Thursday, January 06, 2011

$300 Million

Not a real good total, especially when your previous release earned $750 million.

... Foreign ticket sales for "Megamind" ... will likely surpass its domestic gross of $144 million eventually but not by much. ... That's in sharp contrast to last summer's "Shrek Forever After," which grossed $501 million overseas. ... One person familiar with foreign distribution ... noted that its main characters were humans and aliens and that many animated movies that perform well overseas feature animals. ...

I saw MM the weekend it was released, and liked it. But I don't think the "no animals" handicap was the main problem for the under-achievement. (Despicable Me managed to make-do without them.) Rather it was:

1) Having an outside producer (Ben Stiller) father the feature's premise. (The last time it was Jerry Seinfeld -- who's a terrific comedian but a less-terrific animation wonder-worker -- with the Bee Movie.)

2) Being the second "villain as protagonist" into the pool. Unfortunately Despicable Me got there first.

3) Having a movie with an American/urban setting. Monsters Vs. Aliens was the last in the DWA canon, , and it too under-performed in foreign venues.

DreamWorks Animation's other releases in 2010 had dragons, cats and pandas, all in settings far, far away. Both performed well. Happily, the next feature out of the gate will focus on a panda in China. The odds of higher grosses than Megamind are high.


Anonymous said...

This is a glass half full/half empty kind of thing. Compared to DW's other two movies in 2010, or to Despicable Me or TS3, it isn't so good. Even compared to Tangled, it's no great shakes.

On the other hand, MM cost a whole lot less to make than Tangled, and it's still done better than anything ever done by Sony or Laika or Aardman, or any Disney CG feature before Tangled, or any non-Ice Age Blue Sky feature. And it was a much better movie than either Bee Movie or MvA, and got good reviews.

So it's no cause for celebration, but it's no disaster, either. I think if MM had been released in the slot that MvA had, it would have done much, much better. But by late 2010, after a string of blockbuster animated movies, there was a little animation fatigue setting in.

Anonymous said...

Not so sure about the animation fatigue thing. Tangled came out 3 weeks later and did better.

Its my suspicion that audiences are now fatigued with "generic Dreamworks," as I call it. You know the type: a gag or joke every 3 seconds. Some hit, some miss. Characters are caricatures that sacrifice the human element for some goofy face or unrelated witty remark. So maybe they are getting a bit tired of that sort of thing.

However, MM was wonderfully made. Great animation. (character transition from 2d design to 3d needed another appeal pass) So the artists should be pleased.

Anonymous said...

Not so sure about the animation fatigue thing. Tangled came out 3 weeks later and did better.

Tangled was a very different movie, appealing to a very different demographic. MM appealed to pretty much the same demographic as Shrek 4, Dragons, and Despicable Me. Tangled had virtually no similarities to the earlier animated films of 2010, while MM had some obvious similarities, especially to Despicable Me.

I also don't see the 'generic DreamWorks' thing you see. The three DW movies this year were dramatically different, and the 'gag or joke every 3 seconds' applied much more to Despicable Me than to Dragons or Shrek 4.

Anonymous said...

Tangled was a very different movie, appealing to a very different demographic.

Yes. Tangled had "princess appeal", so it brought in a lot of the little girls who go for Disney Princess material. Whereas most of the humor in Megamind seemed to be aimed at 30-somethings (Donkey Kong, Superman movies, Connect kids are going to get these jokes).

The love story in each film was also age-segregated. Tangled had a trademark Disney fairy tale style romance, but Megamind had almost a romantic comedy type vibe. I can appreciate both, but it's obvious which one kids are going to be more drawn to.

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