It was a tale of two divisions for Disney at the Thanksgiving box office. Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was once again the number one movie in the country last weekend, grossing an estimated $64 million across the extended holiday weekend. The film dropped roughly 30 percent from its opening weekend, which is a very strong result for a blockbuster. So that movie is doing just fine. Better than fine; it’s a major Marvel hit.
But at the same time, the latest animated movie from Disney proper, Strange World, flopped badly. The film grossed just $18.6 million from Wednesday night to Sunday, barely a tenth of its reported $180 million budget, despite decent reviews from critics. To put that number in perspective: Glass Onion, the new Rian Johnson murder mystery, grossed nearly the same amount in 700 theaters. Strange World was playing on 4000 screens.
According to Variety, “unless [Strange World’s] business rebounds dramatically in the next few weeks (and that seems unlikely given the film’s moderate reviews, lackluster audience reception and minimal buzz), sources estimate that “Strange World” will lose at least $100 million in its theatrical run.” They also claim, given its budget, that it would need to gross “roughly $360 million” to just break even.
Strange World bombing at the box office comes at a key moment for Disney, which just replaced its CEO of the last two years, Bob Chapek, with the former head of the company, Bob Iger. While Strange World was bombing in theaters, Disney was releasing Disenchanted, a long-awaited sequel to a beloved movie, straight to streaming on Disney+. A few weeks before that, they let another sequel to another extremely popular title, Hocus Pocus, bypass theaters as well. How many hundreds of millions of dollars did Disney lose out on just by skipping theatrical releases on those two titles alone? And those are not the only recent examples.
If you do want to see Strange World, which features the voices of Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Gabrielle Union, Lucy Liu, and Jaboukie Young-White, it is playing in theaters
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