Disney’s Recent Big Budget Movie Is An Enormous Flop

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

disney strange world

The bad news just keeps coming for Disney’s most recent family film, Strange World, which had a second weekend that exceed expectations by being even more of a disaster than the first. Cartoon Brew reports that the latest animated film from the House of Mouse is approaching the level of historical animated flops, including Treasure Planet and Titan A.E. Not since the 2011 Winnie the Pooh has a Disney animated film done this poorly, both at the box office and with audience scores.

Strange World barely cleared $20 million in its first weekend, then followed up by losing 60% of that, making only $4.9 million last weekend. The exact numbers are unknown, but in order to even break even, Strange World is estimated to need to make between $135 million and $180 million. Compared to Winnie the Pooh, which only had a budget of $30 million, Disney’s latest is also one of its worst performers ever.

The next closest movie to compare Strange World to, happens to be the Disney film that almost destroyed the studio, 1985’s Black Cauldron. The Lloyd Alexander adaptation made back under half of its budget and forced the animation studio to regroup, plan, and end up coming back strong with The Little Mermaid, saving the company. Industry insiders had a feeling that internally, Disney was already hedging their bets due to poor internal feedback over the film.

Despite appearing on more theater screens than any other movie in America right now, the marketing for Strange World was oddly nonexistent. Disney is the largest media conglomerate in the world, capable of making any piece of entertainment into a must-see event, yet most people would be forgiven for not knowing Strange World even existed. With a lack of tie-ins, tv spots, and few licensed merchandise available in stores, it can be surmised that corporate executives decided to cut into the enormous budget by cutting back the marketing.

A pair of films this year that have made more money did so with even less marketing than the pared back budget Disney applied to Strange World. Both Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero ($38.1 million) and Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie ($34.5 million), anime films that released domestically in national theaters, made more money. Animated films have been making good money all year as families return to theaters after two years of Covid restrictions, which means there is even less of a reason for a historic flop to be released in 2022.

Illumination’s Minions: The Rise of Gru set the bar for all other animated films this year, raking in $369.5 million, while Disney’s other big release, Lightyear, brought in $118 million. Both of those films are part of established franchises, while Strange World is an original IP, though again, the excuses for its performance remain flimsy reasons for the enormous financial loss. Expect to hear about changes being made among Disney executives once the fallout from one of the worst performing Disney films, both financially and critically, results in a blame game.