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2013 Most Valuable Blockbuster – #6 ‘Fast & Furious 6′ Vs. #11 ‘The Croods’; #3 ‘Despicable Me 2′ Vs. #14 Star Trek Into Darkness’

Mike Fleming

The third of four posts today in Fast & Furious 6 Despicable Me 2 ProfitDeadline’s Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament. The subsequent rounds will play out next week.

Other Matchups:
#1 ‘Iron Man 3′ Vs. #16 ‘The Conjuring’
#2 ‘Frozen’ Vs. #15 ‘The Great Gatsby’
#4 ‘Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug’ Vs. #13 ‘Oz The Great And Powerful’
#5 ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Vs. #12 ‘World War Z’
#7 ‘Monsters University’ Vs. #10 ‘Thor: The Dark World’
#8 ‘Gravity’ Vs. #9 ‘Man Of Steel’





Fast-CroodsHow They Got Here: Fast & Furious 6 is the last one directed by Justin Lin, who took this off franchise life support. His finale was the ninth-highest domestic grosser of the year and eighth-biggest worldwide grosser with a $789M global tally. It continued the momentum of Universal’s most valuable live-action franchise, and of course all this happened before the tragic death of stalwart Paul Walker, which has dramatically A scene from The Croodsimpacted the next film that will resume production at month’s end. Up against it is #11 grosser The Croods, another powerhouse animated film from DreamWorks Animation that got an Oscar nom for Best Animated Picture.

The Bottom Line: Both films are burdened by high production costs, with Fast & Furious carrying more in talent participations, and The Croods paying an 8% distribution fee to Fox. Our experts peg the Fast & Furious budget at $260 million, a huge number that is much higher than what the studio admitted to. The Croods tab was $175 million in production FastFurious6costs.

The Winner: Per our experts, this one turns out to be a close call. Our experts say that Fast & Furious 6 made $135.1 million profit for Universal, while The Croods turned in $106.5 million in profit to DreamWorks Animation. Given the durability of the race car franchise, I’m going to give this round to Fast & Furious 6.
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OSCARS: Time For A Toon To Take Best Picture

By | Friday February 21, 2014 @ 2:27pm PST

What is it going to take for an animated pic to shatter the Best Picture live action ceiling?

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences created an animated feature category back inAwardsLine 2001, it was an official nod to the fact that the genre has evolved into a true art form. Before the category’s existence, it was a rare feat for a toon to earn a best picture nomination, which happened just once, in 1992, with Beauty And The Beast. The fact that Up and Toy Story 3 recently managed to get best picture and best animated feature noms after the animated category was created and the top category was enlarged shows just how much Academy voters love and respect these films. Yet despite this progress, no animated film has turned a best pic nom into a win.

Beauty-and-the-Beast-beauty-and-the-beast-309492_1024_768But times are changing, and it is now conceivable that an animated film could take home a best picture statuette in the next decade. The universal appeal of toons—proven by the enviable worldwide box office a majority of them earn—coupled with an emerging generation that blurs the assumed boundaries between live action and line drawings, bodes well for this prospect.

Related: The Croods’ Creative Team Tells How They Pulled Off A Big Win For Dreamworks Animation (Video)
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‘Made In Hollywood’ Awards Struggle To Find Oscar-Nominated Movies To Honor

By | Thursday February 13, 2014 @ 4:31pm PST
Pete Hammond

Made In Hollywood? When it comes to Oscar nominees don’t count on it.

