Monday, March 30, 2009

A Dream Weekend...


DreamWorks Animation cleaned up at the box office this weekend...

"Monsters Vs. Aliens" ended Sunday with a monstrous take of $58.2 million dollars. Katzenberg's little firm has been delivering quite a bit of a challenge to the Mouse and Lamp with its stream of hits over the last couple of years. Granted, the quality of stories haven't been as high as Pixars, but the box office has more than equaled Emeryville.

I saw MvA over the weekend and fully enjoyed it. While the story was good, it ain't "Kung Fu Panda," but was a fun escapist night at the movies. Those of you that are fans of old sci-fi 50's films or cheesy monster films of that era should really enjoy it. But as it stands for me, Panda is still the only Pixar-quality film they've produced. From what I hear the sequel is working out very good, story-wise.

Here's hoping that future films like "Master Mind" and "Truckers" build on the base that DW has constructed over the last few years...

30 comments:

tjkraz said...

Caught a 3D viewing with the kids on Saturday. Didn't care for it much. Aside from the eye candy, it felt like Saturday Morning Cartoon-quality.

When the president went up to address the alien ship, I new we were in trouble. The theater was practically full--late arrivals couldn't find 3 seats together. But when the president started playing a few bars from Beverly Hills Cop, you could have heard crickets in the theater.

That character was just a complete waste of space. Identical buttons for nuclear missiles and cappuccino. Hmmmmmm...wonder where this gag is headed... Ugh!

I'm not a Dreamworks 'hater' and the big box office was inevitable. (Great concept & marketing.) But the execution was less than mediocre, IMO.

Anonymous said...

I agree with tjkraz. The concept of Monsters Vs. Aliens has a ton of potential... in the hands of any other studio. This was an extended big budget Saturday Morning Cartoon that went for the absolute most obvious gags (with a few adult skewing jokes that weren't even funny and just came out abrupt, crass, and innappropriate. Yes, we get it, the 50 foot girl has giant boobs).

As far as parodying monster and alien movies. It had a few shots and a few sounds and a few music cues that parodied them, but, really, there wasn't much there. It was a huge missed oppurtunity.

The action set pieces were big cool fun but the "monsters" didn't do crap. Susan was the only threat to the Alien. The others were there to make stupid jokes and get knocked to the side. Anyway, it's still Dreamworks 4th best movie in my opinion. But that's REALLY not saying much.

Disneytom said...

Sorry, but Kong-Fu Panda is not Pixar quality, I think it lacks story and heart, it's just a kids movie... Sorry to say, but I really did not enjoy it at all...

Brian Griffin said...

I wish to add here as well I too believe Kung fu Panda to be very much beneath the Pixar product level, and I watched the movie on this website's recommendation.

Pixar is making amazing movies - one after another; Dreamworks is making film.

Sheriff Buzz said...

I agree with Honor. Kung Fu Panda was a film that rose about the normal DreamWorks production line. I actually liked it better than Wall-E and I didn't think I would. I was hoping it would continue with Monsters, but it appears that although it's pretty good, it's not as good as Panda.

Anonymous said...

Took our girls to see it yesterday and thought it was just ok. Great visually but the story and execution left a bit to be desired. Overall it just couldn't keep mine, or the kids, attention for the full time.

poole said...

DW just seems to hire whoever is famous to do voices and then market the crap out of that. Most of the time the voices are either terrible, or take you right out of the movie. At least pixar goes for VOICES, even when they DO hire a celeb (tom hanks).

elite medium said...

You mean like Reese Witherspoon who is playing the princess in The Bow and the Bear for Pixar?

Oh wait, that's the same person whose VOICE is in Monsters Vs. Aliens.

Right.

Anonymous said...

