Saturday, January 26, 2008

Negativity

The New York Times cites analysts who think DreamWorks Animation will be encountering a bump in the road:

In forecasting a negative surprise for DreamWorks, StarMine heavily weighted the views of Drew E. Crum, a Stifel Nicolaus analyst who recently lowered his quarterly estimate of DreamWorks’ earnings to 66 cents a share, versus a consensus of 86 cents a share. Reached by telephone, Mr. Crum said the studio’s “Bee Movie” has had “disappointing” domestic box-office figures, estimating revenue of $127 million versus his earlier expectation of $155 million. And DVD sales of “Shrek the Third” will also disappoint, he said. He expects that shipments of the DVD in its first four weeks of availability will be just half the number for its predecessor, “Shrek 2,” in the comparable initial period in 2004.

Despite lowering his forecast, he kept a buy recommendation on the stock, citing what he called reasonable valuation.

My thinking has always been that a company -- any company -- constructs itself a challenging business model when the basic math requires that the co. hit a home run ... or at least a triple ... everytime it steps up to home plate.

The fact that Bee Movie is "disappointing" after taking a domestic gross of $127 million is a reality to ponder. Few films make it to $100 million. (And yeah, I know that the break-even is high because the budgets of DreamWorks' cg films are high.)

18 comments:

robiscus said...

the fact of the matter is that 'Bee Movie's production was fraught with problems and when it was finally unveiled, the movie was lackluster and struck the public as the "same old CGI" shtick.
now we have 'Kung Fu Panda' about to be released and it too has had a production run fraught with problems and a betting man would say it will hit the public in the same way as Bee Movie(especially if that betting man has seen the dismal trailers).

...and all of this is multiplied by Lasseter implementing a real creative studio archetype at Disney that is based off the juggernaut of success Pixar.

so i wouldn't give Dreamworks a good forecast either.

Anonymous said...

Come on, tell the truth, Rob...you'd never give DW a good forecast, would you?

Anonymous said...

$127 million is petty impressive for a movie born out of a dinner conversation where Seinfeld says to Katzenberg "hey, you oughta make a movie about bees and call it Bee Movie! Ha, ha... Bee movie! See, it sounds like B-movie but it's really Bee Movie!"

That seems to be a definitive case of thinking that you just have to make some talking animals in expensive CG and people will flock to see it.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised Bee Movie made that much. I saw it recently via a screener, and my first reaction was "I'm glad I didn't pay to see that". Apparently many weren't as lucky.

Anonymous said...

Dreamworks can do no right by many of the people who comment here and at other animation sites but even haters will find no comparison between Bee Movie and Kung Fu Panda. "Fraught with problems"? Actually, Bee Movie had practically zero production "problems". Anyway, plenty of ultimately successful animated films had chaotic and troubled productions. All that matters is the end product people pay to see.

As for Panda: different story, crew, people, very different designs(which are beautiful, by the way. Look at all of them and tell me they're not-but LOOK at them FIRST), different from top to bottom. No one knows yet how good it is unless they've seen it. It's not "the same old CG" and to say so sells the animators' and designers and story people short. If it's a success Panda will succeed with audiences on its own merits. But it has to be seen first.

Spock Foolish said...

"Drew E. Crum"?!? Seriously?
Why not "CG Crappington"?

Anonymous said...

>>No one knows yet how good it is unless they've seen it.<<

One can draw some conclusions from the trailer.

Doomsday said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"One can draw some conclusions from the trailer."

The vast majority of ALL trailers, animated and otherwise, are horrible-badly edited/wrong dialogue with image/bad/lame narration etc.

So although I can't help but sometimes cringe at what I see on screen in a trailer I also know better than to draw conclusions(a conclusion is after all "a final opinion")from them. But go ahead-by all means, prejudge! Just don't expect anyone to take your opinions seriously.

Anonymous said...

Robiscus, I think you're off your nut.

I don't know what you've seen of Kung Fu Panda, but that thing has got hit written all over it. I saw a 20 minute presentation on it over a year ago, and that thing was solid, tight, with mind-blowing animation and character appeal that was through the roof. Everyone I talked to after (all Disney talent) said it looked like it would be a huge (and hilarious) hit for DW.

robiscus said...

how many rewrites did they do on that thing? hasn't it set the record for being in production the longest? wasn't Jack Black even so disheartened by it that he asked Jeffrey Katzenberg to retool the plot?

you have your take and i have mine. if its a hit, then i'll be back in here to congratulate you. keep in mind though that its going to have to put up BIG numbers to be a hit and the tide is rising againts most CGI animated fare(no matter what their quality is). there's the facts about its production coupled with it being YET ANOTHER talking furry animal CGI cookie cutter film.

Anonymous said...

Panda is NOT a "cookie cutter" film.
Did you work on it? Do you even work at that studio? I'm betting the answer to both is NO. If so, where do you egt your scuttlebutt? Ain't it Cool News? Jill Hill? btw, the answer to your two questions is "NO". Have you seen any scenes--REAL scenes, not a trailer(as stated before, the trailers are usually not only poor representations)? Have you ever heard of the expression "stfd"?

I didn't work on it either, but I'm close enough that I do know the correct answers to your questions.

And this: "the tide is rising againts most CGI animated fare(no matter what their quality is)"-makes your whole post look ridiculous and uninformed.
It's simply not borne out by the facts-that Ratatouille and the beloved Shrek 3 were HUGE B.O. last year. What's your basis for this supposed "rising tide" against CG? Sorry, we'll have to agree to disagree.

And given the comments you make it sounds like you may not work in the industry at all, so excuse me, but pffft! to your adjudged opinion.
Spealking of opinions and assuming for a minute you aren't an animation member of 839, what are you doing on this union blog to begin with(I'm really curious)?
Think we head-in-the-sand peons haven't heard all the negative press before, and you'll give us a dose of reality? Believe me, we've heard it all before.
You sound like you're sure of the death knell of CG, sooo...are you a stop-motion guy? Old-school 2D? Believe this old timer-there's room for ALL of it to be successful. What you are writing is just prejudged negativity, not constructive at all and doesn't add to a discussion. It's just bashing. Can you see that? Leave films alone that haven't come out yet-they really do deserve that chance for god's sake. Do all the artists who worked on it that favor, if you love animation.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 9:08 I think you misunderstand what hevis saying specifically. He hates DW and they could never do anything worthy and anyone who thinks otherwise is an uneducated idiot. Did I sum it up for you correctly Robiscus?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 9:08...the doctor called, said you forgot your valium prescription!!

to rob:

Anybody who judges a book by it's cover is a fool!!

R.

robiscus said...

yes. get that valium right quick.

Kevin Koch said...

Just got back from visiting DreamWorks for the first time in a long while. Had a nice lunch with some friends, and watched a sequence from KFP and from Monsters vs. Aliens.

Three words: a-friggin-mazing. No wonder the crew is so psyched about these films.

Anonymous said...

Toldya.

And i work for a competetor.

Anonymous said...

"yes. get that valium right quick."

Wow, that's so...witty. And constructive.

Kevin, any chance you'll ever cull these comments of idiots who troll?
I enjoy good give and take and relish differences of opinion made without rancor but nobody needs to post-or read-snide insults. I'll opt out and leave it to the wannabes and fans.

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