Disney suffered one of its worst theatrical releases ever with its latest animated movie Strange World, which brought in just $18.6 million over the five-day holiday weekend despite being heralded as the first Disney movie to include an openly gay main character.
Strange World had Disney’s second-worst opening weekend ever, behind only the pandemic-era release of West Side Story directed by Steven Spielberg, Variety reported Sunday. Ultimately, Strange World only garnered about half of its projected long weekend revenue.
The film featured a star-studded cast including voice acting from Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Lucy Liu, and Gabrielle Union, and sported a massive budget between $120 and $130 million, the Daily Mail writes.
Expectations were initially high for Strange World with Disney projecting the film to earn between $30 and $40 million dollars over the long weekend. However, those figures were rapidly, and significantly, revised downwards when it was understood how poorly the movie was performing with audiences.
As with other recent Disney animated movies including Lightyear (another disappointing box office flop), Strange World sought to crowbar progressive causes into the film, including for the first time in Disney’s history an openly gay main character. However, one liberal movie reviewer said Disney would likely use homophobia to shield it from the film’s obvious shortcomings.
“Disney is 100% going to blame STRANGE WORLD’s inevitable bad box office on the fact that there’s an openly gay character in the movie when in reality, it’s going to flop because they didn’t market it at all. They’ll use this as an excuse to not have queer rep ever again,” film critic Jordan Woodson tweeted last week.
Aside from the progressive emphasis, for some, the movie simply failed to entertain. “Took the kids to the movies today to watch a Disney cartoon called Strange World. Within 10 minutes of the movie, my 10-year-old son said ‘Dad, I have no desire to watch this movie. Can we leave?’ We left. The leaders at Disney have forgotten who the PAYING customer is,” the popular podcaster Patrick Bet-David tweeted.
Disney’s latest flop comes on the heels of the return of its iconic former CEO Bob Iger who is expected to turn around the ailing company after suffering several financial setbacks. Iger is taking over for Bob Chapek, who openly embraced progressive social causes while leading the media company, drawing the ire of Governor Ron DeSantis and fellow Florida Republicans.
Disney+, the company’s touted streaming service, has lost more than $8 billion since it first launched three years ago.