Surf's Up

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  • Directed By: Ash Brannon, Chris Buck
  • Written By: Don Rhymer, Ash Brannon, Chris Buck, Christopher Jenkins
  • Release Date: June 8, 2007
  • Domestic Distributor: Sony
  • Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Jeff Bridges, Zooey Deschanel

Box Office Info:
Budget: $100 million Financed by: Sony
Domestic Gross: $58,867,694 Overseas Gross: $90,176,819

surf's up 2007
In May 2002, Sony announced the formation of Sony Pictures Animation and Surf’s Up would be one of three inaugural projects for the new division — the first feature would be Open Season, followed by Surf’s Up and then Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  Sony financed and set the budget at $100 million.  The picture was dated for June 8, 2007.

In addition to Sony investing into an expensive marketing blitz, the studio landed many corporate tie-ins valued at north of $100 million.  With Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Shrek the Third and Sony’s own Spider-Man 3 claiming most of the promotional tie-in market to themselves, Sony managed to put together a huge media promotional package for Surf’s Up that included — McDonald’s, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Baskin-Robbins, ConAgra Foods, Airheads candy, Old Navy, SeaWorld, the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Assn. and the Newspaper Association of America — yes kids, the Newspaper Association of America!

Surf’s Up opened into a crowded marketplace competing for family auds, with holdover fare Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Shrek the Third and Spider-Man 3 still pulling in auds.  It bowed against Ocean’s Thirteen and Hostel Part II.  Despite decent reviews and super saturated marketing, Surf’s Up came in below expectations with $17,640,249 — placing #4 for the weekend led by Ocean’s Thirteen.  Even with a solid A- cinemascore, the film fell 47.5% in its second weekend to $9,254,793 when the PG rated Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer entered the market.  The following weekend another family targeting pic opened, the PG rated Evan Almighty and the week after would be Ratatouille.  Surf’s Up closed its domestic run with a disappointing $58,867,694.

The film fared a bit better overseas with a $90.1 million cume, but it would not be enough to lift the soft domestic numbers into the black.  The worldwide total was $149 million, leaving Sony with about $82 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross — which would not even cover the global P&A spend.  In Sony’s quarterly report, the success of the theatrical release of Spider-Man 3 and the decent home video sales of Casino Royale and Stomp The Yard, were offset by the performance of Surf’s Up.

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