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Soft “Kung Fu Panda” opening affects DW stock Tuesday morning

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: So “Kung Fu Panda 2” didn’t exactly come out of the gate kicking. It didn’t help that the animated sequel was opening alongside one of the year’s biggest comedies in “The Hangover Part II.” And maybe parents are growing tired of having to pony up extra dough to pay for 3D ticket prices in this distressed economy.

But really, who is paying attention? I’ll tell you who. Wall Street.

Shares of DreamWorks Animation fell “to their lowest level in two years in early Tuesday trading,” according to THR, as Wall Street analysts said this was the latest in a string of disappointments from the animation studio.

“The key drivers of DWA’s troubles are that its movies have not lived up to expectations and the global DVD market is in free fall as consumers continue to shift from buying to renting,” one analyst said.

“The film grossed less than its predecessor (opened to $60.2 million) despite the 3D ticket premium, long weekend, and three years of ticket price inflation,” another added. “This is the latest in a string of disappointments for DWA and is more troubling as Panda has been one of the company’s few remaining franchises, which may be showing signs of fatigue.”

We’ll see if this “fatigue” stretches to include rival studio Pixar when it releases “Cars 2” later in June. But for now, the news isn’t great for DreamWorks.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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One Comment

  • May 31, 2011 | Permalink |

    The market is over reacting to what it perceived as a poor opening for Panda 2. A gross of $68 million domestically over the holiday is respectable after the sub $6 million start Thursday, and right in line with revised estimates from the studio. The more important point which everyone seems to be overlooking is how well the film did abroad, just like its predecessor. Adding to the $68 million in domestic sales was $57 million abroad from just 11 markets vs The Hangover II which only did $70 million in 40 markets. KFP2 should continue to to well abroad as it premiers to coincide with schools going on holiday. The US market accounted for less than 35% of the box office revenue for the first film so I dont understand the assumptions that this would be different. When all is said and done this movie will be extremely profitable.

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