Analysts Take Rat Attack Tack
The not-quite-delicious results for Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille have revived discussions among analysts about the wisdom of Disney's decision to acquire the animation company for $7.4 billion last year. Most analysts are sounding upbeat. The Motley Fool website commented that even though Ratatouille's $47.2-million opening represented "the softest opening for a Pixar film since 1998's A Bug's Life," it should nevertheless become a "huge hit" for Disney, likely tallying about $200 million. But CNN/Money predicted that the film will end up with about $189 million, "becoming the third consecutive Pixar release to under-perform its predecessor." Some analysts suggest that if there is worrying to do among investors it should come if the film fails to generate strong ticket sales over the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. (It faces tough competition from Paramount's Transformers.) Bear Stearns analyst Spencer Wang wrote to clients that the lower-than-expected results for the film's opening "is another sign of our long-held thesis that CG (computer-generated) animation has passed its peak given increased competitive output, which has saturated the market, fragmented market share, and may be driving up costs." Douglas McIntyre at the 24/7 Wall St. website concluded that it would "appear that Disney got a lousy deal. ... [Pixar/Apple chief Steve] Jobs was able to get more for the company than it was worth."
The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Media by Numbers (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date):
1. Ratatouille, Disney, $47,027,395, (New); 2. Live Free or Die Hard, 20th Century Fox, $33,369,559, 1 Wk. ($48,398,130 -- From Wednesday); 3. Evan Almighty, Universal, $15,143,945, 2 Wks. ($60,679,545); 4. 1408, MGM, $10,662,804, 2 Wks. ($40,442,058); 5. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, 20th Century Fox, $9,143,876, 3 Wks. ($114,944,684); 6. Knocked Up, Universal, $7,302,325, 5 Wks. ($122,291,755); 7. Ocean's Thirteen, Warner Bros., $6,085,959, 4 Wks. ($102,120,537); 8. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Disney, $4,960,368, 6 Wks. ($295,703,075); 9. Sicko, Lions Gate, $4,501,712, 2 Wks. ($4,616,786); 10. Evening, Focus Features, $3,501,971, (New).