‘Doogal’ dogs CG upstarts

Weinstein pic considered first flop in 3D toon field

Did it take a British dog named “Doogal” to bring the CG animation biz down to Earth?

With the Weinstein Co.’s toon bowing to a dismal $3.6 million last weekend, the dozens of companies hoping to replicate the success of Pixar and DreamWorks Animation had to take note.

CG animation has appeared all but invulnerable over the past few years, with hit after hit.

While last summer’s “Valiant” was the first CG toon to perform poorly, critically lambasted “Doogal” is the first total flop, with a cume below $10 million possible.

The Weinstein Co. only bought North American rights, so it won’t take a bath. But the indie has been on a CG buying spree of late, hoping to replicate the success of its “Hoodwinked.”

Other indies, including Lionsgate and production houses without a distrib deal yet, are getting into the biz as well.

But anyone who thought CG on a budget was as close to a guarantee as the movie biz has must now be rethinking that strategy.

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