The film, which was distributed by Twenty-First Century Fox's
Fox studio, generated $36 million in ticket sales over the
five-day weekend, according to box office tracking service
Hollywood experts had predicted sales of $47 million, according
to the site Box Office Mojo.
Dreamworks recently explored combining with Softbank or Hasbro
following its latest flop, "Mr. Peabody & Sherman," earlier this
year, its third underperforming film in three years.
"We certainly underperformed our own tracking," said Chris
Aronson, Fox's president of domestic distribution, who said the
studio forecast ticket sales in the low-$40 million range. "But
we have a clear playing field ahead of us until we face the next
On Dec. 19, Sony opens the musical "Annie" and Fox releases
"Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb," both rated PG.
The weak performance of "Penguins" might be attributed to a
weaker than expected Thanksgiving box office, said Aronson, who
said the film registered strongly in surveys with younger
The film could pick up steam in the next few weeks as Disney's
animated hit "Big Hero 6" slows, said Rentrak senior media
analyst Paul Dergarabedian. Disney's film collected $26 million
in its fourth weekend in theaters, said Rentrak.
"Penguins" may also benefit from a strong foreign market for
U.S. films, Aronson said on Sunday. The film has totaled $61.8
million overseas so far, according to Rentrak.
Dreamworks recorded a $59.2 million impairment charge earlier
this year, primarily the result of a weaker than expected
performance by "Mr. Peabody & Sherman," the company said in its
It wrote down $86.9 million for "Rise of the Guardians" in 2012
and $13.5 million for "Turbo" last year.
In September Dreamworks unsuccessfully negotiated an acquisition
by Japan's Softbank and it briefly discussed a merger with toy
company Hasbro in early November, according to press reports.
A Dreamworks spokesman had no comment on "Penguins." Dreamworks
previously had refused to comment on the reported takeover
(Reporting by Ronald Grover; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)
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