Wall Street Analyst: Family-friendly Films Faltering on DVD

Richard Greenfield of BTIG on why Tuesday's 'Shrek Forever After' DVD is just one release headed for underwhelming results.

Shrek Forever After, available for sale Tuesday as a standalone or as part of a set, is headed for underwhelming results, a Wall Street analyst was telling his clients on Monday.

Richard Greenfield of BTIG has been warning of softness in sales of family-friendly DVDs in general, but his most recent analysis focuses specifically on Tuesday's home video release from DreamWorks Animation.

"We are increasingly concerned with Shrek's DVD prospects given the weakness we are seeing across the DVD landscape, particularly for family titles," Greenfield wrote Monday.

Greenfield's thesis, laid out last month, was that there are still must-own titles but renting via streaming or DVD will suffice for the bulk of family friendly films. Redbox and Netflix only make the scenario even scarier for DVD sales.

And Shrek Forever After presents a unique opportunity for lackluster sales for additional reasons, including that it was a relative disappointment at the box office -- $238 million domestically compared to $323 million for Shrek the Third -- and retailers are downplaying its DVD release.

Greenfield's latest posting says, "Best Buy's weekend circular heavily promoted Inception, which is also being released tomorrow, with little focus on Shrek."

He says Amazon's focus is on Despicable Me, due Dec. 14, while Target's is on The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, due Tuesday.

Greenfield also laments that Shrek Forever After is also available to Netflix and Redbox the same day it goes on sale.

Greenfield's latest analysis also makes the case that Disney/Pixar is seeing "underwhelming" sales of Toy Story 3. Home video sales are "tracking above last year's Up but not by the amount we would have expected," he said.

And Megamind, due early next year, also "will face substantial headwinds," Greenfield said, given his estimate that it will generate only $153 million at the domestic box office, signficantly below DWA's $178 million average when Aardman movies are stripped out.

It seems the only family movie to escape negative comments from the analyst's latest missive was Universal's Despicable Me, which earned more domestically than Shrek Forever After even without the benefit of high-priced 3D tickets.

The movie "presents difficult competition" for Shrek Forever After, Greenfield said.