi, and he's really remembered only for Fritz The Cat(because it was risque) and Lord Of The Rings(because it was Tolkien).

I guess you also had, around that same time, Heavy Metal(also risque, and probably more for horny teenagers than full fledged adults), and Watership Down(arguably for children). The market didn't seem capable of accomadating much more adult-directed animation than that, and by the mid-1980s, the genre had all but disappeared from the theatres.

I've often wondered wondered if developmental psychologists have an explanation for why animation appeals to children moreso than live-action does. Is there something about the cartoon form that just says to kids "This will be entertaining and easy for you to understand"?

I remember as a kid, enjoying The Flintstones in syndication, even though I'm sure the subject matter of early 1960s suburban marital relations was well beyond me, and didn't understand most of the pop-culture references. (I was freaked out by Alfred Brickrock, but had no clue who he was supposed to be.)