Report: Disney’s ‘Strange World’ Was 2022’s Biggest Box Office Failure

Strange World

In 2022, Disney’s animated feature film “Strange World” found itself at the center of attention, but for all the wrong reasons. According to a comprehensive report by Deadline, this movie turned out to be Hollywood’s most significant box office flop of the year, resulting in Disney facing a staggering loss of nearly $200 million. This financial fiasco has raised questions about the film’s production, marketing, and the broader strategies employed by Disney in releasing its animated movies.

First, let’s delve into the financial aspects of “Strange World.” The film, helmed by director Don Hall, carried an enormous production budget of $180 million, and the marketing expenses added another hefty $90 million. When you combine these costs, the total expenditure for the movie amounted to an eye-watering estimate of approximately $317.4 million. However, despite this substantial investment, “Strange World” managed to gross only a paltry $73.6 million at the global box office. Additionally, it garnered another $55 million from television and streaming rights. When you crunch the numbers, it becomes painfully evident that the film ended up being a catastrophic financial endeavor, resulting in Disney incurring losses totaling $197 million. This dismal outcome places “Strange World” in the unfortunate position of being the worst financial performer among all Hollywood films in 2022. To make matters even bleaker, another Disney-owned animated feature, Pixar’s “Lightyear,” also made Deadline’s list of flops, contributing to Disney’s combined losses of a staggering $303 million for its last two animated releases.

Strange World' Review: All Too Familiar - The New York Times

Now, it’s crucial to explore why “Strange World” faced such an unfortunate fate. Signs of trouble had been brewing long before the film’s theatrical release. Disney’s track record with science fiction-themed films had been less than stellar, with previous endeavors like “Atlantis” and “Treasure Planet” failing to make a significant impact at the box office. Moreover, the film seemed to generate very little pre-release buzz, which undoubtedly contributed to its lackluster performance. The movie’s release was also marred by controversy, as at least 15 countries refused to screen it due to the presence of a same-sex relationship, further limiting its potential audience.

Another factor that likely played a significant role in the disappointing box office performance of both “Strange World” and “Lightyear” was the changing viewing habits of families. Many parents have become accustomed to waiting for kid-oriented films to become available on streaming platforms. Disney’s former CEO, Bob Chapek, and his team had chosen to release several Pixar features directly on Disney+, including titles like “Soul,” “Luca,” and “Turning Red.” In contrast, Disney’s “Encanto” had a limited theatrical window before becoming available for streaming. This strategy appears to have contributed to the underwhelming performance of “Strange World” at the box office.

Strange World' review: A weird, vibrant and heartfelt excursion - Los  Angeles Times

While the financial impact of “Strange World” might not be substantial for Disney in the long term, as discussed by Colin Tedards of The Investor Channel, it does raise concerns creatively. Walt Disney Animation Studios holds a special place within the company’s animation division, and the unequivocal failure of one of its films undoubtedly sends ripples of consternation through the halls of Disney’s headquarters.

Finally, it’s essential to consider the impact of such a significant flop on the individuals who dedicated their time and talent to create “Strange World.” As revealed by filmmaker Kelly Asbury in a candid piece from 2019, a box office failure can be emotionally devastating for the artists involved. The pain of witnessing a project that one poured their heart and soul into falter can be profound, highlighting that the consequences of a box office bomb extend far beyond the financial realm.

MOVIE REVIEW: 'Strange World' — Another Mediocre Effort By Disney -  Disneyland News Today

In summary, Disney’s “Strange World” faced a disastrous outcome in 2022, emerging as Hollywood’s most significant box office failure of the year. The film’s astronomical production and marketing costs, coupled with lackluster box office returns, resulted in Disney suffering losses nearing $200 million. This failure has prompted a critical examination of Disney’s film release strategies, creative concerns within Walt Disney Animation Studios, and the emotional toll on the individuals who dedicated themselves to the ill-fated project.

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