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DATE News (chronologically)
08/01/13
irl
Analyst predicts major loss for DreamWorks on 'Turbo' (Update) UPDATE A summertime glut of animated family films and a tough release date are the culprits behind the underwhelming domestic box-office showing of “Turbo,” according to DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg.

But in a conference call earlier this week with analysts to discuss DreamWorks’ second-quarter earnings, Katzenberg also said he believed that the film, which cost $135 million to make and heavily features IndyCar and the Indianapolis 500, would still be profitable for his company.

Variety reports that “Turbo” has already crossed the $40 million mark internationally with several major markets still awaiting release. That’s in comparison to the $60 million that the film has brought in Stateside since hitting theatres on July 17.

“It’s a hit everywhere in the world, except for one territory [the U.S.],” said Katzenberg (maybe because IndyCar is invisible to the majority of Americans.  Do they even know what the Indy500 is anymore?  Sad, a legacy of Tony George's 'vision.').

According to Variety, Katzenberg said that “Turbo” has been considered a disappointment based on DreamWorks’ past films that have crossed the $150 million mark, saying that “in the real world, a movie that’s in the vicinity of $100 million is still considered a hit.”

Nonetheless, he conceded that the film’s so-so domestic take has been “tough, because ‘Turbo’ was loved and beloved” by audiences, which gave it a CinemaScore of A.

“This is a movie that played great for its audience but we were never able to get the attention and traction of [that] audience coming so quickly after two blockbuster sequel animated titles,” Katzenberg said, referring to Disney/Pixar’s ‘Monsters University’ and Universal/Illumination’s ‘Despicable Me 2.’

However, it bears noting that ‘Turbo’ seems to be the start of a move from DreamWorks’ to depend less on box-office cash and more on other lines of business from TV to merchandising.

We already know that an animated series based on the film is slated to stream on Netflix at the end of the year, and the Variety report above has the company’s chief operating officer, Ann Daly, mention that children’s toys tied to the film have “outperformed expectations.”

Combine those elements with the film having a potentially strong take overseas and maybe – just maybe – there might be a ‘Turbo 2′ after all.

07/27/13 The IndyCar-centric animated flick 'Turbo' has been well-received by moviegoers (it’s received an A grade from Cinemascore) and has escaped major scorn from critics (it’s averaging 64 percent on prominent review site Rotten Tomatoes). But according to Bloomberg News, its so-so start at the box office has caused an analyst to predict as much as a $50 million write-down for creator Dreamworks Animation.

The film, which focuses on a garden snail’s journey toward victory at the Indianapolis 500, came up third in its opening weekend as it found stiff competition against low-budget horror movie “The Conjuring” and fellow CGI ‘toon 'Despicable Me 2.'

'Turbo' only netted $21.5 million that weekend ($31 million in its first five days), which has caused James Marsh, an analyst with New York-based Piper Jaffray, to say that DWA’s latest offering may not be able to cross the $100 million mark in North America – a prediction that had an adverse affect on the company’s shares earlier this week.

“While reviews have been positive for the film and could help build word of mouth, at this stage we think it will be lucky to hit $100 million in the current competitive environment,” Marsh wrote in a research note according to Bloomberg.

This weekend may be critical for “Turbo” to prove it can do well throughout the dog days of summer. That’s because yet another challenger for your family’s entertainment dollar – Sony’s “The Smurfs 2” – will be released this coming Wednesday, joining the aforementioned “Turbo” and “Despicable Me 2,” as well as Disney/Pixar’s “Monsters University.”

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