Reese Witherspoon was the only person in the cast that was mediocre. Everyone else was great! Well, except that the movie wasn't very good.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this movie. It wa sa fun diversion ona Saturday afternoon. it's not Pixar quality as it lacks the heart. That said, i feel like Dreamworks has really foudn their niche. They do amazing pop culture pieces well. You can expect some well-designed characters, and funny pop-references and enjoy an hour and a half. I'm really looking forward to Master Mind and Crood (Sp?0 for this reason. Theyf ill a hole that Disney and Pixar can't which makes it awesome.

Rodan said...

What is the matter with simple escapist fun? Why does a 3-D cartoon have to be this well-written saga. It is a glorified cartoon and that's ok.

Luke said...

There's nothing wrong with 3-D escapist fun. But wouldn't you rather see high-quality 3-D escapist fun instead?

Also, I'm not so sure I agree with your detective work there Honor, you said the box office of Dreamworks films has more than equaled Pixar (i.e. Emeryville, where their studios are located) but that's really not true.

Average gross of Pixar's films = $236 Million

Avgerage gross of Dreamwork's CG films = $180 Million

The fact is, aside from the Shrek franchise, Dreamworks has never had a film break the $200 million mark whereas every single one of Pixar's films in the past decade has.

In other words, even Pixar's least successful films make more money then the most Dreamwork's best non-Shrek films. Of course Pixar's films would probably make even more money if it wasn't for Dreamworks but I really don't think they lose any sleep over them. Of course it's another story if you compare the grosses of Dreamworks and actual Disney films.

Anonymous said...

I liked the first Shrek and I liked Kung Fu Panda. But MvA looks awful. I used to rush out and see just about every movie toon that came out.

Dreamworks has cured me of that.

Anonymous said...

Enough with the Dreamworks bashing, time for some people to breath deeply into a brown paper bag. There's room for Pixar, Disney and Dreamworks and guess what, competition makes for better product. Just enjoy the fact we get to see these movies in the theater and let the rest of the baggage go. This is the same type of rhetoric tossed around long ago when Don Bluth Studios was making animated features along side Disney, history repeating.

Opinions are just that, opinions and you know what they say, “Opinions are like (fill in the blank), everyone has one but we think everyone else’s stinks”.

Anonymous said...

"The fact is, aside from the Shrek franchise, Dreamworks has never had a film break the $200 million mark"

Uh, Kung Fu Panda made $215 Mil domestic Luke, and the rest of your numbers and logic could use some double checking as well.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed MvA, it was a lot of fun and my kids really enjoyed it too.

Anonymous said...

MvA was meh. I never need to see it again. It was a big budget Saturday Morning cartoon. Enjoyable for a little bit. But hey, did anyone see that Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs trailer with it??? Oh man, that looks so great! My kids were bouncing off the walls over that trailer. They are more excited about that movie than Monster Vs. Aliens (Yes, even AFTER the movie they were still talking about the trailer and not the silly sludge they just saw)

Anonymous said...

And Pixar has never had a film break the $400 million mark, unlike Dreamworks. But why mention that little statistic huh Luke?

Luke said...

Uh, Kung Fu Panda made $215 Mil domestic Luke, and the rest of your numbers and logic could use some double checking as well.

Sorry, it should have said "The fact is, aside from the Shrek franchise, Dreamworks never had a film break the $200 million mark until Kung Fu Panda".

The rest of the math is spot on, heck if you don't believe me check the numbers for yourself. As for why I didn't mention that Pixar has never had a film top $400 Mill. it's the same reason why I didn't mention how Pixar's lowest grossing film still made $160 Mill, which is about what Dreamworks films make on average, I simply couldn't mention every statistic out there.

However, my whole point was that on average Pixar films make significantly more than Dreamwork's, which is absolutely true. The numbers prove it: $236 vs. $180.

I'm not saying that they're crappy movies or that Dreamworks should stop making them or anything just that they don't usually make as much money as Pixar's.

Anonymous said...

Luke your numbers are still wrong, Box Office Mojo puts DW's films at an average of $149 Mil and Pixar at $236. I'll include the links at the end...

