Back in 2013, the release of Dreamworks Animation's Rise Of The Guardians was met with a thud and a crack in its opening weekend. While the film wound up managing to make a decent gross, compared to its budget at least, it wound up being the beginning of a dangerous spiral for DWA's profit margin. As time went on and films like Mr. Peabody And Sherman continued to make profits, yet still lead to write downs, it looked like the studio couldn't do anything to bring itself back from the edge. Looking at the real numbers of the situation, it's not a pretty picture for the studio that gave birth to Shrek. And the final quarter of last year was particularly rough.
Variety has issued a report detailing the big hit that the studio took after their last film, The Penguins Of Madagascar, and the number is a very uncool $247.7 million loss. While initially it looked like a good idea for the Madagascar spin-off to move from its original release date in March 2015, hindsight speaks to the opposite scenario. The family film came out during a very crowded season, and as a result nobody paid attention to it. When that happens, studios lose money.
The real shocker in Variety's report is that most of the write offs and struggles DreamWorks Animation has experienced are due to projects that have been bumped time and time again. A staggering $155.5 million of write offs are contributed to films we should have seen by now, namely B.O.O.: Bureau Of Otherworldly Operations and Monkeys Of Mumbai. Though, while we're calling Dreamworks Animation out on films that should have been released by now, we should really razz them about the supposedly still on the board Me And My Shadow, which looks to mix hand-drawn and computer animation, and is rumored to have Tom Hiddleston circling the villain role. If that doesn't spell a possible Best Animated Film win against Inside Out at the Oscars, we don't know what does.
So what's Dreamworks Animation doing to combat the losses they've continued to suffer? For starters, they're selling their Glendale campus for $185 million and leasing back the space for their future productions. Also, you can bet that they'll be running future projects, both in production and in stasis, through fine-toothed story combs. Those delays to Kung Fu Panda 3 don't look so scary now, do they? In such a moment of crisis, a studio like Dreamworks Animation can either sink or swim. With the clock ticking, and the red on DWA's books getting redder by the second, now's a good time to run a Hail Fiona and start pulling some Easter Bunnies out of their hats. Though, to be honest, if Dreamworks Animation is serious about bringing itself back onto its feet, they should seriously revisit Me And My Shadow. Seriously, it sounds cute, and the technical approach alone sounds like it'd be worth bringing to life. Not to mention, every passing trailer and TV spot for Home seems to make the project look less and less appealing.
Home will hit theaters on March 27th. Me And My Shadow, Monkeys Of Mumbai, and B.O.O.: Bureau Of Otherworldly Operatives have yet to acquire new release dates... despite what Google might tell you.
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CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.