The “Toy Story 3” numbers are better than they look. Initial estimates are that the Pixar movie, distributed by Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS), brought in $109 million in box office receipts. That does not include money that came in from its international release which some guesses put as high as $50 million.
“Toy Story” reportedly only cost $75 million to make. There are additional marketing expenses, but the entire cost to launch the film is likely to be under $100 million.
The “Toy Story” franchise is one of a modest number of “dual franchise” films. Sales of the action figures and other brand items could come close to matching the income from box office receipts. Let’s not forget that the movie will eventually come out on DVD and VOD.
All of those figures need to be compared with what the “big bang” movies cost to make. The expenses for the last “Transformer” film were $150 million before marketing costs. Fortunately, the movie did well. But very few movies are in the same league as “Toy Story” when it comes to margins. More animated films are being released than ever, or its seems that way with all the “Shrek” and “Up” movies. That’s not surprising given that people are looking to escape the dreary economy and Hollywood will gladly give the people what they want.
Douglas A. McIntyre
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