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I thoroughly enjoyed Peter Ramsey’s Rise of the Guardians, a kiddie Avengers the pulled the imaginative icons of adolescence and the holiday season – Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman – together to fight an evil force. My sons liked it a lot, as well. It played right into what they look for in an animated film. We appear to be in the minority, though, as the movie’s tanking at the box office and costing DreamWorks Animation a small fortune.

The Wrap puts a dollar figure on the loss. According to an anonymous executive, Guardians will lose the animation arm a cool $50 million. And while the studio refused to comment on the record, the company’s stock continues to plummet. As the trade site notes, it hit a 52-week low on Monday, and then trended slightly lower in early Tuesday trading.

Ben Mogil, and analyst for Stifel Nicolaus is pointing out that the troubles for Guardians could affect DWA’s upcoming slate, which includes The Croods (March 22, 2013), Turbo (July 19, 2013) and Mr. Peabody & Sherman (Nov. 1, 2013).
"What we take from this Guardians experience is that where once there was an implied domestic box-office floor on a movie from the company, particularly in the 3D era, of $150 million, that is no longer the case," Mogil wrote. "Also clearly no longer the case is the mantra that the lack of competing animated titles will automatically grant a movie clear box office sailing."

While that’s true, a good movie powered by strong reviews and overwhelmingly positive word-of-mouth should buck this downward trend. And all hope is not lost for Guardians, which has banked an estimated $48.8M in domestic ticket sales to date. The film was just nominated for an Annie alongside Brave and Wreck-It Ralph. An Oscar nomination in the animation category certainly is a possibility, and all of those things boost ticket sales. Guardians arrived into a marketplace flooded by Frankenweenie, Ralph and Hotel Transylvania. It could bounce back, but for now, it’s a costly gamble.

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