Analyst predicts major writedown for Dreamworks as “Turbo” fights for traction

Leave a comment

The IndyCar-centric animated flick “Turbo” has been well-received by moviegoers (it’s received an A grade from Cinemascore) and has escaped major scorn from critics (it’s averaging 64 percent on prominent review site Rotten Tomatoes). But according to Bloomberg News, its so-so start at the box office has caused an analyst to predict as much as a $50 million writedown for creator Dreamworks Animation.

The film, which focuses on a garden snail’s journey toward victory at the Indianapolis 500, came up third in its opening weekend as it found stiff competition against low-budget horror movie “The Conjuring” and fellow CGI ‘toon “Despicable Me 2.”

“Turbo” only netted $21.5 million that weekend ($31 million in its first five days), which has caused James Marsh, an analyst with New York-based Piper Jaffray, to say that DWA’s latest offering may not be able to cross the $100 million mark in North America – a prediction that had an adverse affect on the company’s shares earlier this week.

“While reviews have been positive for the film and could help build word of mouth, at this stage we think it will be lucky to hit $100 million in the current competitive environment,” Marsh wrote in a research note according to Bloomberg.

This weekend may be critical for “Turbo” to prove it can do well throughout the dog days of summer. That’s because yet another challenger for your family’s entertainment dollar – Sony’s “The Smurfs 2” – will be released this coming Wednesday, joining the aforementioned “Turbo” and “Despicable Me 2,” as well as Disney/Pixar’s “Monsters University.” reports that up to yesterday, “Turbo” had taken in $42.4 million overall.

It bears noting that the film has yet to be released in key markets such as Europe and China. Marsh also said that DWA could still dodge a big writedown thanks to merchandising and its deal with distributor 20th Century Fox, which, according to Bloomberg, allows DWA to keep its rights to domestic TV money and lowers the cost of digital distribution rights.

DWA plans to continue the “Turbo” story later this year on streaming service Netflix with animated series “Turbo: F.A.S.T.”

Marco Andretti to drive throwback scheme to honor 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario’s last win

Photo courtesy Andretti-Herta Autosport
Leave a comment

Marco Andretti wanted to do something really special to honor the 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario Andretti’s final Indy car win in 1993 at Phoenix International Raceway (now known as ISM Raceway).

So the third-generation Andretti, along with his team, Andretti-Herta Autosport, came up with a plan and design that will take longtime race fans back in time when it appears early next month for the Phoenix Grand Prix.

Marco Andretti’s No. 98 Oberto Beef Jerky Circle K/Curb Honda will be decked out in the colors of the car his grandfather won his last race on the one-mile short track 25 years ago.

“When the idea of a throwback livery celebrating my grandfather’s final win was thrown around, Oberto was ready to get to the drawing board,” Marco Andretti said in a media release. “The black, white and red car resembles many of my family’s race cars and was a big part of my life growing up.

“It’s really cool to be able to add one of my cars to that family legacy.”

The car is a virtual double of the legendary Newman-Haas Racing and Texaco/Havoline-sponsored car Mario drove on that celebratory day in the Valley of the Sun 2 ½ decades ago.

Various events and ceremonies during the April 6-7 race weekend will honor the senior Andretti. That includes several of his former competitors who will be on hand to celebrate with Mario, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Rahal, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy, Arie Luyendyk, and of course, son Michael Andretti and grandson Marco Andretti.

Check out what happened on that day 25 years ago:

Follow @JerryBonkowski