- Domestic weekend box office: Revolving around a (literal) existential crisis pitting the titular character against nemesis Rumpelstiltskin, Shrek Forever After, one of the year’s most eagerly awaited releases, has opened with sizable – yet more modest than expected – figures.
Shrek Forever After box office: Fourth installment in DreamWorks Animation’s blockbuster franchise opens at lower end of expectations
May 21–23 weekend box office: DreamWorks Animation’s blockbuster-in-the-making Shrek Forever After topped the North American (U.S. and Canada only) chart – though at the lower end of expectations. The fourth installment in the Shrek franchise grossed $70.8 million from 4,359 theaters.
Putting things a bit in perspective: Despite higher ticket prices (most recently, they went up across the board a couple of months ago) and 3D/IMAX surcharges, this $165 million production fared far worse than the two previous Shrek sequels: Shrek 2 opened with $108 million in May 2004; Shrek The Third with $121.6 million in May 2007.
Directed by Mike Mitchell, Shrek Forever After features the voices of Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Eddie Murphy, Jane Lynch, Jon Hamm, Walt Dohrn, Lake Bell, Mary Kay Place, John Cleese, Kathy Griffin, and veteran Oscar winner Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins, 1964) as Far Far Away’s Queen Lillian, first seen in Shrek 2 and then again in Shrek the Third.
The Shrek movies’ downward domestic curve
Update: Shrek Forever After ultimately collected $238.7 million domestically and $513.9 million internationally. Worldwide total: $752.6 million.
Budgeted at a reported $160 million, Shrek the Third grossed $322.7 million domestically and $490.6 million internationally. Worldwide total: $813.4 million.
Budgeted at a reported $150 million, Shrek 2 grossed $441.2 million domestically (it was the year’s biggest hit) and $487.5 million internationally. Worldwide total: $928.8 million.
Clearly, the Shrek movies’ upward curve in the international market wasn’t enough to compensate for the two sharp domestic downturns. Hence, worldwide revenues kept going markedly down while budgets were going (at least officially) modestly up.
Shrek Forever After turned out to be DreamWorks’ final Shrek feature (the 2011 release Puss in Boots was a spinoff), though there has been talk of a fifth installment.
Bollywood release reportedly makes North American box office history
Further down the domestic box office chart, also opening this past weekend were:
- Jorma Taccone’s action comedy MacGruber, which bombed with $4 million – at no. 6 on the chart – from 2,551 locations. In the cast: Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe, Val Kilmer, Maya Rudolph, and Powers Boothe.
- Anurag Basu’s romantic action thriller Kites, which, with a no-more-than-passable $959,000 from 208 sites still managed to reportedly become the first Bollywood release to land on North America’s Top Ten chart – at no. 10. In the cast: Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori.
Note: Regarding Kites’ “history-making” box office performance, the controversial Shah Rukh Khan star vehicle My Name Is Khan had a bigger debut earlier this year: $1.9 million – but at no. 13 on the U.S. and Canada chart.
‘History-making’ feat or no, Kites is apparently a commercial dud
Update: As a commenter pointed out (see further below), reports asserting that Kites earned an estimated $14 million worldwide on its opening weekend was likely off the mark.
As per boxofficeindia.com, Kites ended its global run with approximately $19 million; the same site has the film’s budget pegged at around $18 million. If these figures are accurate, Kites, regardless of its “history-making” label, was anything but a hit.
“Shrek Forever After Box Office” endnotes
Unless otherwise noted, “Shrek Forever After Box Office: Rumpelstiltskin Conflict Not Enough” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources (e.g., the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Deadline.com, etc.).
Comments about Shrek Forever After, MacGruber, Kites, and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).
Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, domestic/international sales/pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses may be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is fully – or even partially – accounted for).
Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take. However, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.
Shrek and Princess Fiona Shrek Forever After image: DreamWorks Animation.
“Shrek Forever After Box Office: Rumpelstiltskin Conflict Not Enough” last updated in October 2022.