Flushed Away

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  • Directed By: David Bowers, Sam Fell
  • Written By: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais, Christopher Lloyd, Joe Keenan, William Davies
  • Release Date: November 3, 2006
  • Domestic Distributor: Paramount
  • Cast: Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis

Box Office Info:
Budget: $149 million Financed by: DreamWorks Animation
Domestic Box Office: $64,665,672 Overseas Box Office: $113,454,338

Flushed Away was financed by DreamWorks Animation for $149 million and was released through their distribution deal with Paramount.  While in development, the animated feature was being tested and budgeted in two different ways — first was Aardman’s usual stop-motion puppet animation and the second was a full CG feature.  Due to the complexities of running water throughout the movie and clay puppets, the budget was increased to go all CG.

Flushed Away also marked the third collaboration between DreamWorks Animation and Aardman, which saw success with Chicken Run (2000) and landed an Oscar for Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005).  Despite pulling in a solid $192 million worldwide on Wallace & Gromit‘s $30 million budget, marketing costs were so expensive that DreamWorks took a $29 million loss on the picture.

In 2004 Paramount dated Flushed Away for November 3, 2006 and trouble began when Disney eventually dated another family movie The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause for the same weekend.  Paramount was contractually required to keep the release date after corporate deals were locked in with promotional tie-ins two years prior and both titles would cannibalize each other at the box office.  Also bowing that weekend was the barely wide release of Borat.

Flushed Away opened slightly behind Santa 3 with $18,814,323 — placing #3 for the weekend led by the surprise hit Borat.  The pic had a great second weekend hold, declining only 11.7% to $16,606,526 but then it sank 60.3% in its third frame when the animated Happy Feet opened.  Flushed Away closed its domestic run with a troubling $64,665,672.

The overseas cume was a soft $113.4 million, which was inline with most of Aarman’s previous stop-motion features that cost a fraction of this expensive CG toon.  A solid $22 million from the UK was the strongest market.  After an expensive worldwide ad spend, Flushed Away ended as one of the biggest flops on record with DreamWorks Animation taking a massive $109 million write down on the picture.  DreamWorks Animation and Aardman severed their relationship after the film posted the huge loss.

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