The Ant Bully

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    [Total: 8 Average: 3.5]
  • Directed By: John A. Davis
  • Written By: John A. Davis
  • Release Date: July 28, 2006
  • Domestic Distributor: Warner Bros
  • Cast: Julia Roberts, Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep

Box Office Info:
Budget: $50 millionFinanced by: Warner Bros; Legendary
Domestic Gross: $28,142,535Overseas Gross: $27,038,594


The Ant Bully began development in April 2002 at the Tom Hanks co-founded production house Playtone Company.  Universal was set to move forward with the project, but Warner Bros landed The Ant Bully after Playtone had successfully setup another CGI picture at WB The Polar Express (2004).  Warner Bros and Legendary financed the toon for $50 million.  The animation house DNA Productions handled responsibilities for The Ant Bully, which was their second feature film after Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001).  After The Ant Bully bombed, DNA Productions shuttered.  The $50 million toon was reported to end as a $40 million write-down for WB after the pricey P&A spend.

The Ant Bully was dated for the prime summer frame on July 28, 2006 and along with the marketing blitz, the studio partnered with Burger King and Jelly Belly for tie-ins.  Jelly Belly launched “Ant Bully” appropriate flavors like ‘caterpillar’ and ‘lawn clippings.’  We were hoping for ‘glyphosate’ or ‘Roundup’ flavored jelly beans.  Despite the high exposure and a strong IMAX push, The Ant Bully was released into theaters amidst a saturated market full of animated fare — Cars, Over the Hedge, Monster House (opened the previous weekend) and Barnyard was set to open the following weekend.  Tracking was pointing to an opening near $20 million.

Reviews were mixed to lukewarm and it bowed against Miami Vice and John Tucker Must Die.  The Ant Bully tanked with $8,432,465 — placing #5 for the weekend led by Miami Vice.  This was the third summer box office casualty for Warner Bros, which saw Lady In The Water open poorly the week prior and Poseidon bomb in May.  Unsurprisingly, with the glut of animated features in release, The Ant Bully had weak legs and sank 53.8% in its second frame to $3,892,443 and declined 51.9% in its third session to $1,872,420.  The domestic run closed with a poor $28,142,535.

Warner Bros released the movie overseas where it flopped with just $27 million.  A terrible $3.9 million from the UK posted the strongest overseas market.  The Ant Bully‘s worldwide total was $55.1 million, leaving WB with about $30.3 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross — which would not even cover the P&A costs.

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