Doogal Dogged at Box Office

It was a slow opening weekend at the box office for Doogal, the latest independent animated feature released by The Weinstein Co. The comical fantasy about animal pals who save the world earned an estimated $3.6 million to debut at No. 8, well behind three-week holdover Curious George.

Based on the ’60s British children’s TV series The Magic Roundabout, Doogal stars Saturday Night Live‘s Keenan Thompson as the voice of a pooch who must find three magical diamonds before they fall into the hands of evil sorcerer Zeebad, voiced by Daily Show host Jon Stewart. Doogal is joined on his quest by friends Dylan (Jimmy Fallon), Brian (William H. Macy) and Ermintrude (Whoopi Goldberg).

Doogal‘s opening take is no doubt disappointing to The Weinstein Co., whose first animated release, Hoodwinked, recently opened to $16 million and went on to earned more than $54 million worldwide.

Despite getting Americanized by The Fairly OddParents creator Butch Hartman and the Hoodwinked team of Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards and Tony Leech, Brit import Doogal failed to draw family audiences away from Disney’s Eight Below, Sony’s The Pink Panther and Universal’s 2D-animated kid pic, Curious George.

Curious George earned an estimated $7 million over the weekend to claim the No. 5 spot in its third week. While it hasn’t been the most profitable toon in recent years, the monkey movie has taken in around $45 million and is doing better than Warner Bros.’ Harrison Ford thriller, Firewall.

It was another good week for men in drag as the $6 million Tyler Perry’s Media’s Family Reunion debuted to a whopping $30 million to grab the top spot. Eight Below posted a distant second with around $15.7, followed by The Pink Panther with an estimated $11.5 million. The 20th Century Fox spoof, Date Movie, came in at No. 4 in its second week with just north of $9 million.

The next animated feature on the Weinstein plate is Exodus Film Group’s 2007 CG comedy feature, Igor, about a hunchbacked lab assistant who has big dreams of becoming a scientist in his own right by winning top prize at the annual Evil Science Fair. The company has also acquired the rights to Escape from Planet Earth, a comedy feature pitch to be written by Tony Leech and Cory Edwards (Hoodwinked). Based on an original idea by Leech, the CG feature centers on neurotic alien Gary and a motley crew of intergalactic species held captive by U.S. government forces in Area 51.