Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
September 19, 2012
Hasn't he found that fish yet?
Kim Hollis: The 3D re-release of Finding Nemo earned $17.5 million. Should Disney be satisfied with this result given the frugal $5 million it costs to convert the film to 3D?
Matthew Huntley: Yes, Disney should be satisfied, but they look at this number with caution. After all, Finding Nemo is one of the most beloved (and successful) computer animated features to come out in the last 10 years, and for its re-release to earn this "little" is surprising. It's definitely a success, but because it's not as large a one, the Mouse House may not be making the effort in the future to convert their catalog titles to 3D, at least not for a theatrical release. Kim mentioned it "only" cost $5 million to convert it, but the prints/advertising were probably three times that. Still, it will probably show decent legs over its limited engagement and, in the end, be worthwhile for the studio. Perhaps The Lion King was an aberration last year by grossing nearly $100 million with its re-release.
Edwin Davies: They should definitely be happy with this since it's as close to found money as you're going to get at the box office. They should comfortably cover their outlay for the conversion and the release before it leaves theaters, and this will act as a nice big ad for the Blu-ray release of the film. That's more than enough to be a satisfying result, though it might be a stretch to say it's a great one. If I were to pin down why this didn't do as well as The Lion King, I'd probably echo what Kim and David said in the wrap-up by saying that The Lion King had been out of theaters for nearly 20 years when it was re-released, so many of the kids who saw it the first time around would now be adults with kids of their own and would want to share the theatrical experience with them. Finding Nemo was only released nine years ago, so there wasn't the same nostalgic drive for people to see it again. Also, Finding Nemo is one of the best selling DVDs of all time (in fact it was THE biggest selling DVD of all time at one point), so saturation probably deflated the desire for people to check it out this weekend.
Having said that, I think it'd be disingenuous to characterise this result as disappointing, since it achieved pretty much everything that it needed to. But it also has the shadow of The Lion King looming over it at all times, which casts it in perhaps a harsher light than the result actually deserves.
Bruce Hall: When The Lion King so successfully returned to theaters last year, I think we all understood that there would be more of this, and that the trend would continue until it stopped making money. We may already be nearing the point of diminishing returns. Consider that just this year, Beauty and the Beast, Phantom Menace and Titanic all opened in 3D re-release to an average of around $19 million, and you have to wonder whether The Lion King really was an anomaly or if people have just grown wise to the cash-grab. I consider Finding Nemo superior to the last three re-issues, and you'd think it would benefit from 3D conversion much more than The Lion King (which was good, but not an extra $100 million good). I'm mildly surprised at the soft opening but still expect Finding Nemo 2.0 to finish somewhere in the low $40 million range. That would certainly be a success, and Disney is publicly patting themselves on the back, but I have to believe they were expecting more.