“Turbo” Fails to Accelerate at Box Office


Turbo, the DreamWorks-produced and David Soren-directed animated feature about the snail that could, opened in a disappointing third place in the U.S. with an esimated $21.5 million. The film is the third-lowest all-time opening weekend for a DreamWorks CGI film, doing better than only Antz (1998) and the Aardman-produced Flushed Away (2006). However, adjusted for inflation and 3D prices, Turbo had the smallest opening weekend audience EVER for a DreamWorks CG pic. The film has grossed $31.2 million since opening last Wednesday.

Illumination’s Despicable Me 2 kept up its amazing run in its third weekend. The film landed in second place with an estimated $25.1 million. Its current domestic total is a smashing $276 million, and by next weekend it will pass Man of Steel to become the second-highest grossing film in America this year. Holding up the tenth place spot was Pixar’s Monsters University, which earned an estimated $5 million in its fifth weekend. The film’s total now stands at a robust $249 million.

International numbers to come in a bit.


  • Matt Sullivan

    Ouch. While Turbo may be a decent film, it definitely suffered from “Bad Trailer syndrome”. What was the production budget? I’m guessing they had to part with at least 5-10 million just to pay Ryan Reynolds, Samuel Jackson, Snoop Dog-er…Lion? and all the other unnecessary A-D list voice actors.

    • Roberto Severino

      Yep. Having all those celebrities do voices for these films doesn’t guarantee that the films themselves will be a hit! Marketing really makes a difference. There’s a nice David Cross Arrested Development blooper clip on YouTube where he talks about the importance of this.

      • RB

        can you post the link to the blooper???!

    • Inkan1969

      BoxOffice Mojo says $135M production budget.

  • Animator606432

    I’m having flash backs to that “epic” movie. Honestly, the premise sounded cute enough for a 20 to 30 minute short but I just couldn’t see this working as a whole movie. The trailer didn’t help matters, as it told me very little about the story aside from a brief synopsis that I could get from just looking at Wikipedia. No, they spent that time showing of their over payed celebrity voices, people that kids couldn’t care or know about.

    • Lori S. Reyes

      I agree, it should have been made a short film. I don’t think I would want to sit down for more than 20 minutes watching a snail race.

  • Anyone

    Two words. Ryan Reynolds

    • Matt

      I do not get why the media has suddenly jumped on the “We hate Ryan Reynolds” bandwagon. I think he does an awesome job at voicing a character. RIPD, even though I have not seen it looks like a fun movie. If you bash on something you should have feasible reasoning.

  • hjalmar poelzig

    The trailer makes the film seem like a cliched “impossible dream” story where a plucky underdog overcomes absurd obstacles to acheive success. The snails are well designed and animated but the humans have that Dreamworks clunkiness. I’ll see the dvd.

  • CC

    I don’t get why people think it suffered from bad marketing. the marketing was just fine, it told you everything you needed to know. its about a snail that goes fast and then competes in the indie 500. make sure you say that out loud to yourself and then you might realize why it’s not doing good in the box office. All my family and friends (most of who aren’t avid animation fans) have expressed no interest what so ever to see this film especially on the coattails of despicable me 2.

    • Inkan1969

      Exactly. I’ll have to see the movie for the explanation as to just how humans decided to let a superpowered snail compete in a car race, as for the life of me I sure can’t imagine an explanation.

  • Kevin Martinez

    I don’t even want to think about how many animators will get the axe for this.

    • Matt Sullivan

      Ditto.

  • Santiago Casares

    Releasing the film so close to Despicable Me 2 also hurt the chances for Turbo to reach its intended audience.

  • D. Strong

    I hope this is not going to be used as an excuse for Dreamworks to layoff more of its creative staff. :/

  • Michael Fox

    I agree with people who say that the casting process probably made the movie more expensive than it had to be but don’t forget the massive competition – you still have Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University in the mix. Whether or not people chose the Conjuring over this is beyond me (i doubt it) but the competition is so strong with those movies plus Pacific Rim and Grown Ups 2 battling it out still.

    Either way, I’m just happy RIPD is looking like a flop, that movie reminds me way too much of the crummy 1980s buddy cop movie Dead Heat.

  • Chris Etrata

    It also was a sequel where as this was an original.

