Disney’s newest release “Strange World” has bombed so spectacularly at the box office that it is on track to lose $100 million — if not more — and some are wondering if executives planned that from the start.
According to a report from powerhouse entertainment outlet Variety, “Strange World” underperformed even the projected numbers that had already been revised downward — and did so in dramatic fashion.
Initial projections showed that Disney expected to take in $30-40 million over the long Thanksgiving holiday, which would not have been a huge opening but would have been much better than the $11.9 million made over the weekend — or the $18.9 million made through the five-day holiday break.
Those numbers land Disney’s newest offering solidly among the worst opening weekends in modern history. The 2021 musical “Encanto,” for example, brought in over $27 million over the weekend and $40 million over the long Thanksgiving weekend.
And if Variety’s assessment is accurate, the red ink “Strange World” is sinking into is only likely to get deeper.
“Normally this time of year, a Disney family film is the big draw,” Paul Dergarabedian, a senior Comscore analyst, explained. “It shows we’re still recovering and adapting to the constraints of the pandemic.”
But whether people are, as Dergarabedian suggested, still slow to get out in the numbers that they might have pre-pandemic or they simply were not interested in this particular offering, the end result is the same: the people aren’t flocking to see “Strange World.”
Variety’s estimate, based on the lack of buzz surrounding the film’s release — coupled with reviews that aren’t likely to bring more viewers in — is that “Strange World” will fall far short of the $360 million Disney needs to just break even.
Adjusted for inflation, Strange World was a bigger flop than Treasure Planet was 20 years ago.#disney #animation pic.twitter.com/5y33nugwwm
— Kneon (@Kneon) November 27, 2022
And with the movie’s poor box office performance already evident, some are beginning to speculate that executives expected it to fail.
“Saw Strange World and I’ll be damned, Disney Animation actually had a character that wasn’t just lip service for online articles but now I wonder if that is the reason for the weak marketing/merch for this film,” @Saberspark tweeted. “My theory: the execs want this film to go under the radar.”
Several of the comments responding to @saberspark made similar suggestions, observing that few trailers for “Strange World” had made it into other releases and questioning whether this film’s lackluster performance — along with pre-release backlash over an overtly gay teen character and the relatively poor showing made by Pixar’s “Lightyear” — might be used as an excuse to move away from LGBTQ themes in future content.
(Disclosure: The Daily Wire has announced plans for kids entertainment content.)