Monday, April 06, 2009

Wall Street Spreads More Cheer

Whatahey! It isn't just Disney that Wall Street is down on.

Shares of DreamWorks Animation SKG (DWA) fell as much as 11% Monday after Pali Capital cut its investment rating on the stock to neutral from buy, saying the computer animation company's "Monsters vs. Aliens" flick is "simply not scaring up enough attendees."

The movie got bumped down to the No. 2 spot in the box office this weekend after it brought in $33.5 million, well below the $72.5 million "Fast & Furious" generated on its debut weekend, according to "Monsters" had held the No. 1 spot last weekend, when it premiered.

"Monsters," has generated $105.7 million in domestic sales and $12.4 million in foreign sales so far, according to The international numbers have proved especially troubling to Pali, which told clients its key fear - that the movie would have limited international appeal due to its U.S. focus - is "coming to fruition."

We'll stand by the prognosticaiotn that the 3-D opus will make plenty of money. But maybe the bigger point here is that DreamWorks Animation has followed the Pixar business model: just keep cranking out one hit after another.

Now, the team of Lasseter-Catmull has done it, but it's a pretty tall order, because sooner or later every studio turns out an under-performer. Like Pixar before it, DreamWorks Animation seems to be executing the high-wire act, but it's a daunting business model for an animation house attached to a multi-national conglomerate, let alone one that is out there all by its lonesome.

So do DreamWorks Animation and the California 'toon industry a favor. First chance you get, run down to your local place of worship, light a candle and say a prayer for big overseas grosses for MvA.

DreamWorks and its animation professionals will be highly appreciative.


Anonymous said...

Every week a new movie comes out and, surprise, surprise, it's number one at the box office. Then the next week, another new movie comes out and, whattya know, it's number one at the box office, bumping the first movie to the number two position. This happens pretty much every week. So why do critics and bean counters think the first movie is a stinker because another movie came out and bumped it to number two? The only way most movies stay in the number one position for any length of time is because no worthwhile new movies come out for a week or two. All the people who went to see Monsters vs Aliens probably didn't want to go see it again the second weekend because Fast and Furious came out. If MvA stayed at number two for six months, the critics would still be tough on it because it's only at number two. Sheesh!

Anonymous said...

^ That's not a point when they point out that it slides to No.2. Every movie has to fall, the point is it drops a little sharp and its worldwide gross will be affected.

MvA has limited appeal outside the US, just like Bee Movie or even Cars before, both didn't perform well oversea, now with some big markets. 3D is not popular worldwide enough to inflate its gross either.

Its domestic BO number has to be big and it's not big enough, with its drop rate it might not cross $200M on a budget of $175M and God knows how much for marketing.

If it can stay at No.2 for 6 months, Wall Street (not critics) will marvel at it for sure.

Anonymous said...

take a chill pill and stop making films with 175 million budgets! talk about immense pressure out of the gate. bring back the budgets to more controlled amounts and focus on solid stories. geez big surprise.

Anonymous said...

MVA is hilarious fun.

Before the crash, bankers heavily rewarded large deficits. Dreamworks just played the same game every other studio in town played for a twenty year run. Now that we've turned a corner, bankers punish large deficits. Except their own, of course. That's the rub.

And BofA passes on some fiscal stimulus to JK for some 3D coupons. Oh boy! Thanks fellas! I can wear them in the soup line to make the tomato soup taste more real!

Anonymous said...

The numbers cited in the article seem off from those on The domestic numbers seem close enough, but the foreign numbers aren't even close.

Domestic: $104,799,387 69.1%
+ Foreign: $46,900,510 30.9%

Anonymous said...

take a chill pill and stop making films with 175 million budgets! talk about immense pressure out of the gate. bring back the budgets to more controlled amounts and focus on solid stories. geez big surprise."

Stop hiring expensive voice talent, stop re-writing the stories, and stop changing directors. That should save 1/3 the budget. Fire everyone in HR except 2 people to deal with what HR should be dealing with in the first place. Cut overhead by eliminating "creative exectutives (yes, they're still around-at Disney, and especially DW).

One director, one producer. One head of story, and one "writer."

robiscus said...

^great comment.

Hoggan said...

Theres one problem with getting rid of creative executives guys! They provide security to investors. Your not going to generate 175 million dollar budget let alone 100 million dollar budget having artists in charge. There not taking a risk to create beautiful art, their taking a risk to make millions. Just be happy theres an industry that provides lots of jobs to artists. ORRRR get some artists together and make your own film! If its good i'm sure someone will buy it.

Anonymous said...

_Your not going to generate 175 million dollar budget let alone 100 million dollar budget having artists in charge.

Dances With Wolves, Braveheart, etc...

Artists at the helm do fine just as often, if not more often than the Murdochs of the world. They aren't as intimidated by profit and loss like the peckerless train of MBA grads who worship at the feet of banking. And they get laid more.

What exactly do they find unappealing about Warhol's successes?

They always fail to appreciate the paradox that corporate ownership of copyright has created for their ranks. They don't know how art is made, but they own it outright. Shoveling salaries at 'young, creative-types' doesn't change that. It just papers over the blame when their bank loans require an explanation for why their movies didn't hit quarterly earnings.

The path to the tower of Murdoch only leads to the same group of bored rich bankers who are paranoid about what art to purchase for their Park Avenue apartments.

At the core though, I think they're just jealous of how we manage to get laid without having to pay for it.

r said...

"Oorr, get some artists together and make a film"....

That's what Walt Disney did, o so many years ago. He was one of those artists himself.

Don Bluth did the same decades later, with Nihm.

Spielberg had Amblim,on the live action side, Robert Redford has his studio, Ridley Scott has Scott Free Productions...Didn't Charlie Chaplin start his own studio as well?

I believe that with computers and software getting more and more affordable, there's gonna be more independent production going on, and other ways to distribute them. Much like the music industry has changed.

Anonymous said...

Maybe these animation stocks are moving down in a bear market just through investor skittishness. Some of the films that come out are insipid and boring but some of them are great and make a ton of money. You can make more money in an underpriced bear market than in a bloated bull market, you just need nerve and a bit of foresight. Buy Dreamworks on the dips and wait for 'Shrek 4' to make a pile of cash.

Anonymous said...

To r said..., What you say is true but remember for everyone of those people you mentioned there a hundreds if not thousands who fail so I wouldn’t be making it seem that it’s easy to make it in this business.

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