We are down to the nitty gritty on Deadline’s search for 2013’s Most Valuable Blockbuster. This is the second of our two showdowns today. Fueled by the numbers furnished by our insiders, we’ll find out just how profitable a movie really is.
TODAY’S OTHER FINAL FOUR MATCHUP
#1 ‘Iron Man 3′ Vs. #5 ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’
The Matchup: The battle of the year’s biggest animation film hits pits the year’s second-highest global gross film Frozen against Universal and Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment’s hit Despicable Me 2, the year’s third-highest global grossing film. To get here, Frozen beat The Great Gatsby and Monsters University, while Despicable Me 2 beat Star Trek Into Darkness and Fast & Furious 6.
The Box Score: What the numbers say.
The Bottom Line: This is tougher than the other Final Four matchup — and that’s saying something. On the side of Despicable Me 2, you have Comcast CEO Steve Burke calling the film Universal’s most profitable ever. It was the third-biggest-grossing film of 2013, nearly reaching $1 billion. It was third-highest domestic grosser ever for Universal, behind Hall of Fame titles E.T. and Jurassic Park. The film opened No. 1 in 67 territories, it outperformed its predecessor, and not only will spawn another film, there is a Minions spinoff film in the works. If you have been to the Universal parks, the stores are getting yellower with Minion products. And the movie was generated at a budget far lower than most of its animated competitors. On the other side, Frozen was throwback to the Jeffrey Katzenberg days when Disney regularly generated animated juggernauts — the pic was a Disney Animation project and not one from Pixar. It is second only to Toy Story 3 in total gross, and not by much. While it broke the existing Thanksgiving weekend record, Frozen’s bow was eclipsed by the juggernaut The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. While that film cooled, Frozen kept going; it surpassed the $1 billion worldwide gross mark. It has been a giant success by every measure, selling 3.2 million on DVD and Blu-ray, even as the film was finishing its theater run. The film had a net production cost of $150 million, and turned out $406.6 million in profits to Disney on total gross revenues of $879.3 million.
Despicable Me 2 comes in a shade below those numbers, but it has its own boasting rights that makes this round so competitive. On a $76 million budget, the film grossed $970.7 million worldwide. On total gross revenues of $868 million, it delivered $394.5 million profit to Universal, even after accounting for $121.5 million in participation to its production company Illumination, Meledandri, Steve Carell and Russell Brand. The Cash On Cash Return is almost identical, with Frozen turning in 1.86 and Despicable Me 2 1.83. Each spawned a huge-selling soundtrack, and Frozen won the Oscar for Best Animated Film and Best Original Song. But here’s where Despicable Me 2 shows strength in the intangibles: This movie reinforced a brand that has become one of Universal’s most important and most lucrative, with another sequel in the offing, as well as the Minions spinoff that comes next year. Universal is devoting a big section of its theme park section to a Minions attraction to open this spring. There might be a world of possibilities for Frozen, but right now, who knows?
The Winner: This is another pick ‘em and either could win. Universal will get the Minions movie opening July 10, 2015 and will yield brand value faster than the prospect of another Frozen sequel. Consider that the jump-shot at the buzzer that wins the round for Despicable Me 2, which moves on to the finals.
ELITE 8 RESULTS
#1 ‘Iron Man 3′ Vs. #8 ‘Gravity’
#2 ‘Frozen’ Vs. #7 ‘Monsters University’
#3 ‘Despicable Me 2′ Vs. ‘#6 Fast & Furious 6′
#4 ‘The Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug’ Vs. #5 ‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’
SWEET 16 RESULTS
#1 ‘Iron Man 3′ Vs. #16 ‘The Conjuring’
#2 ‘Frozen’ Vs. #15 ‘The Great Gatsby’
#3 ‘Despicable Me 2′ Vs. #14 Star Trek Into Darkness’
#4 ‘Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug’ Vs. #13 ‘Oz The Great And Powerful’
#5 ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Vs. #12 ‘World War Z’
#6 ‘Fast & Furious 6′ Vs. #11 ‘The Croods’
#7 ‘Monsters University’ Vs. #10 ‘Thor: The Dark World’
#8 ‘Gravity’ Vs. #9 ‘Man Of Steel’