| LOS ANGELES, July 16
LOS ANGELES, July 16 Shares of DreamWorks
Animation SKG fell 6 percent on Tuesday as industry
projections suggested its new movie, "Turbo," the story of a
super-fast snail, could open at a slower pace than many of the
studio's recent hits.
"Turbo," featuring the voice of Ryan Reynolds as a garden
snail with dreams of entering the Indianapolis 500, could take
in less than $35 million during its first weekend in U.S. and
Canadian theaters, according to box office forecasters. The
movie premieres in theaters on Wednesday.
Only two of 11 DreamWorks movies since 2008 debuted below
that mark, according to the Box Office Mojo website.
Shares of DreamWorks, producer of the blockbuster "Shrek"
and "Kung Fu Panda" movies, closed down 6 percent on Tuesday to
$25.04 on Nasdaq.
Concern about "Turbo's" performance weighed on DreamWorks
shares, according to BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield. The film
"certainly looks set to be a disappointment," he said.
Chris Petrikin, a spokesman for 20th Century Fox,
the studio that is distributing "Turbo," said the company sees
significant growth in interest among family audiences, based on
its surveys. Fox is optimistic the movie will perform well for
an original title that doesn't have the built-in fan base of a
sequel, he said.
This year's crop of summer films have proven stubbornly
difficult for Hollywood forecasters to predict. Films like "The
Lone Ranger" and "White House Down" started lower than forecast,
while Brad Pitt's "World War Z" opened significantly above
Animated blockbuster "Despicable Me 2" brought in $83
million during its first weekend, $3 million more than its
highest pre-opening forecasts.
The continued strength of "Despicable Me 2" and the July 31
opening on family-oriented "The Smurfs 2," pose a challenge for
"Turbo," Phil Contrino, chief analyst with Boxoffice.com, said
"Being sandwiched in between two established brands, it's
not an easy thing," said Contrino, who predicts "Turbo" will
take in $19 million from Friday through Sunday, reaching $28
million with Wednesday and Thursday sales.
Other box office analysts were more bullish, projecting
domestic ticket sales will reach $30 million over the three-day
weekend period and top $40 million over the first five days.
In February, DreamWorks announced it took an $87 million
writedown for holiday-themed "Rise of the Guardians," which
opened with $23.8 million in November. The company rebounded
after the March release of "The Croods" took in $43.6 million in
its first weekend, going on to become a hit with plans for a
Jeff Bock, box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations Co,
believes "Turbo" will bring in healthy business in the weeks
after it premieres, luring family crowds that do not usually
rush to theaters on opening weekend.
"There is plenty of time for it to build an audience," Bock
said. "DreamWorks has a proven track record for doing that."