The third annual “Made-In-Hollywood” awards were presented today at 1600 Vine, former site of the famous Brown DerbyLos Angeles City Council's Made In Hollywood Award Presentation restaurant, to the producers of Her, The Croods and Frozen, pretty much the only higher profile Oscar nominees that qualified even remotely as a film wholly or in substantial part made in Southern California. Frozen producer Peter del Vecho, Croods producers Kristine Belson and Jane Hartwell, and Her producer Vincent Landay accepted proclamations from presenter Jacqueline Bisset and L.A. City Councilmen Tom LaBonge and Mitch O’Farrell who said these honors were conceived as a way to encourage local production by rewarding Academy Award nominated films for keeping their productions in their “historic home”. The Councilmen whose districts include Hollywood want to “promote the full and well-earned use of the vast reservoir of filmmaking talent, creative artists, craftspeople and technicians”. Of course this is a big part of the reason Mayor Eric Garcetti created the job of L.A. Film Czar, filled briefly by the late Tom Sherak and now in the hands of Ken Ziffren. There’s lots of TV production but the movie industry has definitely fled for other environs. Previous winners in the first two years of the program, Argo and The Artist were the only two films in their respective years that qualified and both went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars.
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Annie Awards: ‘Frozen’ Wins Big Including Best Feature; Miyazaki Gets Best Writing; Spielberg Honored; ‘Futurama’ & ‘Sofia’ Top TV; ‘Get A Horse!’ Best Short

Annie Award WinnersDisney’s Frozen was on fire tonight at the 41st Annie Awards and now is generating real heat for the upcoming Academy Awards. Having made $864.4M worldwide at the box office since its late-November release, the 3D fantasy musical snagged 5 Annies tonight. Frozen won Best Animated Feature, Best Directing for Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, Best Music, Production Design and a Voice Acting win for Josh Gad. who also was a presenter. Whether this will translate into Oscar gold remains to be seen. Last year’s big Annie winner, Wreck-It Ralph, which Lee co-wrote, ended up losing the Best Animated Feature Oscar to Pixar’s Brave. However, the 2012 Annie Feature winner Rango did win at the Oscars that year.

“We haven’t even started talking about a sequel yet,” Frozen co-director Jennifer Lee told me before the ceremony started. “We’ve talked about the Broadway musical but not a sequel. No one’s even mentioned it,” said Lee, who just flew in today from a promotional visit to Tokyo.

frozen2With 30 awards handed out and hosted by Patrick Warburton, this year’s Annies from UCLA’s Royce Hall also saw animation trailblazer Hayao Miyazaki take home the Writing in an Animated Feature award for The Wind Rises and Disney’s Mickey Mouse throwback pic Get A Horse! — which played before screenings of Frozen — take the Best Animated Short prize. Steven Spielberg, Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo and Star Wars and Jurassic Park effects whiz Phil Tippett were honored with the Annies’ prestigious Winsor McCay for their contribution to the art form. DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods garnered three awards, for Best Animated Effects in an Animated Production, Character Design and Character Animation. The Chris Meledandri-headed Illumination and Universal’s Despicable Me 2 took the Best Animated TV/Broadcast Commercial award.

A recap of Deadline’s live blog of tonight’s show follows the winners list below.

Disney’s ‘Frozen’ Stays Hot With Sing-Along Version Headed To Theaters
‘Despicable Me 2′ Breaks Records In $80M Home Vid Debut
OSCARS: Best Animation 2013 – Titans Vs. Indies In A Wide Open Race

Toy-Story-of-TerrorThe Halloween special Toy Story of Terror! and Disney Mickey Mouse each won three awards. Best General Audience Animated TV Production and best Writing in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production went to Futurama, while Disney’s Sofia The First picked up the category’s Preschool Children award. Industrial Light & Magic’s Pacific Rim team won the Animated Effects in a Live Action Production for their work on Warner Bros and Legendary’s apocalyptic blockbuster.

After a slightly late start, host Warburton kicked off the show by making a joke that he has “no experience as a host” but that the Annies are his favorite awards show. He later said of Royce Hall, “What a terrific venue to have the Annies — or, if you’re Seth MacFarlane, a birthday party.” He added that maybe he shouldn’t have mentioned it because “not everybody here was invited.” Later he said, “We lost Brian the dog on Family Guy this year. That was tragic news for fans of the show. … Tragic news for me would be if I found out Rogaine caused brain cancer.” He added that, “So Seth MacFarlane killed a dog. To me that makes him no better than Michael Vick.” The joke got a big laugh.

