Jeffrey Katzenberg Says ‘Turbo’ Fell Short Of Expectations But Will Be Profitable

The Dreamworks Animation CEO attributes his movie’s problems to an “oversaturated marketplace” as the release was overwhelmed by family friendly competition. “We hit a perfect storm here,” Jeffrey Katzenberg told analysts in a call to discuss Q2 earnings. The release on July 17 “was just a bad date.” This summer included 50% more tentpole releases than in the same period last year, he says. What’s more, “we’ve seen more animation this summer by about 100% than we’ve ever seen before.” That “caused us to fall short of our expectations.” But he says that Turbo “will be profitable” after Q3. There’s “still upside for Turbo domestically” where it has generated more than $60M at box offices. It’s a let down because “our movies are $150M to $200M grossing movies. In the real world, a movie in the vicinity of $100M is still considered a hit.” The company says that Turbo cost about 20% less than Rise Of The Guardians, which required a $87M writedown. Katzenberg also says that Turbo likely will be a hit overseas, including markets where it will face less competition when it opens. He adds that DWA’s upcoming movies including Mr. Peabody & Sherman and How To Train Your Dragon 2 won’t have the same problems. “We have a very clear path as to what 2014 looks like and pretty much so for 2015,” Katzenberg says. “The good news is that these big event movies don’t fall in at the last minute.”

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