Disney’s Strange World to Lose $100 Million: Why It Flopped at Box Office


Disney’s “Strange World” bombed at the box office over Thanksgiving, leaving the studio to clean up oceans, mountains, and terrains of red ink.

The animated film debuted dramatically behind expectations with $11.9 million in 4,174 North American theaters over the weekend and $18.6 million over the five-day holiday period. Before the projections were revised downwards, the movie was expected to make $30 million to $40 million between Wednesday and Sunday — and even those numbers wouldn’t have been spectacular to begin with.

The inaugural ticket sales for “Strange World” now register as one of Disney’s worst opening weekends in modern times, slightly ahead of the pandemic-era “West Side Story” ($10.5 million) release and significantly behind family films like “Encanto” ( $27.2 million over the traditional weekend and $40 million over the Thanksgiving extended holiday season) and “Lightyear” ($51 million).

“Normally, a Disney family movie is the big draw this time of year,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior analyst at Comscore. “It shows that we are still recovering and adapting to the constraints of the pandemic.”

Unless his business recovers dramatically in the coming weeks (and that seems unlikely given the film’s lackluster reviews, lackluster audience reception, and minimal buzz), sources estimate that “Strange World” will lose at least $100 million in its theatrical run . Even with proper attention given to Disney+ and home entertainment platforms, box office pundits suggest getting the big-budget film into the black will be tough. Given that “Strange World” cost $180 million to produce and tens of millions more in global marketing and distribution costs, the film needs to gross about $360 million to break even, sources say.

And remember: those levels were unattainable for “Lightyear” (which ended its theatrical run with $226 million worldwide) and “Encanto” (which ended its theatrical run with $256 million worldwide), despite those movies having bigger opening weekends. Rival studios believe “Strange World” will be lucky enough to hit $45 million by the end of its domestic run. By comparison, “Encanto” made $96 million in North America, while “Lightyear” made $118 million in the United States.

“This is a weak opening by Disney animation standards,” said David A. Gross, who heads the film consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “At a cost of $180 million, plus marketing costs, the movie will end up in the red, even with good side income.”

Overseas earnings may not offer much of a lifeline. “Strange World” similarly rejected at the international box office with $9.2 million from 43 markets. Like most Hollywood movies, due to geopolitical tensions, it won’t be set in China or Russia, two major international markets. In addition, Disney chose not to introduce “Strange World” to several smaller markets, including all of the Middle East, Malaysia and Indonesia, because the film features a gay character. Films with LGBTQ references have regularly been the target of censorship in those areas, and Disney was unwilling to remove parts of the film to meet their guidelines.

Overall, it was a weak Thanksgiving holiday for Hollywood, as every movie that opened (including “Devotion”) or expanded nationwide (in the case of “The Fabelmans” and “Bones and All”) crumbled at the box office. Still, it wasn’t entirely dire for Disney. The studio’s Marvel adventure “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” towered over the box office charts for the third weekend in a row, grossing $64 million in five days. So far, the superhero sequel has grossed $367 million in North America and a whopping $675 million worldwide.

“Strange World” continues a bleak streak for Disney’s animated offerings, long considered the gold standard. But the studio, which went against tradition by putting Pixar films like “Soul” and “Luca” directly on Disney+ during the pandemic, has failed to properly re-introduce that audience to theatrical releases. Some analysts believe the studio may have inadvertently conditioned families to watch new movies on the popular streaming service.

In any case, Disney has been messing around with pandemic-era offerings like “Lightyear,” one of the few Pixar films to lose money during its theatrical run, as well as “Encanto,” which only became a viral TikTok sensation when the musical fable landed on Disney+. It’s a particularly important business to Disney because it fuels the company’s consumer productions business in addition to streaming and theme parks.

It’s not just Disney that has struggled to succeed in the animation space during pandemic times. Even as COVID cases drop and normal life returns, families have remained frustratingly selective about what they’re willing to leave home to see. As a result, “Minions: The Rise of Gru” and “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” – both from established franchises – were just about the only kid-friendly movies to resonate with audiences in the past year. That’s a problem because movies aimed at young people, especially the animated variety, used to account for a significant portion of the year’s total box office revenue. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, a sequel to the “Shrek” universe, will be the medium’s next great test. Universal and DreamWorks will open the film on December 21.

Don Hall directed “Strange World,” starring a voice cast of Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Jaboukie Young-White and Gabrielle Union as a family of legendary explorers who embark on a treacherous journey to prevent a mysterious land from losing its vital energy source. .

Audiences, perhaps surprisingly, were harsher on the film compared to critics. “Strange World” received a lukewarm “B” CinemaScore from exit polls, as well as a 73% average from reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes. Variety lead critic Peter Debruge praised the film’s visuals, writing that “it’s both the characters and the setting that make this vibrant ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ style adventure film colorful and diverse in the best ways.” But he wasn’t sold on the adventure in question, adding that “Amazing as the people and places they explore may be, the relatively unimaginative story elevates this wonderful tone to second-rate status…instead of the pantheon of Disney classics.” to crack. .”

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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