  • Fast mike

    When competing in a strong field you simply need to be better then the rest. Turbo is simply not appealing enough for the race its in.

  • the Gee

    As much as the studio would have faced the wrath of being accused of copying Pixar, it could have avoided the snail and made an unlikely car the main character. Throw all the snail’s characteristics and then some into a driver or two and it probably would have worked just as well as the Herbie the Love Bug movies. Personally, I think the benefits to that choice would have been plentiful.

    Just a twist but a better one than it sounds like they settled on. But, of course, this is just my opinion.

    • SarahJesness

      Yeah, but then it kind of takes away the entire gimmick. And it seems that the gimmick is the whole movie, so, yeah.

    • canimal

      To be honest, I think the concept with the snails is cute and clever and had a lot of potential. Its the execution that was off. There were many points during the movie where I thought “now if only they’d done this instead, or had this happen, etc, it would be really good”.

  • Van

    Seriously…I think a good amount of people saw this flop from far away. Well, maybe not Bill D. or Jeffrey K at DWA. A movie about a garden snail who needs to “juice up” to do well in life? Probably didn’t fare well in the minds of the parents that were taking their kids to the movies this past week. The animators are not to blame for this and should be let go. If anyone is to blame is the higher ups that have lost touch with what is viable in the current cinema market. And don’t get me started about the snail designs. The slugs from epic had more appeal and distinction.

  • SarahJesness

    But DM2 is a sequel to a more recent film that was popular with kids and adults, it could handle that kind of competition.

  • SarahJesness

    No surprise. Turbo looks incredibly mediocre and it had to compete with two highly anticipated animated films.

  • Ant G

    Well from the perspective of a frugal parent, after spending money on the last two weekends for my kids to see Monsters University and Despicable Me 2, two sequels of movies they’ve seen and loved. I wouldn’t want to spend for them to see yet another animated movie that no one heard of. Dreamworks’ competition was tough and came out way before.

  • themonster

    500 people going to be fired just for this movie………….the same happened with Rise of the Guardians 350 fired………….that’s what Mr. Jeffrey Katzenberg said………’Very, Very Difficult’ Layoffs:

    The CEO tells THR restructuring was needed
    after “Rise of the Guardians” underperforms and “Me and My Shadow” is
    pushed back: “We’ve never had to lay anybody off … but it’s the right
    thing for us today.”

    if rise of the guardians underperforms this one is going underground……………………with people’s jobs…..

  • IJK

    Community gets sick of animation sequels.

    Rips apart original film just because it’s simple and doesn’t look like the next Toy Story.

    Then goes on to praise Monsters University and Despicable Me 2 as films they’d much rather spend money on than Turbo.

    Well.

    • TheGreatWormSpirit

      A movie does not have to be a sequel in order to be derivative.

      • IJK

        A film not based on an existing property is an original. Whether or not it’s good, bad, dumb, brilliant, whatever, it’s original.

  • http://the-animatorium.blogspot.com/ Natalie Belton

    A snail movie is slow at the box-office? Oh, the irony…

  • Robert Calcagno

    This film never aimed to be anything more than a lazy diversion for children. And the market has become so competitive that to attract such a niche audience and completely ignore other folks that might be interested. The most successful films are the ones that can attract adults, dating couples, and animation enthusiasts and this film did absolutely nothing for them.

    It honestly came off as a “fake” Dreamworks film, like the kind you’d create if you were making a film and needed a fake trailer in the background. None of this should be shocking because they definitely couldn’t convince the animation community that this was trying to be anything more than mediocre.

    • Muther

      It’s a shame every animated film is apparently held up to the standard of “fantastic”, and if it doesn’t reach that standard it’s pure trash. There’s so many live-action films that are mediocre but people still enjoy.

      There are so many animation studios out now all competing with one another, is it so wrong to get average films like Escape from Planet Earth or Turbo now and then? Does everything in animation need to be WALL-E quality or ground-breaking to be acknowledged?

      I mean like, even average animated films are still 50 times better than average live-action films so it’s really bizarre when people rip them apart as if something like Fast and the Furious 5 is just as bad as Turbo…

  • Mike

    I knew it. Whether it was a good film or not, I don’t know, but something about the crappy snail designs among others things just didn’t jell right.

