Quest for Camelot
- Directed By: Frederik Du Chau
- Written By: Kirk De Micco, William Schifrin, Jacqueline Feather, David Seidler
- Release Date: May 15, 1998
- Domestic Distributor: Warner Bros
- Cast: Jessalyn Gilsig, Andrea Corr, Cary Elwes
Box Office Info:
|Budget: $80 million||Financed by: Warner Bros|
|Domestic Box Office: $22,510,798||Overseas Box Office: $15,400,000|
In 1993 Warner Bros began to invest in a Warner Bros. Feature Animation division to compete with Disney’s stranglehold on the market. In May 1995, WB Feature Animation announced that Quest for Camelot would be the first project from its new animation house and despite being riddled with script problems, it was rushed into production in fall 1995. Animation was quickly halted and most of the animation staff was reassigned to the production on Space Jam — which despite being an animation/live action hybrid , it became the first feature to emerge from WB Feature Animation. Original Quest For Camelot director Bill Kroyer was then replaced with Frederik Du Chau and the script was completely reworked. The original November 1997 release date was pushed back to May 15, 1998 to accommodate the revamping of the story.
Space Jam pulled in a strong $230.4M worldwide and would mark the only box office success for Warner Bros. Feature Animation. The budget for The Quest For Camelot was $80 million and it lost WB north of $40M. After its poor gross, the budget was reduced on their next project The Iron Giant. If the dreadful performance and critical reception of Quest For Camelot produced anything positive, it’s that it was such a micromanaged, humiliating failure for WB that they gave more freedom to Brad Bird to helm his fantastic The Iron Giant — which also died at the box office. Then came the disaster Osmosis Jones and another live-action/animation hybrid Looney Tunes: Back In Action was the final deathblow to the department in 2003.
Warner Bros heavily marketed their expensive Quest For Camelot and landed additional exposure from dozens of corporate tie-ins who spent tens of millions shilling for this movie. Promotions came from Wendy’s, Tyson Chicken, Kraft Foods, Frito-Lay and Act II Popcorn. There were print ads on 200 million of Kodak’s photo processing envelopes. Hasbro launched a toy line and Scholastic Books also partnered. Armitron launched a line of children’s digital watches; S. Goldberg had children’s footwear and slippers; Fruit of the Loom had boys and girls underwear; and The Bibb Company had bedding and sheets.
Quest For Camelot bowed against The Horse Whisperer and received mostly poor reviews. It was dead on arrival with $6,041,602 — placing #3 for the weekend led by holdover Deep Impact. The toon had a 4.4% uptick in business over the Memorial Day frame to $6,309,793 but then sank 63% in its third session to $2,356,063. The domestic run closed with a terrible $22,510,798.
Quest For Camelot pulled in just $15.4M overseas. The worldwide total was $37.9M and WB would see returned about $20.8M after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which leaves much of the P&A expenses in the red and the budget untouched by the theatrical receipts.