Disney Animation Could Be in Trouble as ‘Elemental’ Suffers the Worst Opening Ever

in Disney, Entertainment

wade whipple eating in elemental disney

Credit: Disney Studios

Is Disney animation no longer viable? Should the company pivot to focusing on its live-action remakes? This might sound like an overreaction, but Pixar’s newest offering, Elemental, might answer yes to these questions—as it now has the worst domestic opening ever.

ember and wade in pixar movie elemental
Credit: Disney

Related: Pixar Director Explains Why ‘Elemental’ Will Be Better Than ‘The Good Dinosaur’

For some reason, it appears that Pixar is on a downward slope that it cannot pull itself out of. This could be because the company is now much smaller than it used to be, as Disney has effectively laid off many employees. The magic in the animation that Pixar has provided before could have been successful due to the collaborative effort of everyone that had previously been employed at the studio.

Even the woman who saved Toy Story 2 (1999) from being deleted completely, Galyn Susman, was let go. While the company had been strained on time to get Toy Story 2 finished, an animator accidentally deleted the entire movie’s root file. Thankfully, Susman had been working from home with a newborn child and had a copy. She saved the day but has since been culled by the studio.

One of the reasons Susman was let go, along with many others, is the work that had been done on Lightyear. Unfortunately, She would be tied to one of the worst Disney flops, sealing her fate.

Lightyear was a complete miss by Pixar and a movie that confused many people. Toy Story was successful enough on its own, and having a spinoff grounded in realism was just an odd choice. The reason that the franchise has been so successful is that the characters are equal parts silly and heartwarming. Lightyear took that away completely.

That’s not to mention Strange World (2022), which was also one of the biggest flops in Disney’s history. Strangely, the animated giants the company once seemed to have fizzled out, and the numbers from Elemental do not paint a hopeful picture.

‘Elemental’ Is the Worst Pixar Opening Ever

Fire and Water from Disney Pixar's Elemental | Credit: Disney
Fire and Water from Disney Pixar’s Elemental | Credit: Disney

Elemental could only secure $11.8 domestically on its first opening day, making it the worst earner in Pixar’s history. The projected numbers for the animated venture are $36 million, which is atrocious for a 4-day weekend. The usual case is that most Disney animated films do pretty well right from the start, though it appears this newest Pixar offering will not get that same treatment.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the film, including some stating the film’s message as “elements don’t mix” being tied to racist allegory. However, the film is also said to be a tribute to immigrant parents, so fans taking that and turning it into something far more nefarious might be a bit of a stretch.

Still, it appears that the consensus of Disney and Pixar’s joint efforts has pointed to fans no longer caring like they once did. Turning Red was one of the few surprises that Pixar has put out, but that could be because it debuted on Disney+. The power of streaming might be the winning factor here, though the writers for Elemental stated they never wanted their film to be devoid of a theatrical release.

Luca (2021) was also a commercial flop, but Onward (2020) surprised fans. Onward also flopped in theaters and was far more successful on VOD. There might be something to Disney allowing their animated ventures to stream before trying limited theatrical releases.

Disney might be able to save face by releasing their animated movies strictly on Disney+, at least until they figure out why their films keep underperforming at the box office.

It could just be they lost their steam and are in a losing battle with rival animators like Illumination. It is still early, and Elemental could still make enough to be considered a success. Then again, it might be another flop, adding itself to the embarrassing list of Pixar box office bombs.

Ember and Wade stand next to each other in Elemental.
Credit: Disney Pixar

Related: REVIEW: Pixar’s Elemental Is Our Next Tough Life Lesson

We always believe in seeing a movie before judging it, so go check out Elemental in theaters now and determine if it’s as bad as the numbers indicate.

Are you shocked Disney animation has been failing so badly recently? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

in Disney, Entertainment

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