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Wall Street Stays Surprisingly Calm Over ‘Croods’

DreamWorks Animation toon actually opened to less than 'Dragon,' 'Panda 2'

What the what? For once, Wall Street has kept its cool after the opening of a DreamWorks Animation film — this time “The Croods,” which earned a revised $43.6 million opening.

DWA stock closed Monday down less than 1% at $18.86 per share.

Curiously, the “Croods” opening was only $100,000 less than the debut of “How to Train Your Dragon,” which unleashed Wall St. conniptions back in 2010, when DWA shares plummeted 8.1%. And the opening was $3 million less than the “Kung Fu Panda 2” bow during Memorial Day weekend 2011, which drove DWA stock to its lowest point in nearly two years.

DWA stock also fell 3.8% when the company announced last month it was moving “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” from Nov. 21 to March 7, 2014, leaving the toon shop without a fall release this year and concerning investors (not to mention spurring DWA to deliver an undisclosed number of pink slips).

Why, then, is Wall Street not crying doom and gloom after what would likewise seem to be a disappointing start for “The Croods”? (Though actually, it’s not.) The reason: “Dragon” and “Panda 2” each had crazy-long legs worldwide. “Dragon” cumed nearly five times its domestic opening, with $217 million, while “Panda 2” earned more than $500 million overseas.

“Croods,” which is distributed worldwide by Fox (the first for DWA), debuted day-and-date internationally with a robust $63 million from 47 markets.

The “Croods”-“Dragon” Stateside comparisons are especially encouraging. Both films played during the heart of spring break, though “Croods” benefits from an expanded vacation sked with Easter falling earlier than usual on March 31. What’s more, “Croods” received an A CinemaScore rating and should dominate the family market for more than two months until Fox’s Blue Sky toon “Epic” bows May 24.

Still, “The Croods” will loose families with older kids  to PG-13-rated “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” as “Dragon” did when “Clash of the Titans” bowed a week later.

On the 3D front, “The Croods,” with 38%, actually did better with the format than “Madagascar 3” (35%) and “Rise of the Guardians” (37%). That’s a far cry from “Dragon” in 3D, at 65%, but the format has significantly leveled off since then.

Overall playability for “The Croods” indeed looks promising. Now it’s just a matter of how the toon holds up to keep Wall Street holding a torch for DreamWorks Animation.

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