Congrats to all who took home an Annie tonight, check out the full list of winners below:

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OSCARS: DreamWorks Animation’s ‘The Croods’ Deals With “Questions About Life”

By | Thursday December 12, 2013 @ 1:41pm PST

Thomas J. McLean is an AwardsLine contributor.

Caveman movies are favorites for Chris Sanders, co-writer and co-director of DreamWorks AwardsLine.LogoBWAnimation’s The Croods. But even his familiarity with the genre didn’t prepare him for just how deep the movie about a caveman family tempted away from the absolute safety of their cave to risk finding a more rewarding life in the larger world could get.

The-Croods_1“It is purely about family and relationships, and really about life in general,” says Sanders, who previously co-wrote and co-directed Lilo & Stitch for Disney and DreamWorks’ How To Train Your Dragon. “That was the big surprise for me, was that within a few weeks we realized that we weren’t just dealing with a family, we were dealing with very large questions — questions about life and existence, and that’s something with a caveman film that I didn’t expect.”

Related: Annie Award Nominations Unveiled
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The Contenders 2013: ‘The Croods’ Creative Team Tells How They Pulled Off A Big Win For Dreamworks Animation (Video)

By | Friday November 8, 2013 @ 4:23pm PST
Pete Hammond

Dominic Patten interviews directors Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders and Sound Designer Randy Thom on the character voice work, sound mixing and music integration on Dreamworks Animation‘s hit ‘toon The Croods as part of Deadline’s sold out THE CONTENDERS event last Saturday in Beverly Hills in front of 500 Academy and Guild members. The first release from DWA’s new distribution agreement with 20th Century Fox, Croods was a smash right out of the gate and now is getting a major push from DWA for Oscar consideration as they devoted their entire slot to the family comedy.  Check it out.

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PHOTOS: Contenders 2013 Gallery

Deadline’s sold-out award season kick-off The Contenders unspooled Saturday at the Wallis Annenberg Center For The Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. Take a look at our special guest panelists from this year’s crop of Oscar hopefuls from The Weinstein Company, Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate, Focus, CBS Films, Paramount, Fox Searchlight, Warner Bros, Sony Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics, Walt Disney Pictures, Universal and Dreamworks Animation. Click through for the updated gallery:

Related: Deadline’s ‘The Contenders’ Event To Kick Off Awards Season And New Annenberg Center Today

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DreamWorks Animation Q2 Surges Behind Success Of ‘The Croods’

Shares are up about 4.7% in post market trading after DreamWorks Animation released its Q2 report. It shows net income of $22.2M, +74.2% vs the period last year, on revenues of $213.4M, +31.1%. Revenues were well ahead of the $189.7M that analysts expected. And earnings of 26 cents a share topped forecasts for 20 cents. The Croods accounted for $71.8M of the revenues in the quarter. In addition, Rise Of The Guardians added $16.7M, and Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted kicked in $48.9M. “DreamWorks Animation significantly outperformed in the second quarter, thanks primarily to The Croods‘ incredibly successful box office run, where it has amassed $584 million worldwide to become the fifth highest grossing movie of the year,” DWA CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said.

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Report: ‘The Croods’ China Release Cut Short; Film Pulled 2 Weeks Early For ‘Contract Dispute’

DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg was in Chengdu, China this week for the Fortune Global Forum talking about how much Chinese audiences love animation. The Croods‘ box office is now the country’s top “animated movie of all time as an original film,” as Katzenberg told CNBC. At the time of the interview, he thought The Croods was still in theaters. But local media reports now say the picture has been pulled from Chinese movie houses two weeks ahead of its scheduled stop date. Pic was expected to run until June 24, but theater operators are said to have ceased showing it last night for “contract reasons”. This news comes just as Warner Bros’ big summer tentpole Man Of Steel was given a China release date of June 20., citing a report from, says The Croods‘ “extended screening period” might be the reason behind the suspension. Sources told the website that some domestic animation producers had complained to watchdog SARFT about an overlong promotion of The Croods which opened April 20. The film has taken in $62.37M through June 2, according to Ent Group figures. The Croods move is another sign of the unshakeable grip that the Chinese government has on the film business, and the extent to which Hollywood hands can be tied by … Read More »

