Dreamworks Animation stock takes hit after ‘Rise of the Guardians’ disappoints

By Daniel S Levine,

While most of Hollywood was happy with the record-breaking Thanksgiving box office numbers, Dreamworks Animation had little to celebrate after Rise of the Guardians failed to live up to expectations. The $145 million film’s disappointing numbers have made investors nervous and the studio’s stock has taken a steep fall.

Rise of the Guardians made just $32.4 million over the five-day weekend, falling far behind the weekend’s winner, the final Twilight film, which made $64.02 million.

At the moment, the company’s stock has fallen to just under $17, a drop of over 5 percent.

Dreamworks had been on an amazing streak, thanks to this summer’s box office smash Madagascar 3, so investors had high hopes that the studio would produce another hit for the winter.

“It’s bad, in the sense that it’s probably one of the very few films DreamWorks will end up taking a loss on,” Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Tony Wible told The Wrap, noting that this will reset investors’ expectations. “The good news for the stock is that expectations have been flushed out and reset at a new level.”

Wible continued, “They had low expectations going into the week and they're lower now and there is only one way their expectation can go from here.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Wible released a report, stating that the film’s opening was “one of the most disappointing releases in the company's history -- especially in light of the long weekend, record-breaking U.S. box-office gross over the weekend, the holiday-focused plot and lack of competition.”

Stifel, Nicolaus analyst Benjamin Mogil predicts that Rise of the Guardians will end its run with $125 million to $145 million domestically, meaning that the studio will have to take a loss.

Dreamworks’ future does look bright, especially if it can take advantage of its new Chinese joint-venture. Plus, since Rise of the Guardians does star familiar characters like Santa Claus, the film does have a chance to do well overseas.

However, Lazard Capital Markets analyst Barton Crockett told THR that the studio shouldn’t be too optimistic about its overseas chances. It only made $5.85 million in Russia, far behind what other recent hits have grossed on opening weekend.

In addition, this is the last Dreamworks film that will be distributed by Paramount, since the studio signed a deal with Fox.

image: Paramount



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