Today I rambled around the DreamWorks Animation campus ... and an employee shared his views on the performance of Monsters Vs. Aliens.
Me: MvA is doing pretty well, isn't it?
DreamWorker: Oh, it's done really well domestically. Better than Madagascar II, and they're happy about that. But the studio's been disappointed how the picture's done overseas. It's underperformed compared to Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda.
Me: Why do you think that is?
DreamWorker: It's very American. The girl's American, an American go-getter. There's the U.S. military, the President. And it's set in San Francisco. I don't think foreign audiences are tuned into those kinds of things, it's too U.S. of A ...
As I listened to what he said, I thought: Yeah, makes sense. Why didn't I think of that?" And the more I turned it around in my head, the more compelling the explanation became, because there's a lot of circumstantial evidence to support it. Just look right here:
Kung Fu Panda
Domestic gross $215,454,591
domestic 34.1%; foreign 65.9%
Worldwide gross: $631,908,951
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
Domestic gross: $180,010,950
domestic 30.3%; foreign 69.7%
Worldwide gross: $594,889,020
Monsters Vs. Aliens
Domestic gross: $187,151,273
domestic 56.7%; foreign 43.3%
Worldwide gross: $330,151,273
The percentages are pretty compelling, don't you think? A 30/60 split for the previous two features, but a 55/44 split for the present release.
The DreamWorker's explanation makes sense to me.