DreamWorks’ latest movie on track for box office failure

Shrek and Donkey in 'Shrek'

DreamWorks Animation is navigating a peculiar trajectory this year, marked by a mix of highs and lows. The release of ‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ towards the end of the previous year garnered widespread acclaim, particularly for its innovative animation style inspired by ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ (2018). The much-anticipated announcement of ‘Shrek 5’ fueled enthusiasm among fans, positioning DreamWorks as a potential contender against industry giant Disney. Furthermore, the revelation of a live-action adaptation of ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ stirred a range of reactions, though it’s the studio’s most recent animated venture that seems to have disrupted the positive momentum.

Scheduled for release at the end of June, ‘Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken’ ventures into the story of Ruby Gillman as she unravels her Kraken ancestry and grapples for control over her newfound powers. Despite the imminent release, the film has maintained an unexpectedly low profile in its marketing efforts. Notably, some keen-eyed fans have observed a conspicuous emphasis on Ruby’s rival, drawing comparisons to Disney’s iconic Ariel.

As the film inches closer to its debut, industry observers have pointed out the potential consequences of its minimal marketing strategy. According to reports, the current projections for ‘Ruby Gillman’ indicate an anticipated opening box office figure of around $8 million. If this holds true, it could position the film as the second-lowest opening weekend for a DreamWorks production, trailing just behind ‘Spirit Untamed’ (2021).

shrek and donkey confused

Box office predictions, however, can be subject to fluctuations, as demonstrated by past instances like ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,’ ‘The Little Mermaid,’ and ‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts,’ which exceeded initial expectations. Nevertheless, ‘Ruby Gillman’ currently represents the lowest projected opening for 2023, a situation exacerbated by the film’s notably subdued marketing campaign.

In response to a tweet by Matt Belloni, host of The Ringer, disclosing the projected box office figures, social media erupted with inquiries about the film. Some comments highlighted the shifting dynamics of the film industry, where non-superhero and non-sequel films often struggle to generate buzz in the face of the prevailing marketing dominance of major franchises. The situation echoes a parallel challenge faced by Pixar’s ‘Elemental,’ another animated film set for release in the same timeframe, also grappling with a perceived lack of promotional visibility.

Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots in 'Puss in Boots: The Last Wish' (2022)

The evolving landscape of film promotion, coupled with changing audience preferences, raises questions about the dynamics shaping the success or challenges faced by original animated films like ‘Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken.’ As the industry continues to evolve, the marketing strategies and reception of such films become integral components in determining their box office fortunes.

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