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DreamWorks Animation Q1 Earnings Beat Analyst Forecasts

By | Tuesday April 30, 2013 @ 1:08pm PDT

Shares are up 4.3% in post-market trading after the studio reported that The Croods and library titles helped it to generate Q1 numbers far ahead of Wall Street’s expectations. DreamWorks Animation had net income of $6.1M, -32.6% vs the period last year, on revenues of $134.6M, +1.1%. Revenues were well ahead of the $99.4M consensus forecast. And earnings at 7 cents per share beat projections for 3 cents. The company says that The Croods, released on March 22, accounted for $4M in Q1 revenue. Rise Of The Guardians kicked in $9.6M, mostly from home entertainment, while video sales of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted added $22.8M and Puss In Boots added $7.5M. Classic Media properties added $27.9M. DWA says that it has spent $25M so far this year to repurchase 1.3M shares, and is authorized to spend an additional $100M. CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg thanked Fox, his company’s new distribution partner, for helped to get 2013 “off to an outstanding start.” COO Ann Daly adds that the studio “made great strikes to advance a number of key growth initiatives in the areas of franchise-building, consumer products, television and location-based entertainment.”

Related: DWA Chief Talks Up Possible TV Programming Initiatives

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DreamWorks Animation Sets ‘Croods’ Sequel

By | Wednesday April 17, 2013 @ 11:27am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The studio is expected to announce its animated caveman sequel at CinemaCon. The Croods was a big score for DreamWorks Animation in the wake of its Rise Of The Guardians flop. The studio’s latest pic is approaching $400M at the worldwide box office since its March debut. It was the first film in DWA’s new distribution deal with Fox, which hosts its CinemaCon panel Thursday.

Related: Analysts Breathe A Sigh Of Relief Over ‘The Croods’

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Analysts Breathe A Sigh Of Relief Over Results For ‘The Croods’

By | Friday April 5, 2013 @ 8:00am PDT

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.” Read More »

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#1 ‘The Croods’ Toons Up $108M Globally, #2 ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ Rises To $30.5M, Tina Fey & Paul Rudd Soft In ‘Admission’

SUNDAY 9:30 AM, 7TH UPDATE: Distributor Twentieth Century Fox is reporting that DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods made $63.3 million internationally — including $16 million from overseas previews the weekend before – for a worldwide cume of $108 million. Toon was playing on 11,870 screens in 47 markets and 86 countries representing 60% of the International marketplace. It was a confirmed #1 opening in 44 markets. Top market weekend Highlights included:

Russia: US$12.9M, including previews, from 2,166 screens. #1 in the market. 74% from 3D. Industry biggest non-franchise animated opening in Russia. Mexico: US$9.5M, including previews, from 1,911 screens. #1 in the market. 40% from 3D. Industry biggest non-franchise animated opening in Mexico. United Kingdom: US$8.3M, including previews, from 1,100 screens. #1 in the market. 45% from 3D. Germany: US$4.3M, including previews, from 986 screens. #1 in the market. 78% from 3D. Brazil: US$4.2M, including previews, from 674 screens. #1 in the market. 72% from 3D. Industry 2nd highest non-franchise animated opening in Brazil behind Rio. Spain: US$3.4M from 695 screens. #1 in the market. 20% from 3D. Italy: US$3.3M rom 788 screens. #1 in the market. 47% from 3D. Argentina: US$1.4M from 231 screens. #1 in the market. 60% from 3D. 3rd highest opening weekend ever for Fox in Argentina.

The Croods opens in 19 markets next weekend, including Australia, Belgium and Holland, followed by 3 markets (including Taiwan) the weekend of April 4, and then 3 more markets (including France) the weekend of April 12. School holidays start this week and next in many international markets.

