Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Will Comcast Profit From "Riddick"?

By Tim Beyers - Sep 2, 2013 at 5:34PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Universal doubles down on a losing bet in new film.

For Vin Diesel's Riddick, which comes to box offices next weekend, monsters and mercs aren't a problem. But a boy band? That's a different story entirely.

Vin Diesel returns in the title role in Riddick. Source: Universal Pictures.

According to Google's Trends data, Riddick is about neck and neck with the forthcoming biopic One Direction: This Is Us from Sony's (SONY 1.22%) TriStar Pictures:

Source: Google.

Yet even that may be good news for Comcast's (CMCSA -2.73%) Universal Pictures, which lost big on the last film in the Riddick series: 2004's The Chronicles of Riddick. That film earned just $115.7 million worldwide on a $105 million production budget.

Hollywood economics says a film needs to generate double its production budget in box office ticket sales in order to be profitable. Universal budgeted just $60 million for Riddick, increasing the odds of Comcast earning back its investment this time around.

We've seen it happen before. Pitch Black, the first film in the series, earned $53 million on a $23 million budget, Box Office Mojo reports. Low-budget horror films -- Riddick is sci-fi horror -- tend to produce huge profits for studios such as Lions Gate (LGF-A -3.08%), which will distribute Riddick overseas. More than 41,000 surveyed at Rotten Tomatoes say they want to see the film.

Riddick opens on September 6 in U.S. theaters. Sources: YouTube, Universal Pictures.

Meanwhile, Comcast's profit picture is looking sharper thanks to Universal's surprising portfolio of 2013 theatrical winners. Box Office Mojo says the studio ranks second behind Time Warner (TWX) in U.S. grosses so far this year. Investors can thank Despicable Me 2 and another Diesel film, Fast & Furious 6.

Adding Riddick to the blockbuster list seems unlikely. But with a meager budget, a big-name actor in the title role, and plenty of positive buzz, it won't need to do much to spice up Comcast's profit party.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Google, Netflix, and Time Warner at the time of publication. He was also long January 2014 $50 Netflix call options. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Google and Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Comcast Corporation Stock Quote
Comcast Corporation
CMCSA
$39.26 (-2.73%) $-1.10
Sony Corporation Stock Quote
Sony Corporation
SONY
$87.16 (1.22%) $1.05
Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. Stock Quote
Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.
LGF-A
$10.39 (-3.08%) $0.33
Time Warner Inc. Stock Quote
Time Warner Inc.
TWX

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
402%
 
S&P 500 Returns
129%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 08/17/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.