DreamWorks Ani's 4Q beats predictions

Katzenberg says company will have 'best year ever' in 2010

DreamWorks Animation is on the cusp of doing something no other movie studio in history has done: release three CG-animated features in a year. And CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg was crowing Tuesday that the company will have "its best year ever" in 2010.

DWA, in fact, already is on a roll. Not only is its stock pushing up against an all-time high, but it posted profit and earnings Tuesday that beat analyst predictions by a healthy margin.

Net income in the fourth quarter fell 16% to $43.6 million and revenue was down 3% to $194 million.

The better-than-expected numbers were spurred by a take of $50.4 million from a couple of holiday TV specials: "Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins From Outer Space" and "Merry Madagascar."

For the full year, DWA posted net income that grew 6% to $151 million on revenue that was up 12% to $725 million.

The power of the green ogre was on display again as the 2007 sequel "Shrek the Third" contributed $39 million in revenue in the fourth quarter, more than any other title DWA mentioned by name. "Bee Movie" from the same year was responsible for $2.3 million.

"Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" and "Kung Fu Panda," the company's 2008 releases, brought in $23 million and $18 million, respectively. The 2009 release "Monsters vs. Aliens" contributed $29 million.

Library and other titles brought in $33 million, including $10 million from the stage play "Shrek the Musical."

Due this year from DWA are "How to Train Your Dragon" on March 26, followed by "Shrek Forever After" on May 21 and "Megamind" on Nov. 5.

All are in 3D, and Katzenberg was emphatic that there will be plenty of screens to go around no matter how many 3D feature films the competition releases.

"The logjam is here today and, frankly, will be gone tomorrow," he said.

The first test is "Dragon," which will overlap to varying degrees with Disney's "Alice in Wonderland, Warner Bros.' "Clash of the Titans" and Fox's megaholdover "Avatar."

Speaking to analysts Tuesday, Katzenberg gave a shout-out to James Cameron, calling his latest creation "nothing short of inspirational" in terms of its 3D wizardry.

Katzenberg told The Hollywood Reporter that "Dragon" will play on 2,100 of the 3,800 domestic 3D screens and up to an additional 4,000 internationally.

"Nobody is going to be denied access to the marketplace," he said.
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