The ‘Flush’ brush-off

D'Works takes writedown on Aardman pic

DreamWorks Animation said Wednesday it will likely take an unspecified write-down in the fourth quarter on “Flushed Away,” the Aardman Animation pic that opened early this month.

The film has taken in about $40 million since its unimpressive bow. Studio said it cost $149 million. It still awaits release in some foreign markets, including the U.K. and France.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, DreamWorks said it “is currently unable to predict the ultimate amount of the writedown, which could be material.”

Wall Street analysts see a number anywhere from $45 million to $90 million.

Daily Variety reported earlier this week that the five-picture deal between DreamWorks and Aardman, of “Wallace & Gromit” and “Chicken Run” fame, could be history, and the Brit producers might seek a new distributor for their next pic, “Crood Awakening.”

DreamWorks is expected to have better luck with its upcoming pics, including “Shrek 3,” “Bee Movie,” “Kung Fu Panda” and “Madagascar 2.”

Separately, DreamWorks formally filed to sell 11.58 million shares in a secondary offering that investor Paul Allen triggered last month. The company said the offering would be for up to $330 million worth of stock.

Anticipation of the sale, which will flood the market with DreamWorks shares, has kept a lid on the stock price.

DreamWorks shares closed Wednesday down 1.06% to $27.91.

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