New Disney Movie 'Wish' Fails to Shine at Thanksgiving Box Office

By Jace Dela Cruz

Nov 28, 2023 01:29 AM EST

Disney has wished upon a star with its latest animated venture, "Wish," to make a splash at the Thanksgiving box office as it is being marketed as a celebration of a century of storytelling. 

However, this wish was not granted as the film only garnered $31.6 million over the five-day period. According to CNBC, this figure is far from the $45 million to $55 million range anticipated by box office analysts.

During the five-day holiday frame, Lionsgate's "Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" claimed the top spot, securing $42.2 million in ticket sales. On the other hand, Apple and Sony's "Napoleon," an R-rated war epic directed by Ridley Scott, took second place with $32.75 million.

UK Premiere Of Walt Disney Animation Studios'
(Photo : Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures UK)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 20: Ariana DeBose with guests at the UK Premiere of Walt Disney Animation Studios', "Wish" at the Odeon Leicester Square on November 20, 2023 in London, England.

Atypical Underperformance of Disney

Disney's underperformance during the Thanksgiving box office is atypical, considering its longstanding history of releasing top-grossing animated films during this period. 

The company has even set records for the highest-grossing openings for films released on Thanksgiving. However, the dynamics of the film industry have shifted since the pandemic, making it challenging for studios to rely on past performance as a predictor of success. 

Senior media analyst at Comscore, Paul Dergarabedian, explained to CNBC the evolving dynamics of the film industry, asserting that studios can no longer rely on a "set it and forget it" strategy based on past performance. 

As audience preferences change, studios must adapt to new rules and navigate challenges to entice viewers back to theaters. Disney, overseeing both Walt Disney Animation and Pixar, confronts persistent hurdles within its animation sector. 

The studio's strategic choices, which include prioritizing Disney+ through content expansion and releasing theatrical movies directly to digital platforms during the pandemic, have added to the challenges faced by Disney in its animation endeavors. 

READ ALSO: Top Movies and their Billion Sales of Merchandise: Walt Disney Films Prove their Undying Market Impact 

Cinema in a Post-Pandemic Era

Despite a successful theatrical year in 2019, when seven Disney films surpassed $1 billion in global ticket sales, replicating that success has proven difficult. 

The confusion surrounding release schedules for animated features from both studios and mixed critical and audience reception has led to a decline in theatrical performance for Disney's animation sector.

The post-pandemic era has witnessed a decline in the Thanksgiving box office's revenue-generating power, according to Dergarabedian. 

Thanksgiving films now depend more heavily on December moviegoing to determine overall box office success, reflecting the evolving dynamics of audience behavior in the current movie marketplace. 

READ MORE: Creator Monetization Giants BBTV and Spotter Join Forces For $125M Creator Fund

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