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COMPANY TOWN

Diminishing Returns

July 23, 1996|JENNIFER OLDHAM

Disney was unable to match the phenomenal success of "The Lion King" with "Pocahontas," and it now appears that "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" won't match "Pocahontas." A comparison of the studio's three most recent animated films:

5-Week Box Office

In millions:

'Lion King': $186.0

'Pocahontas': 111.6

'Hunchback': 84.4

Note: Five-week totals for "Lion King" and "Hunchback" are based on 37-day totals; "Pocahontas" is based on 35-day totals.

*

Total Box Office

In millions:

'Lion King': $751.0

'Pocahontas': 342.0

'Hunchback': 300.0

Note: Figures for 'Hunchback' are projected.

*

Home Video

In millions:

'Lion King': $500.0

'Pocahontas': 230.0

'Hunchback': 187.0

Note: Figures for 'Hunchback' are projected.

*

Consumer Products

In millions:

'Lion King': $225.0

'Pocahontas': 198.0

'Hunchback': 184.0

Note: Figures for 'Hunchback' are projected.

*

Total Earnings Estimates

In millions:

'Lion King': $1,050.0

'Pocahontas': 555.0

'Hunchback': 500.0

Notes: Earnings are analysts' estimates and include additional items, including direct-to-video income. "Hunchback" figures are projected.

Sources: Entertainment Data; Jill S. Krutick, Smith Barney Inc.; Times reports

Too Much?

Do audiences want this much animation? Hollywood hopes so, and studios have spent millions on the development of new animation departments.

* Twentieth Century Fox built a $100-million high-tech animation studio in Arizona last year. The company is hoping to produce movies for less than the $50 million or more a top-quality animated film usually costs. The studio's first effort is based on its 1956 movie "Anastasia."

* DreamWorks SKG's first animated film will be "The Prince of Egypt," based on the story of Moses. The studio, which is spending $150 million on an animation facility in Glendale, hopes to make critically acclaimed movies by sparing little expense to develop a high-quality look, story lines and Broadway-style music.

* This fall, Warner Bros., which moved into a new studio in Glendale last year, plans to link Chicago Bulls basketball superstar Michael Jordan with Bugs Bunny in "Space Jam," which will combine live action and animation.

* Paramount Pictures will release "Beavis & Butt-head" and "Rugrats," both based on hit series on its Nickelodeon channel.

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