Monday, April 05, 2010

Why Can't They Make Up Their Minds?

Last week, DreamWorks Animation stock took a beating when How to Train Your Dragon opened in an underwhelming way. But now?

While Wall Street punished DreamWorks Animation stock last week after the disappointing $44 million opening of "How To Train Your Dragon," one analyst said Monday that buyers might be tempted at current levels.

Wunderlich Securities analyst Matthew Harrigan predicted the film could approach $175 million at the North American box office on the basis of what he called "a very moderate" 34% drop during its second weekend. The 10-day haul stands at $92.1 million ...

Pessimism turns to muted optimism when movies hold up well over second weekends.

Even so, estimates for final numbers on Dragon are all over the landscape. Some experts say the domestic haul will be $150 million. But I believe the most accurate approach is to factor in the word-of-mouth ratings ("A"), then use a Koch Multiplier (pat. pending) of 4. This would carry Dragon to a $175 million domestic total. Simple, yes?

Maybe I'm filled with irrational exuberance, but I think the feature could approach Monsters v. Aliens' U.S. and Canadian numbers. ($195 million.)


Anonymous said...

Considering how shoddy Dreamworks marketed Dragon compared to Monsters, I'd say matching Monster's output would be a huge success.

Anonymous said...

I saw Dragon twice this weekend in snazzy 3D. Fantastic film. I hope to see it at least one more time in theaters this year.

Congrats to everyone who worked on Dragon.

Anonymous said...

Dragons is a great film. Maybe dreamworks best in a long time when it comes to heart. Unfortunately the massive theatre I saw it in was empty. Hoping its not suffering the 3D backlash against pricing. It is certain to be a big hit on Dvd like Frog.

Anonymous said...

The film is cute, but the 3D is dim, and the film's dark scenes are muddy and unreadable. Piss poor cinematography.

nosferatu said...

Excelent film. Terrible trailer, since,it failed to give an accurate feeling for the true character of the movie.

It was a lot of fun, and it's Dreamworks best, so far.


Anonymous said...

Piss poor cinematography.

You just lost all credibility.

The ONE thing, if anything, that this film has is good cinematography

Anonymous said...

I agree with 8:57 above. The cinematography was amazing. Once in a while though I'd take off my 3D glasses and boy, it was even more beautiful without them. I hate wearing sunglasses in theaters.

Floyd Norman said...

Yes, I believe Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois brought in Roger Deakins, best know for his work on the films of Coen brothers to act as cinematography advisor.

Deakins is a master.

Justin said...

I bet your Koch multiplier prediction of $175 is going to be within $10 million of the final domestic box office.

If Dragons continues with a consistent weekly drop (e.g. 35%) then the final domestic gross is the first week's gross divided by the weekly drop. In this case the prediction is $63.1 million / 33.7% = $187.2 million.

Anonymous said...

Deakins did better work on Wall-e, by far.

Anonymous said...

Wall-eee was boring.

Locall said...

I thought Wall-E was great!!

But back on topic, I saw Dragons last weekend, in a huge theater with only about a third of the seats filled.

In Holland you can buy a card for 18 euros a month to see as many movies in theather as you want and loads of my friends got one aswell so we talk a lot about movies, and the ones we'd like to see... no-one even mentioned Dragons, untill I did, and than this one girl said it looked extremely boring and the topic changed.

I still went to see it and liked it, and think this is the best DreamWorks CGI I've seen so far!
Still I think the dragons looked horrible (especially the HUGE one), and didn't know what to think about the older people having an irish accent while the kids didn't.

Anonymous said...

Wall-e was the best film, best reviewed film, and considered by most to be a modern classic. It also made nearly a billion dollars in the theaters and on dvd.

The Dragon movie was a fun diversion, though. I agree it was dark and dull, lighting wise.

Anonymous said...

Anon just above:

How to Train Your Dragon got a higher Rotten Tomato score than Wall-E or UP.

Best film is your opinion.
Better reviewed film is not by any means a slam dunk in either direction.

Dragon ain't no slouch in the reviews department.

Anonymous said...

Wall-e was the best film, best reviewed film, and considered by most to be a modern classic.

FWIW, a veteran animator wrote down his thoughts on Wall-E's flaws here:

Different strokes for different folks.

Anonymous said...

