Inside Disney’s year of box office flops


2023 marked Disney’s 100th anniversary of making movie magic.

It also marked a disastrous year at the box office. 

Out of eight major theatrical releases from Disney this year, seven of them significantly underperformed with audiences not just in the U.S. but overseas as well. 

A look back at the rough year for the House of Mouse:

Superhero slump

One of the most popular film franchises in the 21st century has been the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ever since 2008’s “Iron Man,” Disney’s catalog of superheroes and the stars that play them drove tens of millions of Americans into theaters. That wasn’t the case with two out of the three Marvel flicks released in 2023.

The first was in February with “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.” Despite an all-star cast including Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer and Bill Murray, the $200 million-priced film earned only $215 million domestically and $476 million worldwide, far short of the $600 million it needed to break even on its theatrical run, according to Variety. That’s less than the $519 million worldwide earnings from the first “Ant-Man” film in 2015 and the $623 million the second installment earned in 2018 (not adjusted for inflation). 

The Marvels
“The Marvels” is the MCU’s first major box-office flop

The other was November’s release of “The Marvels.”

Its 2019 predecessor “Captain Marvel” starring Brie Larson opened domestically north of $153 million and went on to earn $427 million and a whopping $1.1 billion worldwide.

“The Marvels,” however, opened to just $46 million and may not even reach $100 million domestically (its total gross so far is less than $90 million domestically and roughly $200 million worldwide), making it the lowest-grossing Marvel film in the entire franchise and putting it in box office disaster territory, given its reported $274 million budget.

Disney’s only sweet spot in all of 2023 was the May release of “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3,” starring Chris Pratt, which earned a sizable $359 million domestically and a strong $845 million worldwide, making it the fourth highest-grossing film of 2023 and definitely recouping its budget cost of $250 million.

"Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny" hits theaters on Friday, June 30.
“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” hit theaters on June 30. AP

Remakes and reboot rejection

Moviegoers showed signs of being tired of recycled material from Hollywood. Disney had a lot riding on its live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid” starring Halle Bailey released in May. It earned a respectable $297 million domestically but greatly fell below expectations internationally, earning just $267 million overseas. The film had a $250 million budget.  Compare that to the 2019 live-action release of “The Lion King,” which grossed a whopping $1.6 billion worldwide, more than a billion of that came from overseas (that remake had a $260 million budget). 

The next month, Disney released “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” starring 81-year-old Harrison Ford. It grossed just $174 million domestically and less than $400 million worldwide, making it impossible for the studio to recoup its budget of nearly $300 million (doesn’t include the marketing costs). Meanwhile, 2008’s “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” which is widely considered the worst Indiana Jones film of the franchise, made over $300 million domestically and nearly $800 million worldwide with a $185 million budget. 

Disney closed out the summer with its reboot of “Haunted Mansion,” making a dismal $68 million domestically and $117 million worldwide. The $150 million-budgeed remake starred Rosario Dawson, Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito, Tiffany Haddish, Jamie Lee Curtis and Jared Leto. Disney’s 2003 predecessor starring Eddie Murphy, which was also considered a major disappointment, still grossed $182 million worldwide with a $90 million budget.

King Magnifico (Chris Pine) has he ability to grant his subject's wishes — but he secretly has a sinister plan. but he
“Wish” has only grossed roughly $50 million domestically and just over $125 million worldwide. Disney

Nothing like the animated classics

Disney, the studio that created animated classics like “Snow White,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Toy Story,” struggled with its latest cartoon features. In June, Pixar’s $200 million-priced “Elemental” reached just $154 million domestically and was shy of reaching $500 million worldwide. That pales in comparison to the 2015 release of “Inside Out,” which made $357 million domestically and nearly $860 million worldwide with a $175 million budget. 

Disney disputed the idea that “Elemental” was a flop, putting out a statement on August 7, saying, “The film directed by Peter Sohn crossed the $400 million mark at the global box office last week. Of that total, it’s made $148 million domestically. That’s about five times its domestic opening weekend haul, which is a rare accomplishment in a theatrical world that sees most moviegoers buy a ticket the opening weekend.” 

Finally came the pre-Thanksgiving release of “Wish,” which Disney billed as a film “a century in the making” to commemorate the studio’s 100th anniversary. Sadly for Disney, it was only wishful thinking as “Wish” has only grossed roughly $50 million domestically and just over $125 million worldwide, likely to face major losses from its reported $200 million budget. Compare that to Disney’s pre-Thanksgiving release of “Encanto” in 2021, which made over $250 million worldwide amid the box office recovery from COVID. 

Disney’s box office calendar headed into 2024 remains in flux due to the lengthy actors and writers strikes that paralyzed Hollywood for much of this year. The studio currently has Pixar’s “Inside Out 2” and Marvel’s “Deadpool 3” slated for next summer but its delay of the “Snow White” live-action remake (which was originally supposed to be released in March 2024, now slated for March 2025) following intense backlash is perhaps a bad omen for the House of Mouse. 

Source link

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *