DreamWorks looks to Stone Age for new hit with "The Croods"

Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:05am EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy and Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After mining the worlds of fairy tales, zoos, dragons and martial arts pandas, DreamWorks Animation is going back to the Stone Age with "The Croods," in the hope of finding a new box office hit.

"The Croods," out in U.S. movie theaters on Friday, is being watched closely by analysts after the weak performance of "Rise of the Guardians" last year, which led DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc to write down about $87 million in costs.

"The Croods" follows a family of cavemen as they fight for survival in a mysterious and visually stunning new world that is constantly changing under their feet.

Croods patriarch Grug (voiced by Nicolas Cage) has to come to terms with daughter Eep (Emma Stone) growing older and falling in love with the more evolved Guy (Ryan Reynolds), who poses the threat of change for stubborn Grug.

"It's not the meteors or lava or mammoths falling through cracks in the ground. It's his daughter changing in front of his eyes and leaving with a man that she sees eye-to-eye with, and that we saw as really resonating with people," said Kirk De Micco, who co-directed "The Croods" with Chris Sanders.

DreamWorks has enjoyed huge success with its "Shrek," "Madagascar," and "Kung Fu Panda" franchises.

However, financial losses from last year's "Guardians," a movie that united Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and other childhood icons, didn't draw in big crowds and contributed to a decision to lay off 350 employees, DreamWorks said last month.

Sanders joked that they felt "no pressure at all" ahead of the release of "The Croods," saying that DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg had been supportive.   Continued...

Cast members Ryan Reynolds (L) and Emma Stone arrive for the premiere of the film "The Croods" in New York, March 10, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri