A few weeks ago at the Founders Forum, Jeffrey Katzenberg stressed the importance of ancillary content on top of DreamWorks Animation's feature film output. True to Katzenberg's word, DWA has licensed its upcoming release "The Croods" to Rovio Entertainment, the creators of "Angry Birds," to create a mobile game based on the feature.
Rovio, which previously adapted its "Angry Birds" game to the DWA bird-themed feature "Rio," worked closely with DWA's in-house animators to expand "The Croods" pre-historic world into the realm of mobile games. ...
My confidence would be higher in Gina if she knew that Rio was a Blue Sky Studios production. (Oh well.)
This has got to be a nervous time for studios large and small. Last March, Hunger Games was a huge hit, but this year, Jack the Giant Slayer appears to be an unfolding disaster.
Next Friday, Disney will have a lot riding on its Oz the Great and Powerful. (Thus far, reviews and audience tracking are positive.) However ...
Comparisons between "Oz" and "Jack" seem inevitable because of their budgets, fantasy themes and most of all, the proximity of their release dates. Advance tracking shows "Oz" heading for an opening far better - with maybe $70 million - than the $27 million "Jack" managed.
But with that $200 million budget, it's no lock that "Oz," which stars James Franco, will wind up a major money earner. ....
And two weeks later comes The Croods, a feature DWA hopes is its comeback picture. Projections are for it to open in the $35-$45 million range domestically, which would probably carry it beyond the $103 million domestic take that Guardians rang up.
Assuming The Croods reaches $150 million in the U.S. and Canada, while making twice this amount across the rest of the world, then the movie will move into the black. As David Lieberman says:
If The Croods is a success, then investor concerns about the company “will fade,” Lazard Capital Markets Barton Crockett says. But a miss “would amp concerns about a creative crisis, and the big cash drain that results when movies misfire.” Good box office sales may not be good enough. Barclays’ Chris Merwin says the company needs “an exceptional performance” — he expects Croods to generate $150M domestically
Personally, I think the cave persons will do considerably better than Rise of the Guardians. Sight gags and physical humor -- and The Croods has plenty of both -- are audience pleasers.
For DreamWorks Animation's sake, let's hope this is the case.