DreamWorks SKG's latest animated effort, Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron, made its European debut in Germany this week, its first major international territory, but can the 2D-film finally give the company an international triumph over rival studio, and animation giant, Disney'
Spirit, distributed internationally by UIP, is DreamWorks first animated title since winning the inaugural Best Animated Film Academy Award for last year's Shrek in March. Shrek is the company's biggest animated success however it could not match its domestic performance internationally.
The second highest grossing animated-film of all time in the US ($268) behind Disney's The Lion King ($313m) it is surprising that you won't find Shrek in the top 10 of animated films internationally (it is number 11).
Indeed the only non-Disney title to appear in this chart, and with Shrek the only non-Disney animated film to gross over $200m from international markets, is Japanese hit Spirited Away - which made its money almost exclusively in Japan.
While Spirited Away has yet to open in the US and is therefore an exception, only one of the top 10 international animated films did not outperform its domestic tally, Toy Story 2 ($240m) - missing by just $6m.
Chart leaders The Lion King ($459m), Aladdin ($285m), Monsters, Inc. ($267m to date) and Tarzan ($264m) all saw stronger performances abroad.
Other Disney titles to pass the international $200m mark, and which all hold top 10 positions, are The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (which grossed some $115m more from international markets than in its domestic run), Dinosaur, Beauty And The Beast and Pocahontas.
A decent opening of $1,051,357 (Euros 1,085,000) from 594 screens in Germany at the weekend is but the first step on a long road for Spirit. Disney still dominates the animation market internationally. Monster's, Inc. bettered Shrek, A Bug's Life ($195m) swatted Antz ($81m).
Of the five DreamWorks animated titles released before Spirit, UK claymation production Chicken Run (an Aardman production) and 2D effort The Prince Of Egypt ($119m and $117m international gross respectively) are the only two to beat their domestic grosses - a feat Disney clearly has no problem managing.
Shrek may have been a breakthrough in the US, but DreamWorks has yet to prove itself as true competition to the mouse house abroad.
This year Disney delivers Lilo & Stitch, which opened last weekend in France and the US, but reaches most territories later in the year. Already doing the rounds is 20th Century Fox's Ice Age with a $135m international gross to date.
Singapore, the only territory to receive Spirit prior to Germany, managed $181,598 in its first 12 days. The film opens wide in Australia on June 27, having screened for a week in Queensland, as well as New Zealand. The UK and South Korea receive it on July 5.
DreamWorks Animation: The Story So Far
Title(Year)/Int'l gross/Domestic US gross/Worldwide gross
The Prince Of Egypt (1998)/$117m/$101m/$218.5m
The Road To El Dorado (2000)/$15m/$51m/$66m
Chicken Run (2000)/$119m/$107m/$226m