Dreamworks Suffers Worst-Ever Box Office Performance In Animation Studio History

By Richard Nebens Updated:
Dreamworks Animation

Amidst heavy competition at the box office, Dreamworks Animation set a new low with the company's worst financial return in history.

Following record-breaking efforts with Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, the 10th-highest-grossing film of 2022, Dreamworks looked to replicate that success in 2023 with Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken.

Telling the story of a young awkward high school student who learns of her heritage as a warrior kraken queen, Dreamworks hoped to bring another winner for the new generation of viewers behind a relatable character in a new fantasy world.

Dreamworks Sets New Box Office Low

Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken

According to Box Office Mojo, Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken set a new record for Dreamworks Animation in terms of box office return.

Ruby Gillman ended its run on the big screen with only $41.9 million at the global box office - the lowest theatrical global haul for any Dreamworks Animation movie in history.

This falls just under 2021's Spirit Untamed, which only earned less than $1 million more at the box office with a $42.7 million haul.

Below are the 10 previous lowest-grossing movies in Dreamworks Animation history prior to Ruby Gillman's arrival on the big screen:

  1. Spirit Untamed (2021) - $42.7M
  2. The Road to El Dorado (2000) - $76.4M
  3. Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003) - $80.8M
  4. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002) - $122.6M
  5. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017) - $125.4M
  6. The Boss Baby 2: Family Business (2021) - $146.7M (Released day-and-date on Peacock paid tier)
  7. Antz (1998) - $171.8M
  8. Flushed Away (2006) - $178.3M
  9. Abominable (2019) - $190.3M
  10. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) - $194M

With a budget of about $70 million, Ruby Gillman's $41.9 box office haul came nearly $30 million short of breaking even in that regard, which doesn't even take its marketing campaign into account.

What's Next for Dreamworks After Historic Flop?

2023 actually turned out to be quite the year for animated movies, with The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse becoming two of the three top earners of the year along with Barbie.

For Dreamworks specifically, this may come as a low point with Ruby Gillman not living up to expectations. However, part of the struggle for this movie was that it faced such stiff competition. 

Debuting on the very same day as Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny and coming out mere weeks ahead of Barbie, Ruby Gillman faced heavy competition from the get-go, and it was unable to set itself apart from its competitors.

But looking at Dreamworks' upcoming slate of entries, which includes November's Trolls Band Together and 2024's Kung Fu Panda 4, the studio will look to recoup some of Ruby Gillman's losses with franchises fans already know and love.

Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken will be available for purchase on digital platforms on August 29 and on Blu-ray & DVD on September 26.

- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.