DreamWorks Animation has been on a rough patch for quite a long time. Too many movies, too few hits, too much competition, that has been the story for the studio in recent years which led them to aggressively scout for a buyer as well. Coming into 2015 with an animated movie that seemed less original and more of a mix of E.T. and Lilo & Stitch, I was not expecting DreamWorks Animation to have much to cheer about early in the year. Well, surprise, surprise! The studio’s latest release Home, featuring the voices of Jim Parsons and Rihanna, neither of whom is a movie celebrity, opened with $54 million at the domestic box-office over the weekend. That is not what you will call breathtaking, but it is much more than what you would normally associate with a DreamWorks Animation film nowadays. To put it in perspective, it is the best opening for the studio since 2012’s Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. And Home is not even a franchise film. The movie has also earned $48 million in foreign markets to bring the global total to $102 million. Home is not an inexpensive movie though, made with a production budget of $135 million. So the movie will have to reach close to the $400 million mark in global box-office earnings for the studio to start earning some profits. More than 50% may be needed from foreign markets. So there is still a long way to go, but based on this beginning, I can see the movie manage breakeven figures at least, which has been something that not many movies of this studio have been able to do in recent times. No more movies expected this year from DreamWorks Animation after the studio decided to hold back the release of B.O.O. A lot is happening behind doors, and let’s see how strong the studio comes out in 2016.
The R-rated comedy Get Hard starring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart had come under such heavy criticism in the past week from the critics that I felt its opening to the audience may be under jeopardy. But some movies in fact do not mind the criticism, an R-rated comedy at least does not. The movie was termed as ‘racist’ and ‘homophobic’ by many of the critics, which was argued strongly by the movie’s director and actors. This news-making criticism got more than a few curious enough to enter the theatres, which resulted in a $35 million domestic opening for Get Hard, a solid opening against its $40 million production budget. Kevin Hart, who can hardly do anything wrong it seems, may very well have another hit under his belt. And as for Will Ferrell, who looked to be fading into oblivion, this has been the first time since 2010 when he has had a domestic opening above $30 million for a live-action film. Will it resurrect his career, that is difficult to say, though it does add a bit of hope. It does keep Kevin Hart at the top of the comedy charts though!
Insurgent took a 58% plunge in its second weekend, which is on the higher side. Worldwide box-office collection for the movie is currently at $180 million, of which $86 million has come from North America; we are halfway away from what the studio would be aiming for at the minimum. The horror film It Follows widened to more than 1,000 theatres and earned about $4 million over the weekend. This is a low budget film, made in $2 million, which has been earning some rave reviews in the USA; the 95% Rottentomatoes score is an indicator of how much the critics have loved it at least. The movie has now jumped into the top five bracket at the domestic box-office and could see a bit more expansion over the coming weekend.
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Home ($54.0 million)
2. Get Hard ($34.6 million)
3. Insurgent ($22.1 million; second weekend)
4. Cinderella ($17.5 million; third weekend)
5. It Follows ($4.0 million)