Rock Dog

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  • Directed By: Ash Brannon
  • Written By: Ash Brannon, Kurt Voelker
  • Release Date: February 24, 2017
  • Domestic Distributor: Lionsgate (Summit Premiere)
  • Cast: Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, J.K. Simmons

Box Office Info:
Budget: $60 million Financed by: Huayi Brothers; Mandoo Pictures
Domestic Gross: $9,420,546 Overseas Gross: $11,410,000

The budget for Rock Dog was $60 million and it was majority financed by China-based Huayi Brothers and Mandoo Pictures and it had the largest price-tag for an animated pic backed from Chinese capital.  Rock Dog was intended for a global audience, unlike the majority of the animated fare from China which rarely receives theatrical distribution in most markets and it marked the first production to be outsourced to the US.  ReelFX (based in both Texas and California) was tapped to handle animation and Ash Brannon (Surf’s Up) was hired to direct.

Huayi Brothers handled distribution in China and it has been reported that Rock Dog was the victim of corporate duplicity from the largest theater chain Wanda.  Huayi hired one of Wanda’s top executives Jerry Ye and as retaliation, Wanda limited the amount of screens and prime showtimes allotted to Rock Dog.  It’s uncertain how much damage that actually caused the picture, if any, as another animated movie Big Fish & Begonia opened the same day and was a huge success.  Rock Dog completely flopped in its home release, with just $5.6 million at the box office.

Lionsgate acquired US rights and committed to a 2,000 theater release.  The mini-major released Rock Dog through their newly formed Summit Premiere label.  According to iSpotTV data, 5 days before the release of the movie, Lionsgate had spent $19.28 million on national TV ads, plus millions more in the days up to its opening.  After other traditional means of marketing and distribution expenses, the P&A spend was at least $30 million.  Rock Dog was dated for February 24 and bowed against Get Out and Collide.  Tracking was pointing to a soft $6 million opening, but the toon was dead on arrival with $3,704,749 in receipts — placing #11 for the weekend led by Get Out.  It declined 37.9% in its second frame to $2,300,973 and sank 55.2% in its third session to $1,031,963.  The US run closed with just $9,420,546.  Lionsgate would see returned about $5.1 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross.

The international cume for Rock Dog is reported at $11,410,000.


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  1. And yet this still got a sequel. Because EVERY movie now can’t just be left alone. It has to be in some sort of franchise, even the originals. (Case in point, Knives Out. One decent movie, and it immediately shills out as a franchise for Netflix.)

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