Disney’s 100th Anniversary Delivers All-Time Awful Year

By Britta DeVore | Published

In what was meant to be a time of celebration for a cartoon shop that flourished into one of the biggest studios in the world, Disney’s 100th anniversary year was anything but. From Pixar to Marvel, the company saw nothing but one box office blunder after the next, struggling to keep up with the success of its rivals at Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures. Let’s take a look back on this flam of a year as we try to find a reason behind the House of Mouse’s failures.

Disney’s Biggest Hit Couldn’t Break The Top 3 2023 Box Office Earners

The studio’s top performer during its century-turning anniversary was James Gunn’s final installment in his Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 came in fourth place overall, beat out by mega-titles including Barbie, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, and Oppenheimer. As far as the top ten box office list goes, the Disney 100 celebrations only nabbed two of the spots with the live-action The Little Mermaid coming in at number nine.

Franchise Favorites Flopped Hard

Even its acquisition of the Marvel Universe couldn’t brighten up the Disney 100 party as Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and The Marvels were both huge misses at the box office. And then there’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Said to be Harrison Ford’s character’s last fedora-wearing adventure, audiences weren’t too keen on the film, which was yet another box office bust when it landed in theaters in the early summer.

Harrison Ford’s Last Outing As Indy Couldn’t Even Bring People To Theaters

indiana jones and the dial of destiny

The Dial of Destiny should have been a money-making effort for Disney 100 as it was just in time for the summer blockbuster season. Even with the excitement surrounding the return of the adventurous archaeologist and a handful of familiar faces, audiences just couldn’t be bothered to get to their local cinemas to catch the action.

What’s even sadder for the fifth film in the franchise is that it massively underperformed compared to its predecessor, 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which was, up until now, largely agreed to be the worst film in the series.

Pixar’s Elemental Ended Its Box Office Run With Shocking Results

In June, Disney and Pixar dropped their latest collaboration, Elemental, which could be considered the studio’s most surprising entry. While its first weekend projected nothing but low numbers, the movie would go on to gain a surprising surplus at the box office, even eclipsing DC’s highly-anticipated title, The Flash. Of all the films to land on screens in celebration of Disney 100, Elemental was probably the most exciting for the House of Mouse as its turnaround was nothing short of incredible.

Disney Celebrates 100 Years With Wish, A Huge Disappointment

Finally, Disney really thought it was doing something with its last animated feature of the year, Wish. Of course, we can all see how the film’s title would tie in with the Disney 100 festivities, as the company was built upon wishing on a star.

Unfortunately, even the voices of Chris Pine, Ariana DeBose, and Alan Tudyk couldn’t steal ticket-buyers from spending their money on Napoleon and The Hunger Games prequel during the bustling Thanksgiving weekend.

What’s To Blame?

disney florida

As for the “why” behind Disney’s abysmal 100-year anniversary, there are a slew of options to choose from. For its summer and fall releases, it would be easy to place the blame on the SAG-AFTRA strike, which didn’t allow actors to go on promotional tours for their projects. There’s also the idea of superhero fatigue as, just like Marvel, DC Studios also suffered crippling box office numbers.

No matter what the case, it was sadly a very lackluster time for Disney to ring in 100 years of entertainment. With titles like Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, Inside Out 2, and the third Deadpool movie arriving in 2024, maybe 101 will be the studio’s lucky number.

robert downey jr

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