Woke = Broke: America Says ‘No Thanks’ To Disney Cartoon With Gay Teenage Hero

Broke/Getty Images
Broke/Getty Images

Remember when Disney just put out delightful movies full of fantastical adventures that everyone could enjoy?

Pepperidge Farm remembers.

Here’s how one website described a core part of Disney’s new film, “Strange World.”

“Midway through the movie, Ethan and his grandfather share a quiet moment amid a mission to save their world,” Mashable wrote. “The old man asks if the boy has a sweetheart. … I readied myself for the question that heteronormative media has trained me to expect: ‘What’s her name?’ But instead, [Qui] Nguyen’s screenplay dodges this trope and, with it, homophobia altogether. Instead, [the grandfather] says excitedly, ‘Who is it?'”

“And just like that, the gendered expectation that his grandson’s sweetheart is a girl is gone. The word ‘sweetheart’ itself is gender-neutral, meaning the possibility was cleverly baked into Nguyen’s script. When Ethan answers, his grandfather, whom he’s never met before, isn’t shocked to discover the boy is gay. It’s not an issue. It’s not a thought.”

“And that is incredibly exciting because this queer teen character isn’t queer as a plot point. The movie is not exploiting his identity as a tool for trauma. Instead, Strange World acknowledges that gay kids can just exist in media and not have their identity treated like grounds for a teachable moment.”

Unfortunately for Disney, Americans said thanks but no thanks.

“Disney Animation’s Strange World bombed with a five-day opening of $18.6 million after receiving a mediocre B CinemaScore,” The Hollywood Reporter wrote over the weekend. “That’s the worst opening for a Disney Animation Thanksgiving title in modern times after getting pummeled by poor word-of-mouth, and the first of the studio’s to earn anything less than an A- grade from CinemaScore. Overseas, it debuted over the weekend to $9 million from 43 material markets for a global bow of just $28 million.”


The new Disney film was expected to take in $30 million to 40 million over the long Thanksgiving holiday, The Daily Wire reported. And the movie giant needs to haul in more than $350 million just to break even.

One wag on Twitter broke down the movie’s problems.

  • – Main character is gay
  • – Biracial couple
  • – No white People
  • – Climate Change metaphor
  • – Even the dog is disabled

But more than anything, it’s just a bad movie.

“So much of Strange World’s audaciousness is front-loaded into its concept, and so little of it comes through in the execution,” Vulture reviewer Alison Willmore wrote. “Its themes linger in the mind longer than any line or emotional beat in part because those elements feel so rote and secondary.”

“Sure, the existence of the movie should be applauded, even or especially because it seems to have terrified its corporate overlords into burying an entry from the animation line, which has traditionally been the spine of the brand. But I’m also tired of measuring social progress by Disney films and applauding the ungainly giant for slowly trudging its way toward the future,” she wrote.

It’s sad that politics and political correctness have infiltrated everything, right down to Disney, our favorite producer of children’s movies. Let’s hope they take to heart the lessons of the dismal opening of “Strange World” to heart — leave out all the silly PC stuff and just make a great film.

(Disclosure: The Daily Wire has announced plans for kids entertainment content.)

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.

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