Most of Wall Street was not impressed with DreamWorks Animation’s second recent lackluster release: “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” which bowed to $32.2 million domestically, caused the toon shop’s price target to plummet from $35 to $21 per share, according to Cowen and Co. analyst Doug Creutz.
DWA stock closed Monday at $29.05 per share, down 1.39%, following the toon’s disappointing Stateside debut.
While the Cowen research note included a snarky reference to the film as “just another dog,” other analysts focused more on the company’s longterm prospects, including B. Riley’s Eric Wold, who valued DWA in his report at $37 per share, up from $32. Wold added: “With our concerns around the performance of ‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman,’ for the most part, behind us, we are refocusing on the positive shift in the film slate weighting towards the studio’s core franchises over the next 18 months.”
DWA will release “How to Train Your Dragon 2” on June 13, followed by the alien-invasion toon “Home” timed for Thanksgiving weekend.
Meanwhile, Cowen’s Creutz noted: “We are lowering our estimates for (‘Peabody & Sherman’), but also for all future DWA original films, based on the fact that the company has been piling up an increasingly alarming film body count over the past few years.”
“Peabody & Sherman,” which Fox is distributing worldwide as part of the studio’s slate distribution deal with DWA, follows “Turbo,” which cost $135 million to produce and grossed just $282 million worldwide, causing DWA to take a $13.5 million writedown during fourth-quarter 2013. Before that, DWA took an $87 million writedown on another non-franchise film, “Rise of the Guardians,” which grossed $306 million in 2012.
Global estimates for “Peabody & Sherman” range between $350 million and $400 million. The film was budgeted at $145 million, which means DWA could suffer another writedown comparable to “Rise of the Guardians.”
So far internationally, “Peabody & Sherman” has grossed a soft $65.4 million from 56 territories. The film has yet to launch in 20 markets including Australia, China, Italy and South Korea.