Disney’s Strange World has been called many things since it premiered this Thanksgiving weekend, some call it a misguided adventure with a shoe-horned environmental message, and many more are calling it Disney’s “go woke go broke” movie, but an undeniable consensus is that it was a $100 million box office flop that will definitely have a lasting effect for the studio.
Predicted to lose $100 million dollars at its official run, Strange World’s failure could have some dangerous setbacks for the studio. Comparing budget to current box office numbers, the film doesn’t even make half of its original budget back. In fact, Variety claims that the film would need to make around $360 million just to break even. What’s even scarier is that it’s even surpassed Disney’s black sheep, The Black Cauldron, in terms of financial loss. At least the fantasy film deemed too dark for Disney made almost half its $44 million budget back. If that film nearly wiped Disney’s animation department out of the studio, it’s hard telling what the consequences of Strange World will be.
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Ignoring the lack of marketing for the film, the mishmash concept, and even “Disney’s first openly gay character,” the film has received lukewarm reviews at best and vicious criticism at worst. Dubbed by some as Disney’s “wokest” film, it’s left a generally sour taste on the palates of most movie-goers. With the changing of CEOs on Disney’s corporate side, there will definitely be some major changes happening at Walt Disney Animation Studios in the wake of Strange World’s flop.
A majority of the film’s controversy comes from the character of Ethan Clade, known in popular media as the studio’s first openly-gay character. However, it’s not just Ethan’s preferences that have certain audience members perturbed, but how much of the gen Z stereotype feels crammed into one character. If Ethan were more natural and better realized, he might not have been such a hangup for most critics. Although, audiences might still be just as divided. It’s simply too many elements jammed together in the name of exclusivity that causes the character and the movie to suffer.
While Disney has certainly had other successes in and out of animation, such as Wakanda Forever, Strange World is certainly going to be met with some serious repercussions from up top. This could result in some severe restructuring of the studio, or it could mean a new Renaissance as seen in the days of The Black Cauldron, but Disney is definitely due for a shakeup after this film’s tumultuous debut.
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