DreamWorks’ New Movie: Disappointing Debut, $12.8M (18% Budget)

DreamWorks Animation, a studio known for its successful animated features, recently experienced a disheartening setback with the release of ‘Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken.’ This new film, which premiered opposite ‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ on June 30, 2023, stars Lana Condor as the titular character, a teenage girl who discovers her lineage as the heir to an underwater throne occupied by a line of kraken warrior queens. The film features an ensemble voice cast, including Toni Collette, Annie Murphy, Will Forte, Colman Domingo, Jaboukie Young-White, and Jane Fonda.

Unfortunately, the opening weekend for ‘Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken’ has been nothing short of catastrophic for DreamWorks Animation. The film debuted at the No. 6 spot in the domestic box office, bringing in a meager $5.2 million. This dismal performance marks the worst domestic opening weekend in DreamWorks Animation’s 28-year history. The film’s global performance isn’t much more promising, with a total gross of $12.8 million. Regrettably, this figure only covers a mere 18 percent of the movie’s substantial $70 million budget.

In the midst of this disappointing debut, ‘Ruby Gillman’ arrives at a time when American animation has seen a string of major successes. For instance, ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ recently crossed the $600 million mark worldwide, maintaining its position at No. 2 on the domestic charts a full month after its premiere. This achievement comes on the heels of ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie,’ which quickly rose to become the 17th highest-grossing movie of all time shortly after its April release.

Compared to these blockbuster titles, ‘Ruby Gillman’ lacks the built-in franchise interest. Nevertheless, the film boasts a cast of actors fresh off reasonably buzzworthy projects. Lana Condor, for instance, led all three installments of Netflix’s successful ‘To All the Boys’ film series, while Jane Fonda starred in both ’80 for Brady’ and ‘Book Club: The Next Chapter’ earlier in the year. Additionally, Annie Murphy and Jaboukie Young-White, both featured in the recent ‘Black Mirror’ season 6 episode “Joan is Awful,” further contribute to the film’s star-studded ensemble.

This setback with ‘Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken’ comes at the end of a recent hot streak for DreamWorks Animation, which included successful titles such as ‘The Bad Guys’ and ‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.’ The latter, in particular, garnered nearly $500 million worldwide. It’s challenging to pinpoint the exact combination of factors that contributed to the underwhelming performance of this new release, but fierce competition from ‘Spider-Verse’ and a lukewarm 65 percent Rotten Tomatoes score for ‘Ruby Gillman’ likely played a role in the disappointing results.

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