Study: Animated movie projects double their money

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Shrek 2

Shrek 2

The 101 ani­mated films released from 2002 through 2011 more than dou­bled their invest­ment, with aver­age rev­enues run­ning 108.4% higher than costs.

That’s the con­clu­sion of a study by busi­ness researcher SNL Finan­cial, which found that ani­ma­tion has been the most prof­itable genre among the 1,444 films released in the past decade.

In the ani­ma­tion cat­e­gory, Dream­Works Animation’s Shrek 2 was the win­ner, with a 462% return on its investment.

Among all films, the best invest­ments came from ani­mated movies bud­geted at $90 mil­lion to $100 mil­lion. The five films in that cat­e­gory had a 292% margin.

SNL Kagan con­sid­ers a film defin­i­titely prof­itable if esti­mated rev­enues from all sources exceed costs by at least 75%. Ana­lysts are unable to assess stu­dio expen­di­tures on such items as neg­a­tives, mar­ket­ing and DVD repro­duc­tion. The research firm believes that films with mar­gins under 40% prob­a­bly lost money.

In the past decade, aver­age world­wide rev­enues per film were $216.6 mil­lion on costs of $133.3 mil­lion, prompt­ing a 63% margin.

The sec­ond most suc­cess­ful genre — after ani­ma­tion — was science-fiction/fantasy. It was a close race, with the 71 films get­ting a profit mar­gin of 108.1%. Fox’s Avatar was the most suc­cess­ful, with rev­enues exceed­ing costs by 554%.

The 84 fam­ily films released over the decade were prof­itable, mak­ing 99% more than costs. Warner Bros.’ Harry Pot­ter And The Deathly Hal­lows Part 2 was the most suc­cess­ful, with a 444% margin.

Hor­ror, thriller and West­ern films were, on aver­age, the least suc­cess­ful. Rev­enues ran only 33% or less ahead of costs.

Worst-off finan­cially were two West­erns bud­geted at $50 mil­lion or less. Their costs exceeded rev­enues by 80%.

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About Ethan Minovitz

A longtime contributor top BCDB, Ethan has become our resident research expert. Turned loose inside a database, there is nothing Ethan cannot find. Resident of the Great Northwest, Ethan is fiercely proud of his native Canada. Ethan is a professional researcher in his real life in Vancouver, BC. Ethan would love to hear from you- send a note here.

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