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

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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.”

BoxOfficeMojo.com 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.”

F1 2017 driver review: Carlos Sainz Jr.

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Carlos Sainz Jr.

Teams: Scuderia Toro Rosso (1-16), Renault (17-20)
Car No.: 33
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P4 (Singapore)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 54
Championship Position: 9th

Carlos Sainz Jr. has always been compared to Max Verstappen given their relative rise and stint together at Toro Rosso, but the Spaniard began to forge his own impressive path through 2017, securing himself a works drive with Renault in the process.

Alongside the struggling Daniil Kvyat for much of the season, Sainz led Toro Rosso’s charge, scoring 48 of its 53 points with a string of impressive drives. His headline moment came in Singapore when he matched Verstappen’s best result in Toro Rosso colors by finishing fourth, capitalizing on the start-line crash and the wet weather with a strong display.

Sainz’s displays led to a call from Renault, who announced just two days before his star display in Singapore he would be joining up for 2018 on loan from Red Bull. However, the deal was accelerated after a deal was brokered to secure Jolyon Palmer’s departure, allowing Sainz to join up from the United States GP onwards.

Sainz made an immediate impression, completing a perfect race en route to seventh on debut for Renault to secure six points that would prove crucial in the final constructors’ championship standings as the French team beat Toro Rosso to P6 in the standings at the last race of the year.

Red Bull retains an option on Sainz’s future beyond 2018, making him a candidate for a seat with its senior team should Daniel Ricciardo opt to leave. Failing that, Renault could offer Sainz the platform he needs to continue his rapid rise in F1 and establish himself at the front of the pack for many years to come.

Season High: Finishing fourth in Singapore after dodging the start-line drama.

Season Low: Crashing out in his final Toro Rosso appearance on the first lap at Suzuka.