Sometimes all it takes is a lowly chameleon to change your dissed position.
This move would have never happened if it wasn't for the success of Gore Verbinski's Rango. It was Paramount's first in-house animated feature, faring surprisingly well at the box office earlier this year. Rango took in $123.2 million in domestic ticket sales and rang up nearly that much through overseas exhibitors.
The showing stacks up well to this year's other animated hits. News Corp.'s
Disney and DreamWorks Animation can't be too happy that Paramount is serious about competing for release dates with family-friendly fare. Shares of DreamWorks Animation even took a 3% hit on the news, since Paramount is under contract to be DreamWorks Animation's distribution through 2012.
It will be easy for DreamWorks Animation to find a new distributor, but it will no longer have the leverage to negotiate an extension on kind terms.
Theatrical animation has always been big business, but now the market is opening up beyond Disney and DreamWorks Animation. Paramount realized this during Rango's cinematic run, and now the popular feature will be out on DVD for a second run at audiences next week.
A chameleon's color may change, but Paramount's seeing only green right now.
Can there be too much theatrical animation? Share your thoughts in the 2-D comment box below.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a sucker for quality animation. Yes, he owns shares of Disney. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.