The only surprise is why this didn’t happen sooner.
Audiences are getting tired of computer-animated films, with few rising to any level of success. That’s partly because of the lack of quality in most offerings but also because all of them tend to look the same after a while, with talking animals dominating the genre. While in the past computer-animated flicks were almost guaranteed to be hits either at the box office or on DVD, that’s no longer the case. It’s simply a case of audience fatigue.
But it’s also a case of the same marketing campaign being run over and over again. Every poster features goofy looking animals. Every trailer shows them doing something behind the backs of the human beings. Every campaign is the same. The few that aren’t, like for Cars, are the ones that are successful. It’s not just because they have the backing of a studio powerhouse, it’s because the campaign made more of an effort to be original and connect with audiences. That’s an important factor that should not be overlooked.