It’s almost guaranteed that animated films, even mediocre ones, do extremely well at the box office. Well almost guaranteed. There are some that don’t. Recent case in point: Dreamworks Animation’s latest film Rise of the Guardians.
First, before we get to that, recall that Guardians is the first big budget, major studio animated film to be directed by an African-American, Peter Ramsey (pictured above) who I profiled back in late October HERE.
And things looked good for the film with some knowledgeable box office experts predicting that the film was going to be major box office winner. However things didn’t turn out exactly that way.
According to film industry insider website The Wrap, Dreamworks Animation is going to lose some $50 million on the film, according to one studio executive. With a reported budget of $145 million, the film has been under-performing at the box office.
There is some hope that the film could improve over the Christmas holidays since there is little competition for family friendly fare aside from the re-release of Pixar’s Monsters Inc reformatted into 3D, but that won’t really change the dismal outlook for the film. According to one film industry analyst Marla Backer: “I can’t see anything they can do to try to really tweak the performance of the film, but I also think it would be a little premature of them to announce a write-off. Let’s see how it plays over the holidays.”
So what happened? Perhaps the film was badly marketed promoting it an unbearably sweet, syrupy, kiddie movie when it was completely something else instead..
Or perhaps the audience for this type of animated films has grown bored with them, unless they’re made by Pixar.. As entertainment stock market analyst Ben Mogil was quoted: “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. 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.”
As for what this means for Ramsey and his career, I seriously doubt he has anything to worry about. True, the disappointing response for Guardians will be be a blow, but he’s very talented and extremely well liked and established in the film industry, with lots of important and influential friends. He’ll be back soon, hard at work on new projects