A Healthy Q4 for DreamWorks Animation

Only a few weeks before releasing its much-anticipated 3-D feature How to Train Your Dragon, DreamWorks Animation has posted its better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings. Although there was a 16% decline in profits (at nearly $44 million) and a 3% drop in revenue of $194 million during the last three months versus the same period a year ago, the numbers were higher than analysts had predicted.

The healthy performance of DreamWorks TV projects’NBC’s Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space and Merry Madagascar, and Nickelodeon’s hit show The Penguins of Madagascar‘which brought in about $50 million in revenue along with DVD sales of Merry Madagascar and Monsters vs. Aliens and other hits fro the studio’s rich toon library contributed to the healthy year-end picture.

2010 will mark the first year that DreamWorks will have three animated titles’all of them stereoscopic 3-D projects’in theaters: How to Train Your Dragon (March 26) is followed by Shrek Forever After (May 21) and Megamind (Nov. 5). Dragon will have to fight for 3-D theater space with Warner Bros.’ Clash of the Titans and Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. Nevertheless, studio CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg told Variety that he believes there will be enough 3D theaters in the multiplexes that exhibition will be able to accommodate multiple releases. “It’s not stopping us from getting played,” he said. “We have a one time event here in the spring. In less than six months, this logjam at the local movie theater is going to go away.”