Disney and DreamWorks Struggle to Reach Box Office Milestones

Disney (NYSE: DIS ) and DreamWorks Animation (NYSE: DWA ) are on the cusp of box office gold, but their films may be too old to achieve a new milestone. Wreck-It Ralph, the Disney animated epic that is frequently referred to as "Toy Story for video games," has earned $177 million domestically since it was released in November.

It earned an additional $1.85 million last weekend -- two percent more than it earned the weekend before Christmas -- giving hope to Disney as its theater count begins to dwindle.

On December 21, Wreck-It Ralph was still playing on more than 1,400 screens nationwide. On December 28 that number dropped to 913 .

During its opening weekend in early November, Wreck-It Ralph ranked number-one at the box office, earning nearly $50 million domestically. The film performed well during its second weekend but fell to second place after going up against the latest James Bond flick, Skyfall.

Wreck-It Ralph dropped to fourth place in its third weekend when another fall blockbuster, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, was released.

Rise of the Guardians, the DreamWorks Animation thrill-ride that was expected to pose a significant threat to Twilight and Skyfall, was largely considered to be a flop at the box office. During its five-day opening weekend, the film earned a paltry $32 million .

That was not enough to ward off the competition. Consequently, Rise of the Guardians opened in fourth place.

After that, something unusual began to happen. Rise of the Guardians actually managed to rise to third place during its second weekend at the box office. The quirky film rose to second place during its third and fourth weekends.

Now the film has grossed more than $94 million domestically. As of December 28, it was still playing on more than 2,000 screens.

Still, with only $4.8 million earned last weekend, Rise of the Guardians is not guaranteed to reach $100 million before it ends its run at the box office. The signs are encouraging though; the film earned another $700,000 on Thursday alone.

Wreck-It Ralph, which earned its first $100 million several weeks ago, is now struggling to hit the $200 million mark that was achieved by Disney's last animated hit -- Tangled.

Unfortunately, with less than $2 million earned last weekend and only $330,000 pulled in on Thursday, Wreck-It Ralph may be unable to wreck its way to a new milestone.

Follow me @LouisBedigianBZ

(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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