Frankenweenie

Budget: $39 millionFinanced by: Disney
Domestic Gross: $35,291,068Domestic Distributor: Disney
Overseas Gross: $46,200,000
Directed by: Tim Burton
Starring:
Winona Ryder
(voice)
Produced by: Don Hahn

Frankenweenie box officeDisney footed the bill for the $39 million stop-motion animated Frankenweenie, based on Tim Burton’s 1984 short film of the same name.  About two months before Frankenweenie’s October 5 release date, Disney shutdown another stop-motion animated movie that was in production for a year.  Canceling that Henry Selick directed pic was one of the first decisions made by the newly appointed chairman of Walt Disney Studios, Alan Horn who replaced Rich Ross in June.  The canceled project resulted in a $50 million write-down and Disney backed away from a multi stop-motion finance arrangement with Selick.  After Frankenweenie, Alan Horn has focused the mouse house’s animation output primarily on CG toons.

Despite speculation that Frankenweenie might have had something to do with Horn’s decision to pull the plug on the Selick movie, Disney fully backed Tim Burton’s black & white pet project.  Frankenweenie was heavily marketed, including incorporating the movie into Halloween events in their theme parks, there were tons of Frankenweenie merchandise and Disney partnered with numerous corporations for additional advertising exposure — including Subway and Wonderful Pistachios.  It was also given a deluxe IMAX treatment.

It opened against Taken 2 and the wide expansion of Pitch Perfect and would see direct competition from the animated film Hotel Transylvania, which was released the weekend prior.  Frankenweenie came in far below expectations with $11,412,213 — placing #5 for the weekend led by Taken 2 and Hotel Transylvania.  The price gouging IMAX theaters accounted for 11% of its weak opening.  The film dipped a modest 38.2% in its second weekend to $7,054,334 and continued with modest weekly declines, but ended its run with a disappointing $35,291,068.  Disney would see returned about $19.3 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, far below their P&A expenses.  In a Disney fourth quarter revenue filing it was noted that theatrical income growth from the performance of The Avengers, was partially offset by the large marketing costs for Frankenweenie.  Disney released the movie overseas to a soft $46.2 million.

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