Tuesday, December 08, 2015

First Dud?

It's been hinted at and mentioned elsewhere, but now the financial press pipes up:

After 16 movies, it looks like “The Good Dinosaur” is Pixar’s first real box-office failure.

The film opened with a soft $39.1 million following less-than-stellar reviews (even a critically mixed Pixar movie like “Brave” opened with $66 million) and then in its second weekend only made $15.5 million, a 60% drop in sales, which is unheard of from a Pixar movie. ...

According to Variety, the film’s production budget was $200 million, and roughly $150 million was pumped into marketing. Adding in other costs, that means Disney, which releases Pixar movies, would have to make back $500 million to break even. This could happen with the help of foreign sales and home entertainment, though analysts are projecting that the movie will earn under $400 million worldwide. ...

So The Good Dinosaur might be Emeryville's first unabashed flop (though it's too soon to tell with certainty). But let us remember that Pixar's upper management has presided over animated features that were under-performers before.

For instance, Planes: Fire and Rescue took in $151,386,640 globally on a reputed budget of $50 million. (Planes, the Original, by contrast, made $239,258,712 on the same size budget.)

So, while Planes Deux might not have lost money after all the secondary markets reported in (not to mention toy merchandise), it wasn't any chart-buster. Dinosaur will take in far more at the box office. However, TGD had a budget four times the size of Planes, so it's that much harder for the picture to claw its way into the black.

The point here? Nobody but nobody hits the ball out of the park every time. John Lasseter is a talented, perceptive guy, yet even a big talent falls on his face from time to time. So if The Good Dinosaur becomes a tax write-off for the House of Mouse, let's call it a corporate palette-cleansing experience and get on to the next animated feature.

The occasional failure, after all, is good for the soul. Keeps people humble.


Unknown said...

The occasional failure, after all, is good for the soul. Keeps people humble.

That's something Jeffrey Katzenberg learned the hard way last year. Add on the car crash that nearly sent him to the same place in heaven where Woolie Reithermann and Joe Ranft reside, and if all that doesn't change your outlook on life, nothing will.

Stephen said...

It seems Pixar is becoming lazy. Though Inside Out was great, it just doesn't seem like they have the same level of enthusiasm for their projects in general. I guess they just don't have as much to prove as they used to, so they're just falling back on tried and true formulas. I think they're at a place now that's similar to the one Disney was in in the 60s and 70s: it's not that the movies were always awful, but they just didn't seem to want to push the envelope as much. Inside Out is like Jungle Book; it's good, but it's no Snow White/Toy Story. Disney, on the other hand, seems to be stepping up its game.

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