Coraline had a $16.3 million US domestic box office for its opening weekend. Not a block buster, but not bad, either.
If you apply a 'standard' multiplier of 3.5 (opening weekend x 3.5) they're projected to bring in about $55-60 million before the film leaves US cinemas. The film reportedly cost $60 million to make. Anytime a film's total domestic box office covers its production costs you are in a great position. Add in international box office and DVD sales and any merchandizing and things add up nicely. While certainly not Shrek-like profits, this is a solid win for Laika. They have gained enough of a toe-hold as an animated film studio to warrant a second film. Too bad their sophomore effort got scuttled, but I expect with the encouraging results for Coraline that they'll redouble their efforts to get film #2 (whatever it may be) up and running. This is a good thing. The animated film marketplace needs a studio that is willing to make films like Coraline. And I hope that Framestore in the UK can also keep in the game and make more films. Critics raise valid points regarding the lost opportunities and narrative stumbles of both Coraline and The Tale of Despereaux, but those stumbles endear the films to me. I'm always partial to value the journey over the destination. I far prefer the early unsure efforts like Disney's Dumbo & Pinnocchio over the polished and formulaic films that followed. It's more inspiring to see folks striving to find something than it is to see someone try to recapture and repeat a previous success over and over again. May there always be new studios trying different things, stumbling their way to find their own voice in the wilderness. They may not produce perfection, but then who ever said perfection was a sensible goal anyhow?