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Warner Movies Flop, but Its Videogames Soar

It is a story as unlikely as a boy who can fly: Hollywood’s biggest studio is in the midst of a prolonged slump at the box office at the same time it is racking up a high score in videogames.

The fairy tale reboot “Pan” bombed with a $15.5 million opening this weekend, likely landing it where most of Warner Bros.’ big-budget movies this year have: in the red. With a production budget of at least $150 million, “Pan” joins other high-profile Warner flops, including “Jupiter Ascending” and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” along with smaller duds such as “Entourage” and the action film “Run All Night.”

Two exceptions were January’s surprise blockbuster “American Sniper” and the solidly performing disaster flick “San Andreas.”

Despite releasing more movies than the other five major Hollywood studios, Warner is ranked No. 3 in global box office with $3.2 billion so far in 2015, and may fall to No. 4 before the year is out. The Time Warner Inc. TWX 0.12 % -owned studio has long spent more making and marketing its movies than competitors, in search of the highest results, and hasn’t finished a year lower than No. 2 in box-office rankings since 2006.

While the 92-year-old Warner is losing at the box office, however, its 11-year-old videogame division is beating established publishers like Electronic Arts Inc. EA 4.72 % and Activision Blizzard Inc. ATVI 1.59 % at their own game. The studio’s Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is ranked No. 1 in videogame sales, with a domestic market share of just over 20% through August, according to data from research firm NPD Group.

Other Hollywood studios have taken a stab at the videogame business, but none have stuck with it like Warner. After ranking...


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