Disney Ruled Memorial Day Weekend, but This Year, Nothing

in Disney, Entertainment, Movies

A collage of three movie scenes: the first showing a woman underwater with long red hair, wearing a mermaid outfit; the second showing an older man in a brown hat leaning on a boat railing; the third showing a pirate holding a woman with an ocean background. Perfect for Memorial Day Weekend or any Disney fan!

Credit: Disney

For decades, The Walt Disney Company used Memorial Day Weekend to launch one of its big hits for the summer. If the film did not come from Disney Studios or Disney Animation Studios, it was from one of the companies Disney owned: Pixar, Star Wars, or Marvel Studios.

Areil (Halle Bailey) looking at Sebastian (Daveed Diggs) during Under the Sea as Seahorses swim by
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney’s Hope Rest of ‘Inside Out 2’ Being a Hit, and They Just Got Some Good News

It almost became a tradition for Walt Disney Studios to dominate the box office on Memorial Day weekend. Last year, Disney owned the weekend with the live-action Little Mermaid (2023) starring Halle Bailey. The film took home $118.8 million on its opening weekend, good for fifth-best all-time on Memorial Day Weekend.

In fact, of the films with the highest opening box office on Memorial Day Weekend, Disney owns seven of the top 10 properties, including number 2 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), number 3 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), and number 10 Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018). 

The film with the highest-ever Memorial Day Weekend box office was Top Gun Maverick (2022), with $160.5 million.

Johnny Depp looking shocked as Jack Sparrow
Credit: Disney

So, what happened this year? Coming off a disastrous 2022 that saw ticket sales decline for every movie Disney released, CEO Bob Iger shook up the release calendar.

Gone was the big-budget blockbuster set for the holiday weekend. Instead, Disney cut Marvel Studios’ output for the year down to just Deadpool and Wolverine (2024). And with no Star Wars or live-action adaptation ready, Disney has ceded the holiday weekend to its competitors.

This weekend, Furiosa: A Mad Max Story (2024) was released, filling the void left by Disney for a high-octane action film. But even that isn’t expected to bring in audiences. The Mad Max film is only scheduled to make $40 million this weekend, which experts call the worst holiday weekend box office in decades.

A person in a red and black full-body suit, unmistakably reminiscent of Deadpool, wearing a mask with white eye patches and two swords strapped to their back, is pointing forward with their right hand. The background is light, suggesting an outdoor setting.
Credit: Marvel Studios

The family film Garfield (2024) will bring in $35 million this weekend. But with no Disney release, it’s the only option for families.

Disney’s release calendar for 2025 also does not show anything scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend. However, Disney does have Father’s Day weekend set up as Pixar’s time for the next two years.

Pixar will release Inside Out 2 (2024)  this year on Father’s Day weekend. It is expected to be the first film of 2024 to make more than $100 million at the box office on opening weekend.

In an animated scene from "Inside Out 2," Joy, Disgust, and Anger stand together on a pink, brain-like surface. Disgust looks annoyed, Joy appears curious, and Anger is fuming. Fear is in the background, falling backward dramatically.
Credit: Pixar

Next Father’s Day weekend, Pixar will release Elio (2025). Perhaps Disney’s strategy is to bracket the holiday weekend with action films, and family hits will work. It has to be better than the old strategy.

What do you think of Disney giving up on Memorial Day Weekend at the box office? 

in Disney, Entertainment, Movies

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