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.

SING
Universal/Illumination

THE FILM

When it comes to playing the family-film game for profit, few do it as well as Chris Meledandri and his Illumination Entertainment banner. For the first time, Illumination released two films in a calendar year, and both made it to the Top 10 of Deadline’s most profitable movies. Coming in seventh is Sing, in which a koala bear voiced by Matthew McConaughey hosts a singing contest meant to save a theater. Add the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly and Jennifer Hudson, and load in 65 hit songs that were used in some form or another, and keep it all at a $75 million budget and well, let’s see how it worked out.

THE BOX SCORE

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

THE BOTTOM LINE

From the time he moved from Fox Animation to start Illumination at Universal, Meledandri has shown a knack for making family fare for a price, beginning with the label’s first pic, Despicable Me. This one doesn’t really compare to that line of films (which includes the Minions spinoff), but Sing sounds great on paper. It opened Christmas week to $35 million, and played through the holidays for a $269 million domestic gross, $300 million overseas and $30 million in China ticket sales for a $601 million total. The Participations and Residuals and Off-the-Tops totaled $40 million. So even though you’d have to go back to No. 14 The Conjuring 2 to find a film with as low a global gross total, our experts said that Sing still managed to turn a net profit for Universal at $194 million, for a Cash on Cash Return of 1.66. Add that they’re already developing a sequel, and Sing goes down as another big victory for Illumination and Universal.