Monday, March 10, 2014

Wringing of Hands

The entertainment press tells us:

... The $32.M weekend domestic box office for Mr. Peabody & Sherman was lower than the $43.7M average for DreamWorks Animation‘s recent original films, and less than most analysts anticipated. But it was strong enough to leave the basic debate over DreamWorks Animation’s stock intact with shares up less than 1% to $29.74 in morning trading. ...

But hey. They're UP. ...

Analyst Doug Creutz: “The company has been piling up an increasingly alarming film body count over the past few years.” ...

But then there's analyst Ben Mogil: “The movie did have a strong Friday to Saturday increase, even for a kids film, indicating strong word of mouth and reviews.” ...

My take: No high end animated features get automatic passes to Big Box Office anymore (if they ever did.) But I've never bought the theory that animated features "are cannibalizing each other" simply because there's a lot of them out there.

If audiences want to turn out to see your movie, they turn out. Occasionally there are surprises, but anybody with an internet connection and/or access to a sliver of the prime, movie-going public (i.e., do you have teenagers in your house?) can get a pretty good idea about what movies are going to hit big, and which ones will be in the middle of the pack (or lower).

And often, there is just a "buzz." Back in the dark ages, Star Wars had an excited hum about it. Twenty years back, I could walk through Disney Feature Animation and hear artists talking excitedly about a CG animated feature that hadn't been released yet titled Toy Story. I didn't know a thing about that Disney-Pixar release, but it quickly became apparent that TS was going to be semi-momentous in the annals of feature animation.

More recently, How to Train Your Dragon had a "This is special!" halo around it. The excited murmurs were there from the day of release, and the grosses bore that out. I'm willing to bet the lunch money that Dragons II (about which there is also good buzz), will open big.

Because it's not the number of animated features in the marketplace that matter, but the "X-factor" that each one possesses.


Floyd Norman said...

Yep, nobody knows anything. Walt's masterpiece, "Sleeping Beauty" crashed and burned on release.

Animation was finished at Disney until we made "The Jungle Book," and all was well again. Then, there was "The Little Mermaid" and eventually "The Lion King."

Don't go into animation. Apparently, there's no money in it.

Site Meter