And what kind of logic is "Of course Pixar's films would probably make even more money if it wasn't for Dreamworks." So what! The opposite of that is true too, if Pixar wasn't around Dreamworks would make more too. It's a non-sequitur.

And you should rephrase "even Pixar's least successful films make more money then the most Dreamwork's best non-Shrek films," to read "Pixars least successful film made more money than the Dreamworks films that made less money than Pixar's worst film." Because that is what you are saying and that is about how logical it sounds.

I graduated in the top 80% of my class. Do you know what that means?

DW's BO: http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=dwanimation.htm

Pixar BO: http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=pixar.htm

Luke said...

I didn't include Dreamworks 2D films, that's why Box Office Mojo's averages are different from mine. Heck, my Dreamwork's average was more generous than their's. Go ahead and use the lower figure if you want, it just makes the discrepancy even more glaring.

A Man Called Horse said...

"I graduated in the top 80% of my class. Do you know what that means?"

That you graduated from public school?

I just added up the numbers for myself and if you omit their 2D films then Dreamworks' films earn an average of $183, 194, 906. Which is $53, 673, 216 less than Pixar's. If you guys are arguing over who's films do better at the box office it's pretty clear that Pixar has the edge.

poole said...

elite medium, I said pixar hires people for vocal talent, whether they are celebrities or not. My point is that DW focuses their marketing on who is doing the voices, where pixar focuses on stories. This is because DW are so sucky that they have to market the fact that "hey that seth rogen kid is in it!, he's cool right? come see this movie then because the cool guy is in it!" They did the same thing with Kung Fu Panda and Jack Black.

Anonymous said...

Pixar does have better numbers, no argument there. I even corrected his figures in favor of Pixar. That wasn't the point, it was the way Luke was "reporting" them.

If you are talking about a studio's average BO for films, but excluding half of them you need to say so from the start. It's like saying "Ford makes more money on cars than Chevy does." And then saying well I wasn't counting SubUrbans.

Throwing inaccurate numbers and vague statements around to sell your point- dude come on.

"There are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics."

Anonymous said...

... and to clarify, just in case... I'm not inferring that Luke was lying. I don't think he was.

Luke said...

Well, I thought it was pretty clear we were comparing CG films here, and I don't see how using a more generous figure for Dreamworks, which actually works against my argument amounts to "throwing inaccurate numbers and vague statements around to sell your point." I mean you say your problem was "with the way I reported things" yet there you go complaining about how the numbers being innaccurate again even though others have agreed they're quite accurate.

Luke said...

Pixar does have better numbers, no argument there. I even corrected his figures in favor of Pixar. That wasn't the point, it was the way Luke was "reporting" them.

LOL, I like how he suddenly changes the topic to cover up the fact that he was too dumb to realize why the numbers didn't match BOM's.

A Man Called Horse said...

I think poole summed it up very well. Pixar has always focused on the story, it is the heart of their films, and the reason they make them to begin with. For Dreamworks, however, story is simply one more hurdle to jump over before they can get all these stars together to make them piles of cash. I believe this is reflected, more often than not, in the quality of their films.

Anonymous said...

The numbers (besides your original mistake of KFP #'s) are accurate, if you only count CG. Which you never said in the original post.

I knew exactly why your numbers didn't match BOM's. That's what I pointed out, you need to say what you are comparing or not comparing.

I like how you suddenly change the argument to an ad hominem "too dumb to realize," approach.

Don't get me wrong the Shrek films suck artistically but why do you feel the need to compare DW's only on a non-Shrek film basis? It doesn't seem relevant to compare the two, money wise, while leaving out the most lucrative property? That's what I meant logic wise.

Luke said...

Those averages I gave actually did include the Shrek films. I just stated that they'd be even lower without them. So while part of my argument did center on Dreamworks without Shrek, I wasn't comparing them only on a non-Shrek basis.

Anyway, it sounds like we're more or less in agreement that Pixar's movies typically make more money, so I think we can effectively end this debate.