Disney’s Wish Failure Needs To Change Their Entire Animation Approach

By Robert Scucci | Published

Disney may potentially have another flop on their hands with their latest animated effort, Wish, according to Variety. The original opening weekend box office projections suggested that the musical fantasy film would pull in $35 million over the weekend, and up to $50 million over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend. But now that the holiday weekend is behind us, it’s clear that this was wishful thinking, as Wish only earned $31.7 million over five days.

Over-Nostalgic, No Original Story

To add insult to injury, Disney’s Wish was critically panned for leaning too much into nostalgia in a way that makes it seem like its entire premise was generated by a focus-group. As of this writing, Wish has a 50 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating a rotten status. The prevailing sentiment among critics is that they felt like they were being pandered to with a Disney “greatest hits” reel rather than being told a captivating story with an original premise.

Disney Losing To Sony

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As Disney continues to struggle with animated feature flops like Wish, as well as live-action films like Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, we can’t help but wonder if Disney is losing sight of what made their many past properties so magic in the first place.

Though Disney has been a well-established entertainment institution for decades, it’s apparent that they haven’t kept up with the times on the storytelling and animation front with films like Wish. When compared to the resounding success that Sony had this summer with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, it’s clear that Disney needs to step up their game, and work harder to win over audiences.

Across The Spider-Verse Swept At The Box Office

When we compare the numbers, it’s evident that moviegoers don’t want more of the same, and would rather be wowed by innovative animation, and inventive storytelling. Across the Spider-Verse earned an intimidating $120.7 million over the course of its opening weekend, and went on to earn $690.5 million by the end of its theatrical run.

Storytelling At Its Best

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In other words, Disney seems to be resting on their laurels with animated features like Wish, while Sony Pictures Animation has blazed a new trail and set a new gold standard with its innovative animation techniques. Praised for its deliberate blending of two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and hand-drawn animation, Across the Spider-Verse expertly includes details like speech bubbles and written sound effects that made it an animated comic book adaptation that is hard to top, visually speaking.

Pair the animation methods with its realistic depiction of a teenage protagonist learning to accept his superpowers, and there’s a compelling story to be told as well.

Disney’s Identity Crisis

Conversely, Disney has been criticized in recent years for attempting to capitalize on their glory days by juxtaposing their classic look with updated computer animation in films like Wish. One of the biggest criticisms that the film received was that it seemingly had an identity crisis. Rather than relying on traditional watercolor animation methods, or updated computer animation, Wish tried combining the aesthetics, and failed on both fronts.

There’s Still Hope For Wish

Though it may be too soon to tell whether Disney has another flop on their hands with Wish, all signs are pointing to the fact that they need to keep up with the times. It’s worth noting, however, that Elemental ended up earning $495.9 million despite its weak opening weekend. But if Wish doesn’t turn out to be a sleeper hit and earn more revenue on the back-end of its theatrical run, then it’s safe to say that the media giant will be left in the dust by companies like Sony and DreamWorks.