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Box Office Report

DreamWorks Animation Hits A ‘Home’ Run

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DreamWorks Animation’s Home upended expectations this weekend—including those of the studio itself—by snagging first place and an estimated $54 million in its opening domestic weekend.

The studio, whose shares fell to a new 52-week low last January after it announced plans to restructure, had predicted a $35 million opening weekend for the Tim Johnson-directed Home, its only release this year. Analysts expected that the film would suffer in competition with Disney’s Cinderella (itself holding on to fourth position and passing the $150 million mark domestically this weekend).

But after grossing a respectable $19.2 million in international markets last weekend—including a robust $9.3 million U.K. openingHome opened with the strongest domestic weekend for DreamWorks Animation since 2012’s Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted ($60.3 million). It’s also one of the strongest launches ever for an original DreamWorks film, trailing just Monsters vs. Aliens ($59.3M) and Kung Fu Panda ($60.2M). By comparison, last year’s summer hit How to Train Your Dragon 2 launched with $49.5 million, while Penguins of Madagascar scraped in $35.5 million over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Pundits are attributing the strong results to the pull of its stars Rihanna, whose social media stature is second to none, and Jennifer Lopez, who performed “Feel the Light” from the film’s soundtrack on American Idol last week, as well as a domestic marketing campaign that targeted the Hispanic and African-American demographics. Home drew an audience that was 48% Caucasian, 22% African American, 15% Hispanic and 15% Asian. Critics, though mostly lukewarm about the film, have commended the inclusion of a character whose “skin color and natural hairstyle is rarely seen in the main character of a mainstream kids’ movie.”

Home’s surprising debut puts it in the same league as Big Hero 6 ($56.2 million) and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water ($55.4 million). It remains to be seen whether Home will have the strong legs of BH6, which has a current domestic gross of $222.1M, or if its performance will ebb like SpongeBob, which has earned $160.2M to date.

Home also earned an additional $24 million internationally this weekend, upping its foreign total to $48.2M. Its worldwide gross is now $102.2 million. The film opened in first place in Mexico ($3M) and fifth in Germany ($881,000), remained in first place in Russia ($3.4M), and dropped to second in the UK ($3.7M) behind the opening of Cinderella.

  • Kirielson

    I said it before, and I’ll say it again:

    Diversity = Diverse Money

  • Strong Enough

    Home 2: Home Again confirmed for 2019

  • Bradc001

    woo-hoo…now hire someone back

    • Axolotl

      Now they can hire all new people!-_-

      • Lord Pigeon

        And then lay THEM off.

      • John A

        They already did–they’re in Asia.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Quick! Someone check the weather report… in Hell!

    • Anonymous

      Yep. It’s true.

  • Mudskipper

    Fantastic news for both DreamWorks, and the greater industry. Thank heavens this didn’t bomb!

    • AnimationGuy

      Yay! Rejoice as the executives pocket more cash while the artists get laid off!

      • Barrett

        AnimationGuy, I totally get what you’re saying, but since the layoffs are a done deal, what other options do we have tohope for? That the movie bombs, therby “punishing” Katz and company for their bad decisionmaking? That will maybe cause some VP heads to roll but it will certainly mean even more artists being fired. I say we hope for steady, continued success, so eventually Dreamworks will hire on more people. (and yes, the new hires of the future will make less than the legacy films who were laid off, such is the “beauty” of late-stage corporate capitalism. At least it’s animation jobs in the U.S.)

  • Dy

    Step 1 to rebuilding….do Not produce a sequel! The reason this film did so well is the quiet opening weekend for films…..the story leaves a lot to be desired…kudos none the less!

    • DW Fan

      agreed 100%

  • Tammy

    Remember when CB readers thought Frozen would bomb?
    Remember when CB readers thought How to Train Your Dragon 2 would sweep the awards?
    Remember how CB readers thought Home would tank?

    Animation enthusiasts aren’t always the best sources to go to for film predictions, I suppose.

    • guest

      Well, most CB readers still hate those movies, whether or not they made money.

      • Anonymous

        I love how Cartoon Brew readers are always complaining about Cartoon Brew readers.

