When it comes to evaluating the financial performance of top movies, it isn’t about what a film grosses at the box office. The true tale is told when production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs collide with box office grosses and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV. To get close to that mysterious end of the equation, Deadline is repeating our Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament, using data culled by seasoned and trusted sources.

FINDING DORY
Disney/Pixar

THE FILM

Just as the NCAA March Madness comes down to its final four, so has Deadline’s Most Valuable Blockbuster Tournament. We’ll feature one film today, and the final three will play out Monday. Next up is (yawn) yet another Disney movie. Finding Dory, the sequel to Finding Nemo. That fish tale grossed $940 million for Disney in 2003. It took a long time to put the original voice cast back together, and not an incremental expense. But the result was a film that put the franchise past the billion-dollar global box office mark. Let’s see how it stacks up on paper.

THE BOX SCORE

Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:

THE BOTTOM LINE

REX/Shutterstock

The sequel brought back original director and Pixar fixture Andrew Stanton, and also Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks, latter of whom voiced Nemo’s father, Marlin, in the original. This one focused on the amiable but forgetful blue tang fish (DeGeneres) as she searches for her long lost family. The film opened last June 15 to a domestic weekend worth a whopping $135 million, and went on to become the second highest-grossing Pixar film behind Toy Story 3. The film grossed $486 million domestic, $503 million foreign and $38 million in China. Its $200 million production cost is higher than many animated films, as is the $51 million outlay in Participations, Residuals and Off-the-Tops that was unavoidable in bringing back DeGeneres and Brooks, and adding a distinguished voice cast around them. But who cares? It allowed Disney to own several summer weekends, and put up eye-popping numbers in the ancillary waterfall. At the end of the day, Finding Dory generated $804 million in global revenues. It put up $507 million and generated $296 million, and the Cash on Cash Return is 1.58.