  • Vance Cooley

    I saw it. I thought the designs of the Speedway and the DW12′s (the Indycar) were nicely done, the racing was great, etc. It was an outlandish idea, however and I think this really hurt it. I think the story could have been done with a down and out racer and it would have worked better and been more believable.
    That said, I did enjoy it though. But I’m a die hard Indycar fan so maybe I’m biased. My 3 year old loved it too.

  • Paul

    The only animated films I really enjoy are from Dreamworks, so before you accuse me of being filled with “Dreamworks hatred,” chew on that. I don’t even care for Pixar, to be honest. Dreamworks is more “mature” and I prefer that. That said, whoever came up with this and thought it would be a good movie is a dumbass and I can’t believe they ever made it. You need to chill out, you’re acting like you have personal interests invested in this movie.

    • Muther

      And also, when you call the writers/whoever greenlit the film “dumbasses”, you sound like you have more of a personal vendetta than anyone else around here…

  • IJK

    So many dumb things in this post I’m not sure where to start.

    Should it be the part where you listed other animated films and calling them cool without rhyme or reason as to why then jump onto Turbo and somehow claimed it’s dumb, even though it’s plot can literally be substituted with Ratatouille, which “sounds cool!”?

    Or maybe the bit where somehow a simple plot about a snail wanting to go fast is just too nonsensical for you and doesn’t make any sense, even though it literally couldn’t be anymore simpler? Even a 4-year old can make sense of that plot. (Honestly how the hell does CARS make more sense than Turbo? Even the way you phrased it made me question how that movie got greenlit.)

    Maybe I should talk about the bit where you claimed that snails are gross and therefore are impossible to find appealing. Because we all know how people can’t make creatures we tend to find unappealing in real life (insects) very pleasing to watch in animation.

    I guess I can talk about your reference to the Ward Kimball letter, even though he himself has designed Jiminy Cricket and his theory about audiences not wanting to see household pests as stars in animation has been proven wrong over time.

    I could talk about all of these things but you’ll probably ignore me, claim I’ve worked on the film so that’s my only reason for wanting to stand up for the film (Not because I support original films and taking chances, even if it’s for a plot that nobody else saw potential in, and despise unwarranted hate for a product that’s nothing more than average at best), and you can go on to share your poor opinions with the world where you counter your own argument and make yourself look like an idiot.

    I’m literally still baffled how you think Cars makes more sense than Turbo, especially with the poor way you phrased the film. I won’t even bother responding to you after this because I can tell someone who says something as dumb as that isn’t worth debating with.

    • rufus3698

      It’s easy to be original and bad. I was pretty lukewarm on the cooking rat movie concept, but still went to see it because PIXAR’s ads showed a unique protagonist in a well executed adult dramatic context. IOWS, something actually unique and original. Pixar didn’t stick a souped up cuisinart on the protagonist’s back to pick up the 4 to 10 year old boy demographic.

  • Jason

    Marketing could be a problem with this one, and the out-grossing by Despicable Me 2 could have something to do with it
    Since Shrek the Third in 2007, every DWA movie had a McDonald’s Happy Meal tie-in until this one, whose spot was taken by Despicable Me 2

  • josh

    are you working for dreamworks?

  • Krypton Keeper

    Turbo looks like something people PARODIED when they took shots at Dreamworks.
    IT’S A SNAIL, HE RUNS VERY FAST. BUNCH OF CELEBRITY NAMES ON THE POSTERS. IT’S HIP!

    • heymcdermott

      “And every single snail in the poster will have an expression like this (makes the Dreamworks Smirk)!”

  • Sruli Broocker

    I can hear the executive that said, “Take ‘A Bug’s Life,” “Ratatouille,” and “Cars,” and make us a franchise! Ugh. No matter how well you execute a concept – if the concept itself isn’t from the heart, it WON’T connect.

  • MarkusL
  • Diongokil .

    Turbo is awesome!!!
    I can feel Turbo and its crew’s hilarity when they won the race.
    I’m not good on judging a movie, but this movie worth to watch with kids.

  • James

    Saw it with the kids, was pretty good. I don’t get the hate, most of it seems to be from people who never even saw the movie. Figures.