    • Ravlic

      Well to be frank, everyone thought Home would tank after their previous series of flops. And Turbo, Peabody and Penguins all looked like they’d rake in very little money and they did. So, 3:1?
      As for the other points, I don’t understand CB’s love for HTTYD2 since it was a very strong year for animation all around, and I’m not sure who in their right mind would think Frozen would tank after Tangled was such a success.

    • Dusty Ayres

      Animation enthusiasts aren’t always the best sources to go to for film predictions, I suppose.

      Especially since said animator have very refined tastes,and expect those tastes to be catered to all of the time.

  • gecko

    before you guys go jumping down rihanna’s throat about her skill level as a voice actress, please remember that steven universe has both estelle and a nicki minaj as a guest star, and the animation community was never bothered by that.

    i always thought rihanna’s voice work was fine based on the trailers.

    • Mike

      I haven’t seen anybody “jump down Rihanna’s throat”, but I just wanted to say that Steven Universe isn’t an apt comparison considering both of those singers were chosen because the creators liked their voices and thought they would portray their respective characters well, not as stunt casting to make more money. Regardless of however well Rihanna ultimately plays the role, she wasn’t cast for her voice acting talent.

      • Fried

        Wanted to add just a bit of old comments from previous Home articles on CB about Rihanna, though they’re definitely not aggressive, they are negative:

        “…So you have Jim Parsons, creating a character and acting, with Rihanna who is just reading lines off a script….”

        “…Rihanna is a musician, not an actor…..”

        “A non white lead character = A nice change. Said Character being voiced by Rihanna = Don’t think that’s a good choice.”

        “Rihanna is not a good actress that’s a fact.”

        “As for the casting of Rihanna, not impressed right now. Especially when there are more choices to cast as Tip in the voice acting industry (I’d rather see Cree Summer honestly voice Tip than Rihanna).”

        “Funny how Rihanna being a singer and such, comes across so flat as a voice actress.on Happy smeckday.”

  • 70Jack90

    Looks like this is finally the big hit that DreamWorks was looking for!

  • Ravlic

    Well I suspected people just got tired of DW’s genericness. CB readers are quick to blame a film’s failure on marketing or competition, but sometimes the film is simply not interesting to the audiences.
    Unfortunately it turns out the audiences are not tired of being offered the same old thing over and over again, so, good for Dreamworks I guess. I’ll rest easy knowing the existence of Trolls and Captain Underpants is not compromised.

    • Dusty Ayres

      So making a movie and TV show based off of a successful book series and a toy line is bad?

  • Tom Hignite

    Hoo-Ray for DreamWorks! Great news and a most welcomed bit of unexpected news.it will indeed be interesting to see how it fares this coming weekend against Fast and Furious. Maybe there are too few movies out that young children and adults( families) can enjoy together. I am not sure how many young kids will be taken to see Fast and Furious?

    What is even more notable is that the first weekend success came despite so-so reviews. Most interesting all around. There might still be hope for optimism for young family fare after all.

  • Lord Pigeon

    I’m really happy for them. Now all they need to do is refrain from making this movie into a television cartoon. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think those spinoffs have done more harm than good to their performances in the box office.

  • Tobias

    Even though I have absolutely no intrest in the film, I will admit it’s nice Home had a bigger then expected debut since quite frankly DWA needed it. Not only due to the previously reported woes but also the sheer fact this is their only theatrical release for the year.
    Also, this being a financial hit could take some pressure off Kung Fu Panda 3. As much as I’m excited for that one, it’ll be having competition from Zootopia which opens a couple weeks before it.

  • Toonio

    So why many are downplaying the fact Home is a crappy movie?

    Are we supposed to cherish the mediocre and trivial in lieu of good story telling?

    Never put how sheepish the public can be and betting for the only horse on the racetrack because it won’t make sense in a hundred years.

    If DW is going to Yogi Bear it’s way through the box office, the will be out of business sooner than later, as they will be cheapening their brand the same way Rhythm and Hues did.