SUNDAY 9:15 AM, 6TH UPDATE: (Top Ten list below) It shaped up as a hot weekend with an extra-strength Saturday and 3 films scoring $20M-plus this weekend. An estimated 13% of K-12 were on school break for the start of the Passover/Easter holidays so family fare ruled. Specifically, DreamWorks Animation‘s PG pre-historic newcomer The Croods (4,046 theaters, including over 3,000 in 3D) led the domestic box office with the widest release. It grossed $11.6M Friday and went up +67% because of the Saturday kiddue bump to $18.9M and an estimated $14.1M for a $44.7M weekend opening. Exit polling showed domestic demos were 57% female and 55% aged 25 and up. Its ‘A’ CinemaScore from audiences obviously helped word of mouth despite only 64% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes endangering its multiple. Pic cost $135M. Rival studios point out this is one of the softest of March openers from DreamWorks Animation and believe it could max out around $155M domestic. (2010′s How To Train Your Dragon also debuted to $43M and went on to make $217M all in - but its reviews were 98% positive.) Fact is that in recent years DWA’s films are badly trailing Pixar’s in terms of domestic openings and multiples – and Wall Street is taking note and depressing the share price of this publicly held company. (Katzenberg should blame himself: he personally lobbied theaters to drive up the price of 3D tickets beyond what parents are willing to pay now after the technology’s novelty wore off.) Distributor Twentieth Century Fox claims this is a “strong opening” for a non-sequel animated film and believe The Croods will really toon up for the next two weeks when kids are on vacation everywhere. Then again, this is the first DWA release by Fox after Jeffrey Katzenberg switched distribution from Paramount so all the execs are relentlessly upbeat. “Terrific opening for DreamWorks Animation/Fox and the beginning of a great partnership,” one suit gushed. Film isn’t exactly The Flintstones in terms of comedic campiness for animation, but TV ads succeeded in making this pic look pleasantly palatable to parents and kids. Directed by Chris Sanders & Kirk DeMicco, and produced by Kristine Belson and Jane Hartwell, voice cast includes Nic Cage, Emma Stone, and Ryan Reynolds none of whom are considered marquee names these days. About 25 overseas markets opened for previews last weekend but only 5 of the top markets (UK, Russia, Germany, Brazil, Mexico). Rival studios claim it’s telling that Fox kept the grosses quiet. But the studio says The Croods will add a big number this weekend to the $16M already in the international till.

Peter Schlessel’s FilmDistrict enjoyed its biggest distribution opening yet with #2 Antoine Fuqua’s R-rated action thriller Olympus Has Fallen (3,098 theaters). It grossed $10M Friday and $12.8M Saturday for $30.5M its first weekend. Pic scored an ‘A-’ with audiences which helped word of mouth. That’s a relief because the movie’s cost of $70M is one of the bigger budgets this small indiefilm company has ever released. Exit polling showed 53% male vs. 47% female, 73% aged 25 years and older. Plot of the White House takeover by terrorists is newly plausible considering sequester spending cuts meant the U.S. government couldn’t even afford White House tours anymore because of Secret Service staff shortages. No surprise that the film did publicity at the recent CPAC convention for conservative politicos. FilmDistrict acquired distrib rights from Avi Lerner’s Millennium Films which produced and financed. The film was tracking strongest with males ages 18-plus and overperformed its expected high teens. Director and producer Fuqua with Mark Gill assembled a solid cast of Gerard Butler (who also produced and desperately needed a box office hit), Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Ashley Judd, Robert Forster and Rick Yune for the script by credited writers Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt.

Disney’s holdover Oz The Great And Powerful (3,805 theaters) is still going strong at #3 with $5.7M Friday and a +80% Saturday kiddie bump of $10.2M for another $23M weekend and $178.5M cume. And #4 is Sony/TriStar’s holdover pickup The Call (2,507 theaters) with $8.7M weekend (-48% from a week ago) and $30.9M cume.

