Fox bows its second DreamWorks Animation title, “Turbo,” on Wednesday, and tracking suggests a sluggish five-day opening in the mid-$30 millions. But “Turbo” won’t even be the weekend’s biggest disappointment, with Universal’s pricey sci-fi comedy “R.I.P.D.” expected to top out in the high teens from Friday to Sunday.
Both pics feature Ryan Reynolds: “R.I.P.D.” also stars Jeff Bridges, while Reynolds voices the lead snail in racing toon “Turbo.”
The Fox-DWA toon hits theaters while “Despicable Me 2” still is doing sizable business: The sequel fell just 47% in its second weekend and has cumed $234 million domestically through Monday.
That said, family tracking is always difficult to nail down, and “Turbo” could overperform slightly if word-of-mouth builds enough to entice adults. The film, which also has a TV series with Netflix, has a younger-skewing look, with strongest appeal among boys.
According to an updated report from analyst firm Stifel, “Turbo,” which carries a production budget of $135 million, should become profitable, thanks to traditionally long legs for toons and greater international appeal than DWA’s disappointment, “Rise of the Guardians,” last year.
Unfortunately for Universal, the same financial outlook cannot be applied to “R.I.P.D.,” which according to the studio, rang up a net cost of $130 million, though other sources say it’s much higher. “R.I.P.D.” could end up as the biggest box office miss for Universal this year, after a string of hits including “Mama,” “Identity Thief,” “Fast and Furious 6,” “The Purge” and “Despicable Me 2.”
“Oblivion,” which cost $120 million to produce, ultimately was a straddler for Universal in March, grossing just $285 million worldwide.
Among the weekend’s wide releases, tracking has been strongest for “R.I.P.D.” among young men.
Reynolds is familiar with disappointing box office weekends after “The Green Lantern” flopped in 2011. That film, which cost $200 million to produce, cumed only $219 million worldwide.
Meanwhile, Fox bows “Turbo” day-and-date with the U.S. in only Brazil, Mexico and Russia, while most major European markets open in October. The staggered overseas release pattern isn’t unusual for animated films during the summer, and is a go-to strategy for Fox with past successes including the “Ice Age” franchise.
The DWA toon’s midweek domestic launch is meant to take advantage of increased summer moviegoing for family films, as well as give it a headstart over other wide releases, “The Conjuring,” which should win with roughly $30 million in three days, and “Red 2,” tracking in the $20 million-range.