More bad news for Jeffrey Katzenberg: DreamWorks Animation shares are down about 5.9% in mid-day trading after Stifel analyst Benjamin Mogil slashed his forecast for its latest film Penguins of Madagascar and projected that it will end up losing $49 million vs. his previous prediction for a $15 million loss. On Friday B. Riley’s Eric Wold also lowered his estimates, and predicted a write-off for the quarter.
Domestically, Penguins has grossed about $59 million in its first three weeks. Both analysts now anticipate that it will wind up generating $75 million. That’s down from Mogil’s previous estimate for $110 million. Wold originally expected $200M, which he reduced after it opened to a range that went as low as $130 million.
Overseas sales at $116 million also look disappointing, although the film has yet to open in large markets including France, Mexico, South Korea, Australia, and Brazil. Mogil cut his international forecast to $250 million from $300 million. Wold took his prediction down to $200 million from $350 million.
If the analysts are right, then Penguins would be DWA’s fourth money-losing major film over the last two years. The company wrote down $87 million in early 2013 for Rise Of The Guardians, $13.5 million in February for Turbo (which the SEC is investigating), and $57 million in April for Mr. Peabody & Sherman.
In October Katzenberg called Penguins “a broad comedy starring some of the funniest and best known characters in one of our most popular franchises. All early indications, including online buzz and response from family test audiences, are very strong.”