DreamWorks is at an all-time box office low (but the next 2 movies will save it)


  • DreamWorks had more box office misses than hits in 2020, but upcoming movies like Trolls Band together and Kung Fu Panda 4 could save the studio.
  • The success of franchises such as Shrek and Madagascar made DreamWorks famous for creating billion dollar crowd-pleasing franchises.
  • Despite recent box office failures, there is hope for DreamWorks with the potential success of Trolls Band together and the high demand for Kung Fu Panda 4.

Although the films of DreamWorks have grossed over $16 billion worldwide, the studio has had more losses than hits in 2020 — but two upcoming films may save it. DreamWorks, once a titan of the animated film industry, is known for creating some of the best animated film franchises. When Shrek First released in theaters in 2001, it not only set the tone for the studio’s distinctive style, but also brought in an astounding $491 million worldwide (via The numbers). The Shrek the franchise has grossed over $4 billion in total and that number is only going to grow considering that Puss in Boots: The Last Wish finishing settings Shrek 5.

Following of Shrek lead, of Madagascar franchise earned a total global box office of over $2.2 billion. While Pixar may be the gold standard when it comes to creating heartfelt animated stories that all ages can relate to, DreamWorks is the gold standard for creating crowd-pleasing, long-running franchises that make billions. However, as the years progressed, DreamWorks found itself struggling with diminishing returns at the box office. This reached a new low in 2023, as Ruby Gilman, Teenage Kraken was a box office bomb. The studio, which once churned out back-to-back blockbusters, has experienced a noticeable decline in its once unrivaled box office streak.

DreamWorks’ 2020 box office is the worst in the studio’s history

DreamWorks’ 2020s got off to a terrible and unfortunate start, as the studio posted The Trolls: World Tour just as COVID-19 began to spread globally. As a result, the film made a disastrous $49 million worldwide. However, while this release can be chalked up to bad luck, subsequent DreamWorks films have suffered a similar fate. Following trolls sequel, the studio released An untamed spirit in 2021, which made just over $42 million, and The Boss Baby: Family Businesswhich only made $146 million against an $82 million budget.

The studio enjoyed mild success in the 2020s. The Croods: A New Era made $214 million against a $65 million budget, though it would only break even marginally after marketing and exhibition costs. The bad ones was a surprise hit, making $250 million against a $70 million budget, and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish was DreamWorks Animation’s biggest hit of 2019 How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, making $484 million worldwide. However, the studio’s failures in 2020 far outweigh its successes, especially with Ruby Gilman, Teenage Krakenwhich lost DreamWorks Animation nearly $100 million.

Trolls Band together and Kung Fu Panda 4 can save DreamWorks

Po shocked while eating at Kung Fu Panda

All hope is not lost for DreamWorks, as the studio has two upcoming films, both of which are part of established IPs. Trolls Band together and Kung Fu Panda 4 could be the panacea the studio desperately needs. While The Trolls: World Tour made just $48 million worldwide against a $110 million budget, that number has an asterisk because it was released just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. In any other situation, the film would probably have been a success. 2016 trolls made $346 million worldwide, and the triquel is likely to approach that number. It may even surpass it.

The Kung Fu Panda the franchise has grossed nearly $2 billion worldwide, averaging $600 million per film. Kung Fu Panda 4 is even more important now after the massive box office bomb that it was Ruby Gilman, Teenage Kraken. Fortunately, more than six years have passed Kung Fu Panda 3 debuted and there is huge demand for the fourth film. While DreamWorks develops the almost guaranteed box office hit that it is Shrek 5, Kung Fu Panda 4 has the best chance to immediately turn things around with its March 2024 release date.

Source: The Numbers

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