DreamWorks Ani shares drop 8%

3:24 PM PST 03/29/2010 by Paul Bond, AP

Analysts worried about 'Dragon's' 'unsettling' boxoffice bow

First, the good news: "How to Train Your Dragon" is getting mostly positive reviews, and it set a worldwide Imax record for the biggest opening weekend of an animated film.

Now, the bad news: Wall Street doesn't much care.

Shares of DreamWorks Animation sunk 8% on Tuesday to $39.34 after "Dragon" posted a $43.7 million overall domestic boxoffice opening and some analysts fired off negative reports to their clients.

Among the worries are that "Dragon" underperformed "Monsters vs. Aliens," which opened to $59.3 million domestically and ultimately brought it $382 million worldwide, not enough for DWA to greenlight a sequel.

Michael Pachter of Webush noted that "Dragon" underperformed "Monsters" even though "Dragon" opened on a lot more 3D screens: 2,178, or 54% of the total screens, compared with 1,149, or 28%.

Could it be that with "Avatar" and "Alice in Wonderland" audiences are tiring of 3D? Not quite, considering 68% of "Dragon's" gross came from 3D theaters.

"We believe that 'Dragon's' sales mix is yet another indication that 3D is the future of the movie industry," Pachter said.

That said, a 3D bottleneck could further hurt "Dragon's" prospects, what with Warner Bros. set to open "Clash of the Titans" on Friday.

Tony Wible of Janney Montgomery Scott told clients on Monday that "Dragon's" opening was "unsettling" and that the tally can be projected into $152 million domestic run, well short of his pre-opening estimate of $250 million.

Despite disappointing results from "Dragon," several analysts were predicting good things for DWA because "Shrek Forever After," set for May 21, and "Megamind," which bows Nov. 5, both look promising, and 3D screen counts are rising quickly.
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