‘Cruella’ box office suggests big challenges for Disney

We just got the news that Black widow it will be reproduced in IMAX with a specially formatted print featuring an “expanded aspect ratio” for 22 minutes of selected scenes. That’s enough normal development for a large-scale tent that it almost qualifies as a “nature is healing” moment. However, Walt Disney’s Cruella has made $ 87 million worldwide after just under two weeks in theaters. The Craig Gillespie-directed film opened for $ 26 million during its Memorial Day weekend debut Wednesday through Sunday, dropping a reasonable 49% on the second weekend for a weekend of 11, $ 2 million and a national ten-day total of $ 43.7 million. That’s less than Tim Burton’s disappointing $ 45 million Friday-Sunday pitch. Dumbo early 2019.

To be fair, Cruella costs about $ 100 million while Dumbo it cost $ 170 million. That being said, even David Lowery (absolutely spectacular) Pete’s Dragon it had 43 million national dollars in its first ten days. Still, by any rational theatrical standard, even on a Covid curve, the movie isn’t exactly slamming doors. A quiet place part II has $ 89 million national and $ 139 million worldwide, while Wrath of man ($ 87 million worldwide) performs above average for a Jason Statham action actor. The incantation: the devil made me do it opened with $ 24 million, which is on the low end of “Prestidigitation normal “as even Annabelle comes home It opened with $ 31 million in its debut from Wednesday to Sunday in 2019.

As for the Disney + variable, with the movie available to rent for a one-time fee of $ 30, the movie will head to PVOD on June 25, less than a month after its first day on May 28. If the movie was racking up Disney + dollars, Disney still wouldn’t release it as an all-platform PVOD title. The announcement of a sequel is about the illusion of success. And to be fair, that’s standard business practice in Hollywood. We are still waiting Star trek 4, which Paramount announced a week earlier Star trek beyond opened in July 2016. The poor comparative performance highlights how much of Disney’s dominance in Hollywood can be illusory or fully ingrained in Marvel and Star Wars.

There was always the possibility that the 2019 auction would mark an unofficial end to Disney’s limitless dominance in theatrical cinema. Both because Bob Iger was rumored to step down as CEO and because there was a desire for A + theatrical titles on Disney + sooner rather than later, Disney flooded 2019 with essentially the largest possible installments of its biggest franchises and brands. So we have Toy Story 4, Frozen II, Aladdin, The Lion King and the “season / series finale” to both Avengers Y Star Wars in the same year. Hollywood took notice and backed off, essentially letting Disney have its ridiculous $ 12 billion year without much of a fight.

The pandemic uprooted the 2020 entertainment calendar. The sheer number of great movies that were supposed to challenge Disney’s perception of dominance (No Time to Die, Wonder Woman 1984, A Quiet Place part II, F9, etc.) was shot down by Covid. Meanwhile, in a skewed twist of fate, the launch of Disney + in late 2019 left Disney uniquely positioned to capitalize on a year in which families were trapped in their homes or unable to participate in mainstream entertainment activities. . However, as the theater attempts a slow return (which probably won’t return to “normal” until, at best, the post-summer slate), at some point the big Disney movies won’t be able to use the pandemic as an excuse. .

That’s especially true as the greats at Warner Bros. (Godzilla vs. Kong) and the greats of Paramount (A quiet place part II) are operating fairly close to “business as usual” in territories where it is safe to do so. Fair or not, if Disney is going to maintain its dominance of filmed entertainment beyond “a lot of people pay $ 7 a month to binge on Marvel shows and Star Wars spin-offs ”, the films are going to have to start performing at their best. Pixar’s “okay I guess, but whatever” performances Go ahead (which had already collapsed just before theaters closed in mid-March), Mulan, Walt Disney animation Raya and the last dragon and now Cruella I’m not going to cut it.

