DreamWorks' "Turbo" Is Turning Into a Box Office Wreck

Move over, Disney Studios! DreamWorks Animation is showing everybody how it's done.

That is, if everyone wants to know how to fail miserably at the box office.

To be sure, if you thought the meager $29.2 million domestic opening weekend take achieved by Disney's The Lone Ranger was bad, DreamWorks' Turbo just limped through the finish line of its own dismal $21.3 million weekend debut.

Image source: DreamWorks.com

What's worse, considering the huge number of folks who've already seen Despicable Me 2 from Comcast's Universal Studios -- remember, DM2 single-handedly killedThe Lone Ranger by taking in an enormous $183.1 million domestically in its first five days, beating even the five-day animated movie record previously held by Disney Pixar's Toy Story 3 -- there's no reason younger audiences shouldn't have wanted to jump at the chance to watch another fun animated summer flick.

Then again, even though DM2 was released more than three weeks ago, it still managed to bring in another $24.9 million last weekend alone, making Turbo's performance that much more sad.

And the winner is ... horror?
So which movie took home the gold at last weekend's box office?

Look no further than The Conjuring from Time Warner's Warner Brothers Studios, a horror film that enticed moviegoers to spend more than $41.8 million in the U.S. last weekend, or more than double its $20 million production budget.

Image source: theconjuring.warnerbrothers.com (cropped for size).

Call me crazy, but something tells me this one didn't cannibalize sales from Turbo's target audience, either.

To its credit, I suppose Turbo's $135 million production budget does pale in comparison with the $215 million Disney spent on The Lone Ranger, so DreamWorks' mistake may not be nearly as expensive as the House of Mouse's stumble.

But remember, DreamWorks is no Disney, and its last box office failure with 2012's Rise of the Guardians, which took in $23.8 million in its first weekend, had a production budget of around $145 million.

For those of you keeping track, that film ended up ultimately resulting in $87 million in writedowns for the company, which it announced in its following quarterly report. Worse yet, those losses also forced DreamWorks to later lay off 350 employees, or around 15% of its entire workforce.

This time around, however, perhaps there's a chance the animation specialist might be able to fall back on the relative success of The Croods earlier this year, which has managed to gross over $582 million in ticket sales during its theatrical run so far.

In the end, however, it's a safe bet Turbo will cost DreamWorks a pretty penny when all is said and done, which is why the stock closed down nearly 5% on Monday.

In the meantime, you should also remember this battle goes far beyond the big screen, and the future of television begins now with an all-out $2.2 trillion media war that pits cable companies such as Cox, Comcast, and Time Warner against technology giants such as Apple, Google, and Netflix.

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The article DreamWorks' "Turbo" Is Turning Into a Box Office Wreck originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Steve Symington owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, DreamWorks Animation, Google, Netflix, and Walt Disney and owns shares of Apple, Google, Netflix, and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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