Elemental Is Shaping Up To Be A Massive Flop For Disney

Elemental is projected to open with a disappointing $35-$40 million box office return.

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Updated

pixar elemental

Disney and Pixar are experiencing a series of disappointing box office performances with films like Lightyear and Strange World. Its latest release, Elemental, is following suit, setting the stage for another lackluster performance at the box office, according to The Wrap. Opening weekend projections barely reach $40 million, countering a $200 million production budget

Even with preview screenings beginning, tracking remains low at $35 million-$40 million. This is a disappointing start compared to the $50.5 million opening of Disney-Pixar’s Lightyear, which shared a similar reported production budget and ended up being a major loss for the studio.

Adjusting for inflation, Elemental might even fall below the $39 million openings of The Good Dinosaur and Onward, making it Disney and Pixar’s lowest opening weekend ever.

Despite Disney’s best marketing efforts, it seems they haven’t been able to capture the attention of audiences for this film. The studio has invested heavily in marketing campaigns, positioning Elemental as a must-see event for families in theaters. It’s one of the first films Disney has been trying to recruit theater-watching individuals for following the end of the pandemic.

Premiering Elemental on the closing day of the Cannes Film Festival was another attempt by Disney to create buzz around the film. However, the movie received lukewarm reviews from the few critics who saw it at Cannes, failing to generate the desired audience excitement.

pixar elemental

However, it is still possible things could look up for the newest Disney movie as press screenings from the past week have begun to accumulate a fair few positive reviews for the film. Elemental currently holds a 78 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes with 60 reviews logged, which is slightly higher than Lightyear and Strange World. This might improve walk-up ticket sales, but Elemental will still have to contend with competition from the highly popular Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, which, unlike the newest Pixar story, was a highly anticipated feature and is already on its way to surpassing $500 million at the global box office.

Facing tough competition from live-action films, Elemental‘s best hope lies in building enough interest among families to attract a substantial number of parents to buy tickets rather than wait for the film’s Disney+ release. This could help it stand against Spider-Verse and the upcoming Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken from DreamWorks, which is also projected to underperform with an opening weekend of below $10 million.

However, unless international markets deliver significant overperformance, Elemental is unlikely to fare better than Lightyear. Animated studios have struggled to find a theatrical hit since the pandemic started in 2020 and shifted how people enjoy consuming media. In recent times, only sequels like Minions: The Rise of Gru, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, and Across the Spider-Verse have managed to turn a profit since theaters reopened, none of which are Disney or Pixar products.

While Elemental may be struggling to burn any interest, the animation landscape remains an ever-changing realm, and Disney and Pixar will undoubtedly regroup and strive to bring back the magic that once made them unstoppable forces in the industry. For now, we’ll have to wait and see if Elemental can defy the odds and find its way into the hearts of audiences.