Truth be told, Disney hasn’t had a successful “new” live-action franchise (outside of the MCU) since. pirates of the Caribbean in 2003 and National Treasure in 2004. Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt Jungle cruise It may be the first this summer, but otherwise Disney will continue to live or die (at least in terms of theatrical revenue and the pipeline that exists from movie theaters to toy stores to theme parks) for the value of its acquisitions and the strength of your existing brands. What about those brands? Pixar, DWA, the live-action remake factory, and even (relatively speaking) Lucasfilm and Marvel have taken a hit since 2019. The big question is whether they can return to top-tier relevance.

Will Pixar reassert itself as a theatrical event after an original flop (Go ahead) and two more originals (Soul Y Luca) Are you going to Disney +? Will there be a growing reliance on franchises even with animation (that’s why Sony Mitchell and the machines went to Netflix) diminish the theatrical footprint of the “new” Pixar and Walt Disney cartoons? Since most of the Disney cartoons from the Katzenberg era have already been remade / revamped (The little Mermaid it is currently in production), what will become of attempts to remake less-loved titles? Grosses for Dumbo, mistress of evil, what if, Cruella suggests a very real ceiling for theoretical redo attempts (random examples) Lilo & Stitch, Pocahontas, The Great Mouse Detective or The rescuers.

What else is there? Well Lucasfilm Avatar and Marvel. There is a strong possibility that the “every two years” plan for James Cameron Avatar aftermath (as of December 2022) and Star Wars movies (starting with Patty Jenkins’ Rogue Squad in December 2023) will give Disney a run from 2022 to 2028 of world-smashing year-end fantasy blockbusters. But even if that happens, the future of Disney’s theatrical dominance may be completely rooted in Kevin Feige’s MCU. Even if Marvel offers a great movie every quarter, and audience interest in the series hasn’t waned that much after Avengers Endgame finished the core story, that’s still just a brand that essentially keeps the entire company on its shoulders.

The low performance of Go ahead (pre-pandemic) and Cruella (during the post-pandemic), along with miserable performances for Solo: A Star Wars Story, Tomorrowland, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and smooth runs for The return of Mary Poppins, Dumbo, Y The good dinosaur (which, to be fair, was followed by the raising of $ 800 million Coconut) points to a possible future in which Disney is completely reliant on nostalgia for the franchise and new and old heroes of the MCU. Or maybe it just won’t Black widow run the tables next month but Jungle cruise will be the miracle that Disney has been trying since Pirates 2. BREAK John Carter, Tron Legacy, The Lone Ranger, A Wrinkle in Time, Tomorrowland, Prince of Persia, Sorcerer’s Apprentice Y The Lone Ranger.

Hollywood does a lot more than superhero movies and animated movies, but a big reason why it * seems * like that’s all Hollywood does is because those movies tend to dominate online coverage in terms of SEO-friendly content and coverage. easy to click. In terms of what a lively conversation deserves, more people are writing, speculating, and pontificating about Marvel. Ant-Man and the Wasp than Universal Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, despite the fact that the former earned “only” $ 216 million domestically and $ 619 million worldwide, while the latter earned $ 417 million / $ 1.308 billion in the summer of 2018. And there is little doubt that the actual “minutes watched” of the Star Wars and the MCU Disney + shows are not equal to the amount of online speech they create.

Disney movies made about $ 12 billion globally in 2019 and if 2020 had gone as planned, they could have made $ 6 billion of Black Widow, Death on the Nile, West Side Story, Soul, Mulan Y Jungle cruise. With the Katzenberg era mostly mined for remakes, Star Wars into a dead end and Marvel potentially having peaked with Avengers Endgame, they are at a dead end. Even if you really think the future is on a $ 7-per-month direct-to-consumer platform, which has undoubtedly trapped 100 million subscribers in around 1.5 years, why let a rival become the new? dominant theater studio? We’ll find out in the coming years if Disney’s theatrical offerings soaring above the competition may have been a temporary anomaly.

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