You can try to dismiss dragons as a diversion and hold Wall-E on a pedestal but Dragons has already garnered a higher Rotten Tomatoes score and is simply a far better film.

Perhaps if it was more boring and they thew in some jazz music it would be a "modern classic" ?

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed How to Train Your Dragon and I wish it were doing better . I've even gone to the fan-boyish extreme of emailing all my friends and family the good reviews and saying "Go see this movie , because good animation needs support at the box-office".

This is eerily reminiscent of December when The Princess and The Frog was released and "underperformed" to dire predictions of wrack and ruin with much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Compared to the Production Cost vs. the Box-Office take then Dragon is doing about the same level as Frog.

Dragon reported budget = $165 million and is predicted to make between $150 million to (maybe) $175 million domestically.

Frog reported budget = $105 million and made $104,400,899 domestically (technically Frog was still in release domestically as of last week, but is at the very tail end of it's domestic run. Still in active release in some overseas markets. )

Time will tell if Dragon actually makes back the same amount or slightly more than it's reported $165 million cost at the domestic box-office. If Dragon doesn't make more than $165 million domestically then it will have been just about as financially successful as Frog was domestically.

Anonymous said...

For those interested in seeing word-of-mouth for Dragon in realtime, search for "Toothless" on Twitter.


Here's one sample Tweet:

Post-How To Train Your Dragon Plan: Step One, buy soundtrack. Step Two, acquire stuffed Toothless. Step Three, acquire real Toothless.

Anonymous said...

I just saw Dragon this week and there were quite a few kids and parents on spring break in the theater, although it was by no means full.

It's too bad because I thought Dragon was a great film. I don't understand the comparisons to Kung Fu Panda though, I couldn't stand that film or the characters.

The marketing for Dragon though was horrible.. completely gives the wrong impression of the movie. All my friends and family have the impression that the film is completely targeted at young kids, consists of silly low brow slapstick humor and is just a lame movie over all. I completely got the impression that the movie was really stoooopid from all the commercials that were run during the olympics, and no doubt those slots weren't cheap.

But I love stereo films and once I saw the reviews were off the charts I had to go see it. The film really focuses on character and the relationship of a boy and his dragon. The music played well with the drama in the film (none of that silly comedic or over the top swelling junk you get in many animated films). The cinematography and lighting were very nice, especially certain sequences and none of that came through in the trailers.

Sadly with the increased price of 3D, the terrible marketing campaign (have they pretty much stopped advertising at this point?), the lack of any merchandise tie-ins, this BO return on this film is just not going to pan out well.

Anonymous said...

For those interested, audiences are posting their feedback on How to Train Your Dragon in realtime on Twitter. A search for "Toothless" turns up many positive reviews.

Anonymous said...

Dragon was a strong film despite the chatter and the moguls being upset that they didn't get enough money out of the gate. Loved it!

Anonymous said...

"none of that came through in the trailers."

So they pull the trailers out of their *$$? If so why not advertise your best shots in the film? Dragon is a nice little film but the trailers is exactly like the film, boring and uninteresting, that's why it doesn't make a lot of money.

nosferatu said...

Dragon is a nice little film but the trailers is exactly like the film, boring and uninteresting

what a douschebag!

I complained about the trailer when it just came out. It made the movie look like another hyperactive, 20 one-liners a minute, comedy with no heart. Totaly the opposite of what the film turned out to be.

Congratulations to the Dreamworks folk who had the luck to work on this!!


Jeremy said...

Being sandwiched between Alice and Clash of the Titans isn't helping the bottom line either. It just seems like there's more competition this year for 3d films and with higher ticket prices, I bet families had to make a choice between Alice or Dragon. Great film and I hope it has a long tail(no pun intended).

Anonymous said...

While I personally enjoyed Dragon much more than Wall-E - I'm not completely buying the "it-has-a-better-rottentomatoes-score" meme to convince me critics on the whole liked it that much more.

Check the ratings - Dragon scores a 7.8, while Wall-E scores an 8.4.

Seems to me that many of the critics are a bit more snobby than the average person, and so rated Wall-E higher than Dragon. Just so happens that more critics liked Dragon enough to give it a passing grade...

Remember that these critics are usually the same ones who like movies like "Lost in Translation" better than "Avatar."

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