The film’s performance is a big deal for DreamWorks Animation investors following the $87M writedown the company took for its Christmas release Rise Of The Guardians. But Cowen and Co’s Doug Creutz this morning joins the growing ranks of company followers who say that they’re pleasantly surprised by the performance of The Croods, the comedy about a pre-historic family on a road trip. The analyst raised his international box office estimate nearly 44% to $308M. What’s more, he lifted his forecasts for the studio’s future films noting that DWA’s first release distributed by Fox provides “increased confidence” that the partnership “will meaningfully improve overseas performance.” Although Creutz continues flash a yellow light “neutral” for DreamWorks Animation as an investment, he lifted his earnings per share estimate for this year about 49% to 58 cents adding that his “bias on the stock is now leaning to the positive side.” The second-weekend performance of The Croods did a lot to reassure analysts. Janney Capital Markets’ Tony Wible raised his domestic box office estimate to $152M from $116M. Wells Fargo Securities’ Marci Ryvicker said that the weekend’s “low decay of 39.3%” from the opening weekend puts it “on track to beat our prior 6-week est. of $115.0M.”

B. Riley & Co’s David Miller was less impressed, calling the drop over a holiday weekend “a concern for bulls on the stock” — contrasting it to How To Train Your Dragon whose domestic box office tally fell 34% in its second weekend. He’s leaving his global box office estimate of $420M unchanged and reminds investors that “The Croods needs to get to $340M [worldwide] in order to avoid a write-down.” Investors seem to remain wary; DreamWorks shares are down about 5% over the last two weeks although they’re up 9% thus far in 2013. Creutz may have hit on the reason this morning: DreamWorks Animation’s Turbo, out on July 19, remains an “immediate concern.” It “will face intense competition” from four animated films including Fox’s Epic (out May 24), Disney/Pixar’s Monsters University (June 21) Universal’s Despicable Me 2 (July 3) and Sony’s Smurfs 2 (July 31) in addition to “a very crowded slate of live-action blockbusters.”

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