It seems like Disney needs to wish upon a star if it wants its box office fortunes to turn around. The recent animated feature Wish hit theaters and opened in third place with just $31.7 million in the bank (via Variety). Compared to the House of Mouse’s previous stranglehold on the money of theatergoers, this number is pretty meek.
With Disney’s Wish on its way to having modest box office success at best, it seems like the company is going to have its first year in a while without a $1 billion box office smash hit. Rival studios like Warner Bros. Barbie, and Universal’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Oppenheimer have cleared or come close to passing the billion mark this year. So what is Disney doing wrong?
Quality Over Quantity
One of the main reasons that Disney is probably suffering at the box office was expressed by CEO Bob Iger himself, who announced that the company is going to start to focus more on quality over quantity in the upcoming years. Fans of Disney’s various IPs like Marvel, Star Wars, and even Pixar will see this as a blessing. It’s no secret that, especially in the case of Marvel, audiences might be feeling a bit burnt out.
Marvel was once one of Disney’s most reliable box office juggernauts, with films like Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: No Way Home easily clearing $1 billion for the company and becoming some of the highest-grossing movies of all time. However, the company has been struggling to keep the hype train rolling in a post-Infinity Saga world. Part of the issue is the sheer number of Disney+ shows and movies that audiences have to watch to keep up with the ongoing storyline.
The Marvel’s Biggest Issue
The recently released The Marvels is on track to possibly become Disney’s lowest-grossing MCU movie of all time at the box office. While critics felt the film was a fun outing, it’s hard to ignore the fact that you would need to have watched Captain Marvel and two Disney+ series, WandaVision and Ms. Marvel, if you want to be fully caught up on all the main characters. That’s well over ten hours of content just to be up to speed for one film.
Marvel Only Releasing One Movie In 2024
The burnout on the superhero genre isn’t complete on Disney’s plate either, as fellow studio DC has also struggled with getting people to show up for superheroes at theaters. The fact that Deadpool 3 will be the one and only MCU film in 2024 is likely going to be seen as a small blessing for fans who don’t want to have to attend three or four MCU movies in a year just to keep up. Then there’s the fact that there is a quick turnaround to stream these movies at home.
Streaming Hurts Box Office Profits
If you can easily stream a movie or rent it at home just a month or two later, it likely does cut down on the likelihood of potential theatergoers making the effort to go to the movies rather than just waiting to check it out at home. This holds true for more than just Disney movies, and the box office numbers have shown it. With that being said, Disney seems to always find a way to make the money flow, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see this turned around soon.
Can Disney Turn Things Around In 2024?
Cutting down on the ballooning production budgets and focusing on quality over quantity seems like it will be Disney’s key to future box office success. The House of Mouse is also returning to reliable IP like Inside Out in the future, so we’ll have to wait and see how it all pans out. But it’s pretty safe to say that it’s probably not a good idea to count Disney out when it comes to making money.