Right now for #5 is Focus Features’ Tina Fey/Paul Rudd new low-budget comedy Admission (2,160 theaters) which grossed $2M Friday and $2.7M Saturday for as soft as $6.4M this weekend. Audiences gave it a mediocre ‘B-’ CinemaScore which didn’t help. Exit polling showed the audience skewed older (47% over age 50, 63% over age 35) and 68% female and 81% Causasian and 63% college graduates. Oh, Tina, Tina, Tina. You’re the funniest woman on the small screen in my opinion. But Red States may be holding a grudge over your SNL Sarah Palin impressions. And surely you can do better on the big screen than pairing with Paul since he’s box office poison. Pic underperformed studio expectations and barely met the low end of tracking. Even Focus admits grosses are soft despite its middling release and modest $13M cost. Because it’s a $30M-plus P&A pricetag just to open any pic these days. Focus saw a weekend that not only starts the waiting period for college acceptance letters but also had few moviegoing options for adult females aged 25+. ”There is also an opportunity to play well through the next few weekends as the older end of our female target 35+ also tends to patronize films in the 2nd and 3rd weeks of release,” a Focus exec told me. Hard to believe this convoluted script based on the Jean Hanff Korelitz novel adapted by credited screenwriter Karen Croner was so clumsily directed by one of my favorites, Oscar nominee Paul Weitz (About A Boy, In Good Company) who also produced. Low-brow TV ads didn’t help the pic any by failing to hint at moments of poignancy no matter how misplaced. Meanwhile Fey, Weitz, and everything else about the film were tagged with poor reviews.

And #6 is A24′s Spring Breakers (1,104 theaters) in expanded but still small release. Quirky yet iconoclastic writer and director Harmony Korine’s R-rated hallucinatory dramedy stars James Franco with Disney/ABC Family princesses trying to shed their virginal images - Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson and Vanessa Hudgens – all with Korine’s wife Rachel hellbent on a Florida vacation to the dark side. It scored the top limited opening of 2013 last weekend based on per screen averages from 3 theaters in NYC and LA. But it’s no arthouse film nor Beach Blanket Bingo. Instead this cheaply made ($4M cost) seamy sexploitation encouraging drinking and drugs and violence is from the distribution outfit backed by Guggenheim Partners which owns The Hollywood Reporter and made sure the celebrity sheet cravenly hyped every angle of the lurid film and its cast and their SXSW appearance and theatrical opening. A24 acquired domestic rights from Annapurna Pictures whose Megan Ellison tellingly didn’t take a producer credit. (Was she too embarrassed?)

The weekend is way down (-33%) from last year because the Top Ten total won’t even equal the $152.5M opening of The Hunger Games. Based on weekend estimates:

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DreamWorks Animation Investors Anxiously Await Weekend Results For ‘The Croods’

By | Friday March 22, 2013 @ 11:51am PDT

It’s hard to recall the last time a studio had so much riding on the performance of a single film. Following the $87M writedown for Rise Of The Guardians, and other setbacks, DreamWorks Animation is “a very hated stock on Wall Street,” Janney Capital Markets’ Tony Wible says. Short-sellers control about 24% of the outstanding shares. Just one analyst rates it a strong buy while five rate it “hold” and five classify it as either “sell” or “underperform.” Investors question whether the company can thrive as the market for family fare becomes more competitive. Since DWA only releases about two films a year, there are few opportunities to shape the company’s story. That leads us to The Croods: The consensus among analysts is that the film will generate a little north of $40M at domestic box offices this weekend, ultimately leading to a gross of $160M domestically and $290M abroad. “If they do below $40M, then people will be disappointed,” Wible says. “And north of $50M will be really good for these guys.” The Street’s cautiously optimistic. DWA shares are up 9.8% over the last month. Here’s a sampling of analysts’ estimates and commentary while they wait for the results: Read More »

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Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond, Episode 18

By | Thursday March 21, 2013 @ 5:22pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Listen to (and share) episode 18 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Our awards columnist and host David Bloom discuss Hollywood in the age of conglomerates; TV with a conscience and this week’s notable films, including The Croods, Olympus Has Fallen, Admission and Starbuck. Pete also talks about Mad Men, whose Season 6 premiere party he attended, what to expect from this season, and what the show’s Emmy prospects this year might be.

