Sunday, February 03, 2008

Kings of Worldwide Animation

Darryl Z.

It long ago stopped being about box office in the U.S. with foreign markets a minor afterthought. And it ain't about just one or two California studios anymore.

The reason pictures get made today is because of European, Asian, and South American ticket sales. Happily, that's the case with American animated entries now generating big cash flow:

Disney's "Enchanted" drew an estimated $2.8 million from 3,150 spots in 39 territories, lifting its overseas cume to $172.1 million. The title is expected to cross the $300 million mark globally this week ... Twentieth Century Fox International's Alvin and the Chipmunks lifted its overseas cume to $113.3 million ... DreamWorks Animation/PPI's "Bee Movie," [has cumed] $155.1 million ...

The point to all these numbers, as always, is that domestic animation is doing robust business in far-flung corners of the globe.

Take Alvin and the Chipmunks. To date it's collected more than $314 million ($207 million in the U.S.) on a budget of $60 million. Which means there's the same probability of Alvin II getting made toute de suite as there is of the sun coming up tomorrow morning.

Then there's Bee Movie. You read various financial pages, this DreamWorks Animation feature has been dubbed "a disappointment," and so it probably is. But thus far the disappointment has made $280 million around the world and the flow of cash hasn't stopped yet. (The budget is almost triple the chipmunk saga, but still ...)

Finally there is last summer's The Simpsons Movie, which collected $526,548,036 around the world. Not too shabby on a $75 million budget. Or even a 175 million budget.

And the producers of animation gold are no longer restricted to Disney and Disney alums. Everybody dwells on the big animated franchises of DreamWorks and Disney/Pixar, but take a moment to consider our friends at Twentieth Century Fox. In the past two years, the house that Zanuck built has generated close to $1.5 billion from its animated product (Simpsons, Alvin, Ice Age Deux).

Impressive, no? Even Walt would find it pretty awe-inspiring.


Anonymous said...

Impressive indeed...really mind blowing. I'm looking at numbers here that are amazing..."Alvin" hops past $207 million in just 6 or 7 weeks, while "Ratatouille" crossed $205 million in around 16 weeks. I'd say there's no way to handicap these studios anymore...which is a good thing, right? Cheers, Bob

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