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This Animated Movie Flop Is Getting A Huge Boost On Netflix

One of the biggest animated bombs from this decade is getting a second life on Netflix. Over the last few years, animated films have seen dwindling returns. Typically the closest thing to a surefire bet, major releases like Pixar's "Lightyear" and Disney's "Strange World" bombed at the box office. While Universal Pictures has seen highs in the form of Illumination's "Minions: The Rise of Gru" and "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," the studio's DreamWorks Animation had a notable flop last year: "Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken," which was one of the biggest box office bombs in 2023.

The film follows the titular character (voiced by Lana Condor) as she navigates her destiny to protect the ocean, become a powerful Kraken, and take on a nefarious mermaid (Annie Murphy). "Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken" debuted to relative obscurity in late June 2023, facing competition from Pixar's "Elemental." It grossed just $46 million worldwide against its $70 million budget. However, the animated film is reaching new heights on streaming, emerging as the fifth most-watched movie on Netflix globally from February 19 to February 25. Over that same period in the United States, it's the second-most watched film on Netflix.

Ruby Gillman is worth a watch for animation fans

"Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken" failed to make an impact during its theatrical run despite receiving mixed-to-average reviews from critics. Some reviews enthusiastically praised the picture. "One of the best family films of the year, 'Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken' has humor and heart, buoyant energy, witty and imaginative visuals, and never-less-than brilliant voice talent," wrote RogerEbert.com critic Neil Minow.

On the other hand, Trace Saveur of The Austin Chronicle gave a more mixed take, writing, "No one has a memorable personality [...] DreamWorks' house animation style is nice, with fun character designs and lots of elastic movement, but nothing ever pops." Audiences gave "Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken" a decent A- CinemaScore, and the DreamWorks offering also boasts an 81% viewer score on Rotten Tomatoes. It sounds like standard middle-of-the-road fare for animation fans, perfect to watch on a relaxing weekend evening. 

Many have noted that Universal failed to properly promote the picture, leading to a lack of audience awareness stunting its growth. As a new IP, "Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken" faced significant competition, including titles like "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny," "Elemental," and the fan-favorite "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse," one of the best animated films of 2023.