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'Megamind' is minor overseas, making for weak worldwide box office total

January 2, 2011 |  2:04 pm

Megamind DreamWorks Animation has often relied on outsized foreign ticket sales for its movies that aren't hits at home. But "Megamind" is proving as unimpressive overseas as it has been domestically.

The latest 3-D release from the Glendale animation studio has over the last two months debuted in every major foreign market except South Korea and Japan and now has a tepid total international gross of $134.5 million.

Foreign ticket sales for "Megamind," a comedy about a supervillain turned good, will likely surpass its domestic gross of $144 million eventually but not by much.

That's in sharp contrast to last summer's "Shrek Forever After," which grossed $501 million overseas, more than double its domestic take. And foreign moviegoers added $277.3 million to the $218 million in domestic receipts for last March's "How to Train Your Dragon."

A total worldwide gross of about $300 million looks like the best-case scenario for "Megamind." That would make it one of the three worst-performing computer-animated movies from DreamWorks in the last decade, along with the flops "Bee Movie" and "Flushed Away."

Results have been less than impressive throughout Europe, where like many movies "Megamind" was hurt by snowstorms over the last few weeks, as well as in Latin America. It did perform well in Russia, however, grossing more than $22 million.

It's not yet clear why "Megamind" hasn't proved more popular internationally. One person familiar with foreign distribution who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about "Megamind" noted that its main characters were humans and aliens and that many animated movies that perform well overseas feature animals. A DreamWorks Animation spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

DreamWorks Animation typically spends more than $130 million to produce its movies, with roughly $150 million advanced by its distributor, Paramount Pictures, for worldwide advertising and prints. As such, the studio usually looks for substantially higher ticket sales than it is getting out of "Megamind."

-- Ben Fritz

Photo: A scene from "Megamind." Credit: DreamWorks Animation

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