‘Elemental,’ Pixar’s Biggest “Failure,” is Disney’s Biggest Post-Pandemic Success

in Disney, Movies, Pixar

Wade and Ember sit in a theater in Elemental

Credit: Pixar

After several disastrous openings for their animated films, Disney is about to hit a significant milestone with Elemental (2023), the movie many people call Pixar’s biggest box office failure.

Chris Evans as Buzz Lightyear
Credit: Pixar Animation Studios

Related: Op-Ed: ‘Elemental’ is Pixar’s Best Love Story Since ‘Up’

Since the pandemic, Pixar and Disney animation, in general, have struggled at the box office. While the companies are used to the highs of the financial highs of the Toy Story seriesFinding Nemo (2003), The Lion King (1994, 2019), Incredibles 2 (2018), or a plethora of princess fare, everything that has been released since 2020 has been disappointing.

For a while, it looked like Elemental would achieve the same fate. But after a dismal opening weekend, the film about unlikely lovers Ember Lumen (Leah Lewis) and Wade Ripple (Mamoudou Athie) has slowly picked up steam. In fact, Peter Sohn’s movie is about to mark a step forward for Walt Disney Pictures as its theatrical release surpasses one of its most popular films ever.

‘Elemental’ Has Surpassed ‘Encanto’

Ember and Wade smiling in Pixar's 'Elemental'
Credit: Pixar Animation Studios

Despite starting off with less-than-stellar numbersElemental has held firm at the box office. Its sustainability has led the film to become the highest-grossing animated film from Disney since the pandemic began in 2020. This means it has surpassed the box office totals of movies like Soul (2020), Onward (2020), Turning Red (2022), Raya and the Last Dragon (2021), Lightyear (2022)Strange World (2022), and Encanto (2021).

While some of these are expected, particularly Lightyear and Strange World, Encanto is the biggest surprise on this list. The film was a sensation, selling millions of dollars worth of merchandise, had eight songs chart on the Billboard Hot 100, and even earned an Academy Award.

Felix (L) and Pepa (R) in 'Encanto'
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Announces All-New ‘Encanto’ Attraction

However, Ember and Wade beat the Madrigal family in one important spot: box office performance. Encanto grossed $96,093,622 domestically, with a global total of $256 million. Meanwhile, Elemental has surpassed both totals, bringing $111,192,211 domestically and just now passed the $256 million mark.

While Encanto was working at a disadvantage since it was during a global pandemic, and there is no way to tell how well Elemental‘s merchandise will sell, this still marks a huge milestone for the Walt Disney Company. Hopefully, things will continue on the up and up with Wish later this year.

What do you think inspired Elemental‘s late success? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

in Disney, Movies, Pixar

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