  • Tim Tran

    People keep saying Disney is racist and DreamWorks is progressive for making Home with an African American girl. When they forget that Disney made Frog in 2009, then 5 years later Hero, then next year is Moana. Disney, believe it or not, is trying to be progressive.

    • Barrett

      I don’t hear anyone calling Disney animation “racist” or Dreamworks “progressive”, but maybe I’m hanging with a different crowd.

      Most of the views I’ve heard about these respective studios over the past few years is “Disney is finally “back” and doing great movies” and “Dreamworks does the same thing over and over, sometimes that’s entertaining and sometimes not.”

    • Ravlic

      What’s with that ‘racist Disney’ thing I keep hearing? I don’t get it. They had a native American, a chinese person, an arab, a Hawaiian, ancient Indian-looking people, Princess and the Frog…The newer movies are just continuing Disney’s tendency to place their movies all around the world, though they get flak for that as well so I’m really not sure what people want from them.

      • Dusty Ayres

        What ‘they’ want is to be standing behind the animators and the writers telling them what to write and to create.

        • Ravlic

          You say that as if mainstream cartoon production isn’t already filled to the brim with people telling creatives what to do. If changing the colour of a character’s skin was the only thing a company asked in comparison to another one that demanded Jim Parsons in the main role, pop culture references abound and a tale about an underdog who learns to be true to himself, hmmm I’d take the former.

    • TygerTyger

      Racist? Seriously, “racist?”

      Terms like that have even made it here to this board. Ridiculous.

  • doconnor

    I enjoyed Home at lot more then I expected. It had a lot of interesting Science Fiction ideas. The bubble based technology made a surprising amount of sense. The invasion it probably more realistic then most alien invasions from movies. It is over before the title is shown.

    I liked the keyhole view of the alien invasion where all the massive upheaval in human society is entirely off screen and the focus is on a character who believes herself to be insignificant. It reminded of War of the Worlds (2005).

    Most of the toilet humour is in the trailer. I get the feeling they add those segments just to have them in the trailer.

    It’s no Incredibles, but I liked it better the Cinderella and even Big Hero 6.

  • Home? What home?

    Yay Dreamworks. Can we re-open PDI now, and give the 1000 Jobs back to the workers you sent out on the street?

  • Barrett

    Well, this certainly surprised me. While this movie clearly did much better for it’s first weekend, I’ll be curious to see its staying power. Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen and Big Hero 6 all had good numbers for several weeks after opening. The only Dreamworks film to pull that off in years was Dragons 2. If the story and characters are as middling as they appear to most of us, the film will drop off due to negative or meh word-of-mouth. If it “works” for mainstream audiences *despite* what many animation geeks think (like “Frozen” clearly did) then it will have staying power.

    At this point, I’d rather be proven wrong and have this move continue to feed DWA’s coffers, for the greater good of the industry.

  • Ravlic

    You call 47% on RT and 55 on Metacritic decent?

  • BurntToShreds

    I agree with you on how it’s sad that there’s a lot of cool stuff going on that’s neglected in news articles. I’d love to see Cartoon Brew discuss more than big-name studios and the odd short film here or there.

    • Ravlic

      I think CB usually does an acceptable job addressing the variety of animation, but they do give the big three a disproportionate amount of focus, like most animation blogs. Heck, had it not been for one oddball blog I wouldn’t have even known the Prophet got a trailer recently because everything I follow is so centered around Home right now.
      Really what angers me isn’t even the focus on these three, but that a cartoon as unremarkable, uninspired and generic as Home, a critically panned feature that I doubt anyone will even remember watching, is getting so much attention for no reason other than the fact that it’s a high budget big studio movie. We make fun of people going to see a movie just because it has a big star’s name on it, isn’t this the same thing?

      • Gerry

        It’s funny you should say that because my mom took my 4 year old daughter to see it weekend before last and neither one of them could tell me what the movie was about. My daughter hasn’t mentioned it since. Sounds like it doesn’t leave much of an impact.

  • Dusty Ayres

    How are sales of Home going to build further than they already have done so? Making only the artsy moves you love wasn’t going to help the company any.