The Dark Knight Rises increases its lead in the box office; DreamWorks ups its home entertainment; Gru’s minions to star in their own animated movie

 

 

Batman strikes again in the box office! I’m Realistic Fish Head. Last week the nation reflected on the movie shootings in Colorado. This week due to the shooting, Batman swooped in every theatre to make sure to audiences that the horrific event won’t be repeated again. Gene Scallop on how much Batman has grossed this time.

Gene: Greetings again Batman fans! With this year’s Emmy’s in full swing this fall, the caped crusader continued its trek in the box office. With 537 million smackers with a few records ready to be broken, the Warner’s box office gross has increased from low to high much more to its 122 million smackers overseas.

With these numbers in play including a 60% drop and a 10-day total of 289 million smackers, it just might be enough to pass The Marvel Heroes thanks to its IMAX, 2D, and 3D screenings.

Summit’s Step Up: Revolution and Fox’s The Watch opened very weak in their debut while The Dark Knight remained strong. And with the Olympics in progress, there’s going to be trouble for NBC if they blow another mistake in their Olympics coverage.

 

Returning to the box office The Watch didn’t do much better than Ice Age  4. Remember the Trayvon Martin shooting case? And as for Step Up: revolution, studio confidence was down because of social media news and the Colorado movie shooting in which the dancers storm into a party in progress. And just like Warner Bros. did with The Dark Knight Rises, Summit took down their ads for the movie because of it.

 

To recap, The Dark Knight stays on top, The Watch watches in 2nd, Ice Age 4 chills at 3rd, Step Up: Revolution dances at 4th, and Ted talks again at 5th.

We’re almost at the end Penguin fans! 100 of them have signed in since the double interview last week. They’re 9 episodes remaining in season 3. Could the last days of summer be their finest for Skipper and team? Find out if the plan works!

Fresh off their deal with a movie themed theme park, DreamWorks plans to expand their home entertainment business following the likes of Disney, Pixar, and Fox. Stan Jennings fish of Bikini Bottom Business News has the story:

Stan Jennings fish (via Bloomberg News)- Jeffrey Katzenberg, with deals that give him new characters, a theme park and a footprint in China, is signaling DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (DWA) (DWA) plans to expand beyond 3-D movies and home video.

Katzenberg yesterday announced the acquisition of Classic Media, owner of rights to cartoon characters Casper the friendly ghost, Rocky the flying squirrel and his pal, Bullwinkle the moose. The accord follows a deal to create an indoor theme park at the Meadowlands in New Jersey and one to develop animation, parks and live entertainment in China.

“Five years from now, we will be a much more diversified company,” Katzenberg, the company’s chief executive officer, said yesterday in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “The animated movies will still be our heart and soul but I think we will see revenue from a lot of different areas.”

Katzenberg, 61, is looking to broaden the Glendale, California-based film studio’s revenue base, which has declined with shrinking DVD sales and competition at the box-office for family friendly movies. His plan resembles that of Walt Disney Co. (DIS) (DIS), which purchased Pixar Animation and Marvel Entertainment to supply characters for its film business, parks and stores.

“Jeffrey’s a visionary CEO and I would bet that he is building a foundation of growth for his company,” Dick Cook, former chairman of Walt Disney Studios, who worked with Katzenberg, said in an e-mail.

Before leaving Disney in 1994, Katzenberg was credited with rejuvenating the animation business with “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King.”

Falling Sales

DreamWorks Animation fell 0.4 percent to $19.08 yesterday in New York. The studio, spun off (DWA) from DreamWorks SKG and taken public by Katzenberg in 2004, has fallen 57 percent from an all- time closing high of $44 a share on March 24, 2010, as the company, like others in Hollywood, has sold fewer DVDs.

Sales at DreamWorks Animation fell 10 percent $706 million in 2011 and are forecast to drop another 4 percent this year, reflecting the declining home-video market and a production schedule that averages 2 1/2 movies a year.

In 2011, DVD sales equaled 22 percent of its global box- office revenue, according to Tony Wible, an analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Philadelphia who recommends selling the shares. In 2004, DreamWorks Animation collected 68 cents from DVDs for every $1 in worldwide ticket revenue, he said.

DreamWorks Animation has also faced more competition from studios that have jumped into computer-generated animation. Katzenberg said he expects to announce “in the next couple of weeks” a new arrangement for distribution of the company’s movies after an existing deal with Viacom Inc. (VIAB) (VIAB)’s Paramount Pictures expires this year.

