Is DreamWorks Animation in trouble?

Dreamworks Animation

I have recently heard of the box office failures of their recent outputs in the past 3 years, like Rise of the Guardians, the underperformances of Turbo, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, and How To Train Your Dragon 2 not doing as well as we were all expecting, and dropping as the weeks go on rapidly, many are wondering what is going on at DreamWorks.


Well, there was the massive layoffs in early last year because of the failure of Rise of the Guardians, as they laid off 350 people, and they wrote an $83 million writedown for the first quarter of 2013. I discussed this in my review of said movie, and how after the release of that film, DreamWorks switched their distribution from Paramount Pictures to 20th Century Fox, and The Croods being the first film under that distribution.


After The Croods was released, we all thought that DreamWorks was fine, as it made $587 million in the box office, having a decent fanbase, and garnering a franchise. It was not a How To Train Your Dragon, but it was decent.


Then Turbo was released in July of last year, and it did not really do too well with either the fans, critics, or the box office, as it only made a bit more than $280 million dollars, and it came and went with no impact, as people were still praising over Monsters University and Despicable Me 2. In February of this year, the company took a $13.5 million writedown after the disappointment of Turbo; which happened a year prior with Rise of the Guardians.


With their next film Mr. Peabody and Sherman, they made $260 million in the box office, and even though it made that much money, DreamWorks took a $53 million writedown in May of this year (I did not know any of this when I was writing the review for said film). This is the third flop from DreamWorks animation in a year and a half, with only The Croods making some money. Let’s add it up.






This means that from the duration of early 2013 to now, they lost almost 150 million dollars. That is HUGE.


And with How To Train Your Dragon 2, it has been almost a month, and it has made $240,000,000 so far. It never hit #1 on the weekend box offices, and is performing worse than it’s predecessor. Many are worrying about why this film never really took off, though this is the first film since Kung Fu Panda 2 to really hit critical acclaim.

There is a desperation from this company to have another hit franchise that will take off in the box office and with the fans, but they have been having trouble with that. Are we seeing another bad era from DreamWorks? Why is this happening to them? Maybe it has to do with them releasing too many films in a year, and maybe because people are getting tired of the gimmicks from DreamWorks. What  do you all think of the reasoning of the downward trend of DreamWorks? Does anyone have high hopes for their next projects Penguins of Madagascar and Home? I don’t know what is going on in that studio, but there are some serious issues they need to work out. I wish the best for DreamWorks.


13 thoughts on “Is DreamWorks Animation in trouble?

  1. I think it is a combination of two things: One, there are just too many animation companies in the market, fighting for their share. Once upon a time DreamWorks tried to take Disney and Pixar on…but now it has to fight to be not confused with any of the other minor studios.
    And second, yes, they stuck to the “franchise principle” for way too long.
    It is too bad that Rise of the Guardians was released in-between a bunch of really good movies, because it was the best try they had. They are also releasing way too many movies at once themselves.

    1. I forgot that you were a Rise of the Guardian fan. I forgot because it feels like forever since I was writing that review. It was a good movie to me, but not the best.

      I am noticing that DreamWorks and all the other minor companies have the same formula, and they are kind of getting confused with one another. It really is fighting with Illumination and Blue Sky, while Pixar and WDAS are on a whole upper level. A lot of animation companies on the rise, and most of DreamWorks stock is either mediocre or bad.

      They need to get out of that franchise mindset. Shrek ended in 2010, and while Kung Fu Panda is doing well, it could quickly crash and burn, with many franchises crashing and burning. I remember people saying that DreamWorks was currently topping WDAS and Pixar; hell no.

      1. They should have readjusted way earlier…it was a mistake to take box office success over quality. Now DreamWorks has a reputation, which will difficult to shake off, especially if they don’t come up with new and inventive ideas.

        It is kind of interesting to watch who will still be standing when the “Multi age” is over.

      2. They should have readjusted way earlier, and they have no one to blame but themselves for the rep they have, and the predicament they are currently in. They STILL see box office as more important than quality, but the thing is, the quality of their films is showing in their box office because people see them as a gimmick, and they phone in a lot of their films.

        It really is interesting to watch who will be standing when the Multi Age is over. Fox’s animation disappeared in the early 2000s, and Don Bluth disappeared in the mid 90s. I predict that MANY of these companies that are “hot“ right now will be gone when this era is over.

      3. Technically Blue Sky replaced Fox animation. I guess most of the big movie companies are trying to get a feet on the ground now that animation is affordable and a giant market.

    1. You are definitely not the only ones who thinks that. It would be one thing if half of their films are great, but they are not. This pretty much means we are guaranteed to get one bad film a year, at the minimum. It is too much, and their reputation pushes even more people away. Releasing 3 films per year is desperate.

    1. Oh yeah, I forgot you are a HUGE DreamWorks hater. I used to be one as well, but after reviewing all of them, I have to easy that they have a tiny place in my heart.

      It would be nice to see the HTTYD saga play out. Kung Fu Panda 2 ended on a cliffhanger, so I am thrilled about that.

  2. I think there r several reasons to this.
    1. They released too much movies per year. Usually, 1 is a great film while everything else is bad
    2. Paramount and Fox don’t know how to market animated films! They think audiences love fart jokes and characters laugh out loud and other cliché animated film trailers usually fall into. they need to make it interesting, which they currently aren’t doing. for HTTYD2, they literally spoiled a plot twist!! heard DreamWorks told Fox not to do it, but Fox did not listen and went ahead and put the mother twist into the trailer. Also, I never got interested in HTTYD2 trailers even tho I loved the first one, and that’s a problem.
    3. Each film costs too much to make! if they take away celeb voice casts, the budget will go down drastically. no one really goes to watch DreamWorks films to listen to some of their fav celebs talkin, with exceptions.
    4. And the prob lies on the overall film itself. Turbo is terrible imo and Peabody is decent at best. nothing stands out. they need a great story and characters! to be honest, HTTYD2 disappointed me, I think it didn’t reach the heights of the original.

    1. 1. That is one of the biggest issues. Exactly. Only 1 film out of the yearly bunch might be great.
      2. Their trailers are awful. I heard of that spectacle with the HTTYD2 trailer. The trailers were alright at best.
      3. The celebs do cost a lot of money, but I notice that with many modern animated films, the budgets are only increasing and increasing. It also helps that they spend so much on marketing as well.
      4. Yes, the overall film is a huge issue as well. Turbo is terrible, definitely. HTTYD2 is good, but I am hearing a lot of people saying that it disappointed a bit.

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