Deadline Awards Watch, Episode 18 (MP3 format)
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‘The Croods’ May Need Time To Catch On Early Indicators Suggest: Analyst

By | Monday March 18, 2013 @ 9:32am PDT

The CroodsDreamWorks Animation shares are down 2.2% in mid-day trading today after Janney Capital Markets’ Tony Wible reports that indicators he tracks tell conflicting stories about the likely performance of The Croods, out this Friday. The analyst predicts the film will generate $45M this weekend, below analysts’ consensus of about $50M. And his forecast “could be at risk,” he says, because the film “is tracking 19% below [DreamWorks Animation's] average levels.” Wall Streeters are hungry for Croods data: They believe the film will indicate whether the studio just had a garden variety disappointment with Rise Of The Guardians, which resulted in an $87M writedown, or whether it faces a far more serious problem of what some call “franchise fatigue.” Wible says he sees no conclusive pattern across social media and other early indicators. But he adds that, even if the opening is softer than expected, the results could improve. There could be a pick up in the second week if the reviews are strong ahead of the holiday week before Easter. And the studio’s new distributor, News Corp, “may do a much better job than Paramount” overseas. What accounts for his reluctance to predict that Croods will be an unqualified hit? Wible notes that DVR data show a sharp increase in fast-forwarding through the movie’s ads; the rate was 16% higher than Madagascar 3 at a comparable period. The number of Twitter tweets for Croods has … Read More »

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Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman, Episode 27

Listen to (and share) Episode 27 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman as our Executive Editor and host David Bloom look at Crood attempts to revive the sagging shares of DreamWorks Animation; brightening numbers for two of the biggest exhibition chains; and what it might mean for Los Angeles and the entertainment business as a whole now that live-entertainment and sports giant AEG is off the market, and its long-time CEO has departed.

Deadline Big Media, Episode 27 (MP3 format)
Deadline Big Media, Episode 27 (MP4a format)
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DreamWorks Animation Shares Pop On Encouraging Report For ‘The Croods’

By | Wednesday March 13, 2013 @ 1:45pm PDT

The stock rose 8.4% today after Stifel analyst Benjamin Mogil upgraded his recommendation to “hold”  – mostly due to his view that The Croods will generate solid box office sales after its March 21 opening. His tracking suggests that domestic ticket buyers will spend $50M on the DreamWorks Animation film in its opening weekend, which could propel it to total theatrical sales of $150M. That’s a little below Wall Street’s expectation for $160M. But investors may be pleasantly surprised by international sales. Croods will be “the first new film under the Fox distribution deal,” he says, and the News Corp-owned studio is especially strong overseas. Mogil forecasts $300M in international box office sales. If he’s right then investors’ fear that DreamWorks Animation will be hit with a second consecutive disappointment after Rise Of The Guardians will have “largely played itself out.” Indeed, he says that CEO Jeff Katzenberg’s $87M write-down for the Christmas release was “kitchen-sink in depth” which means it could “actually generate some marginal contribution” to the bottom line. Read More »

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Will ‘The Croods’ Revive DreamWorks Animation’s Growth Story?

By | Wednesday February 27, 2013 @ 9:20am PST

Studio moguls always feel that they need their tentpole releases to succeed. But they rarely have as much riding on a single film as DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg will on March 22 when he releases The CroodsHis company’s dreary Q4 financial report yesterday, which included an $87M writedown on its Christmas release Rise Of The Guardians, set the stage. If The Croods is a success, then investor concerns about the company “will fade,” Lazard Capital Markets Barton Crockett says. But a miss “would amp concerns about a creative crisis, and the big cash drain that results when movies misfire.” Good box office sales may not be good enough. Barclays’ Chris Merwin says the company needs “an exceptional performance” — he expects Croods to generate $150M domestically, and $300M overseas. Forecasts like his are important for investors who are wondering whether this is a good time to buy DreamWorks shares — which are down 3.4% so far today, and -26% since November 2 when it hit a 52-week high of $21.99. In Wall Street terms, the company seemed to take a “bath” yesterday with its Q4 report. It took $165M in writedowns, resulting in a far bigger than expected loss. Read More »

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