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DreamWorks' 'Croods' settles investor fears

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The opening weekend performance of the movie "The Croods" didn't scare off investors of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., but analysts said it would take a second weekend of results for company bulls to come out of their caves.

The computer animated movie about a family of cave-dwellers on their first adventure pulled down $44.7 million in domestic ticket sales in its first weekend of release. That was roughly on par with analysts' estimates from about $40 million to $45 million. Overseas, it made an additional $63 million in sales.

Whether it will ultimately prove to be profitable depends on how well it carries over the coming weeks. The movie's success is important for the company, which is coming off an $87 million write-off on its last film, "Rise of the Guardians."

B. Riley Caris & Co. analyst David Miller said in a research note Monday that it's too early to draw any conclusions. He noted that "Croods" opened similarly to 2010's "Megamind," which narrowly avoided a loss and ended up grossing about $320 million worldwide.

"It's not how you start that matters, it's how you finish," he wrote. "Experienced analysts will wait until one week from today before moving" their estimates on the film.

Janney analyst Tony Wible said the film will benefit from the coming school holiday and positive word of mouth. While he said the movie was "far from a major hit," he said it would restore credibility in the company, which was hurt from the loss on "Guardians."

DreamWorks shares ended the day down 12 cents at $18.86.