Monday Morning Quarterback
By BOP Staff
December 2, 2014
Kim Hollis: Penguins of Madagascar earned $25.4 million over the three-day portion of the weekend and $35.4 million over five days. What do you think of this result?
David Mumpower: Personally, I love these characters and was hoping that the spin-off project would be a blockbuster. What happened instead has surprised me. I consider this performance to be a bomb. Please hear me out on this before you argue that I’m being too harsh.
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted opened to $60.3 million during its non-holiday opening weekend. Over five days, that number bumps up to $73.8 million. Penguins of Madagascar, the standalone film from the comic relief characters in the first trio of movies, earned less than half of that amount. It did so despite being released during what is historically one of the biggest weeks on the movie release schedule. Also, these characters had the benefit of free advertising and heightened brand awareness from the Nickelodeon series of (virtually) the same name.
Simply stated, there is no excuse for this performance. We have previously chronicled the struggles DreamWorks Animation has faced since they have stopped distributing their own films. The earlier disappointments were handled by Paramount Pictures while this atrocity falls on Fox. Perhaps no other title thus far exemplifies this stunning failure to maximize earnings potential of a formerly powerful production house. DreamWorks Animation is in danger of becoming a cinematic footnote.
Matthew Huntley: Unfortunately, there's no real positive spin to put on Penguins' figures. I'd say David is right that we can definitely call the movie a "bomb," at least in terms of its opening. There are a few reasons it qualifies for such a label:
1) It opened over the typically family-dominated Thanksgiving long weekend, and usually families aren't so selective with their choices, but this time that clearly wasn't the case. I doubt its reviews had much to do with it, as they're generally positive, so I'm guessing it's the idea they simply weren't interested in a feature-length Madagascar spin-off with these characters; 2) Its parent franchise (the aforementioned Madagascar) is well-known and well-liked, so it would stand to reason this movie should have done better; 3) The movie cost a whopping $132 million to produce, which makes its possibilities for profit all the more difficult.
It'll need a lot of help internationally just to break even. All in all, this is a disappointment and I wouldn't be surprised if DreamWorks' stock takes a hit because of it. [Editor’s note: It did.]