Competition Mounts

This year’s biggest cinematic hit in the genre isn’t from DreamWorks Animation or Disney’s Pixar. It’s “Ice Age: Continental Drift” from News Corp. (NWSA) (NWSA)’s Twentieth Century Fox. The film has collected worldwide ticket revenue of $529.3 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

DreamWorks Animation has been mentioned as a potential takeover target in analysts’ reports. Katzenberg has denied the company is being shopped around. He reiterated that again yesterday and called the Classic Media purchase a “game changer.”

“There have been no considerations of a sale for many years, that rumor is three years old,” Katzenberg, who controls almost 70 percent of the voting power with music mogul David Geffen, said in a separate interview. “It was stale when it was born.”

Mr. Peabody
With Classic Media, acquired for $155 million, DreamWorks Animation gets more than 6,100 episodes of animated and live- action TV shows, along with comic books and some rights to the Golden Books library. Characters include The Lone Ranger, George of the Jungle and Frosty the Snowman.

In addition to film potential, the content also offers the possibility of DreamWorks Animation television channels, Katzenberg said.

“We continue to see a migration to new forms of delivery and new forms of consumption,” said Katzenberg, who bypassed traditional pay cable outlets last year and reached a streaming agreement for his movies with Netflix Inc. (NFLX) (NFLX)

DreamWorks Animation and Classic Media were already collaborating: Katzenberg plans to release “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” a film based on two characters from Classic Media, in November of next year, one of three planned pictures in 2013.

Katzenberg travels to China next month for meetings regarding Oriental DreamWorks, the Shanghai-based venture announced in February. DreamWorks Animation owns about 45 percent, with the rest held by China Media Capital, Shanghai Media Group (300336) and Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd.

China Announcement
“We will be making some announcements about what our plans are going forward there,” Katzenberg said on Bloomberg TV. “About two weeks from now, we will be able to share some more details.”

The studio is also developing an indoor theme park with property developer Triple Five Group at the American Dream shopping center in East Rutherford, New Jersey, near where the New York Jets and New York Giants share a football stadium.

Katzenberg’s effort at diversification may be the right way to strengthen the company long term, according to Wible.

“I think there’s a long way to go, but this is a step in that direction,” Wible said.

 

Bikini Bottom Entertainment exclusive-The minions from the Despicable Me movies, are planning to star in their animated movie of their own! Angie Angelfish has the exclusive story:

Angie Angelfish-(via Dateline Hollywood) EXCLUSIVE: After coming right out of the gate with the animated hit Despicable Me and turning it into a sequel and a just-opened 3D theme park ride at Universal Studios Orlando, Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment has set an untitled feature spinoff based on The Minions as its fifth feature film with Universal. The adorable yellow-colored critters that began as henchmen for Gru in Despicable Me are now leading men for a film Universal will release in 2014.

The film is an original story that will introduce new characters and reprise others that originated in Despicable Me, but the focus is on the antics of the yellow fellows as they interact with human characters. The script is already written by Brian Lynch, and Pierre Coffin will direct and Kyle Balda will co-direct. Coffin co-directed Despicable Me and is helming the sequel with Chris Renaud, and the two of them also do the voices for The Minions. Balda co-directed Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax with Renaud for Illumination. 

In devoting a full feature to The Minions, Universal and Illumination are taking on a challenge. Fox Animation has reserved its signature sidekick character Scrat for duty in small doses in the Ice Age films and DreamWorks Animation has done the same with its commando penguin team from Madagascar, though the latter did get an animated TV series. And The Minions don’t exactly speak English, but rather a dialogue understandable mostly to their goggle-eyed cohorts. I understand that Universal and Illumination feel they found a way around this with a story that Meledandri hatched with Coffin, Balda and Renaud. The studio certainly recognizes the popularity of The Minions, merchandizing magnets who are hugely popular on Face book and other online venues. The 2010 film Despicable Me cost $69 million and grossed over $540 million worldwide, before being turned into the Orlando theme park ride Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.

Production is being coordinated with the Despicable 2 schedule so that the films can come out a year apart. Pre-production on the untitled Minions film will begin concurrent with production of the sequel Despicable Me 2. The sequel, which has Steve Carell reprising and Kristen Wiig and Al Pacino in the voice cast, is in production now and will be released July 3, 2013. Because the team is moving right from the sequel to the spinoff, The Minions film will be released in 2014, with Meledandri and Janet Healy producing. Renaud is exec producer and the CG 3D animation will be done in Paris by Illumination Mac Guff, which Universal acquired last fall to handle Illumination’s family film volume.

 

This week, look for surprises ahead in August as our summer coverage winds down. Also, look for new episodes of Big Time Rush this fall as part of our Fall coverage as well as new episodes and new series premieres coming soon. For now, this is Realistic Fish Head saying, be sure to root for Team USA in London at the Olympics!

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