DreamWorks Animation got some welcome news this week, courtesy of some dragons.
The Glendale studio's latest release, the well-reviewed "How to Train Your Dragon 2," passed the $500-million mark at the global box office, making it the highest-grossing animated movie so far this year, the studio said Friday.
Ticket sales for the sequel have surpassed the original 2010 movie, which generated $495 million in revenues, giving DreamWorks some relief after a rocky stretch at the box office that has unnerved investors.
The studio took write-downs on two previous movies, "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" and "Turbo."
"We have been incredibly proud of 'How to Train Your Dragon 2' from the moment we saw it and we're thrilled that it has been embraced around the world with such enthusiasm," said Chief Marketing Officer Dawn Taubin. "This film is not only an artistic and technical achievement for DreamWorks, but its strength at the global box office proves that audiences are embracing it as one of the most entertaining films of the year."
While domestic ticket sales of $170.6 million have been lower than expected, the film, which had a budget of about $145 million, has done a much stronger business overseas.
Through Thursday morning, "How to Train Your Dragon 2" has grossed $170.6 million domestically and $331.2 million in international markets, including China, where it debuted Thursday.
The movie, which was released June 13, has already done a brisk business in Britain, Russia, Brazil, Australia and France. "Dragon 2" is still yet to be released in Italy, where it opens this weekend.
"This is a tremendous result for such a deserving, critically acclaimed film," said Chris Aronson, president of domestic theatrical distribution at 20th Century Fox, which distributes DreamWorks movies. "We look forward to riding 'Dragon 2' to greater box office heights."