On the surface, Disney seems to be the darling of cinema. Currently, Disney-owned companies occupy the top three spaces in the largest grossing movies of the year, according to Box Office Mojo. While that is a great accomplishment, you may find it surprising that Disney has almost had as many flops in 2016 as it has had hits. There is reason to believe the trend could continue this way for the remainder of the year.
Marvel has certainly been a cash cow for Disney. Captain America: Civil War is one of only two movies to top $1 billion at the box office. While the summer blockbuster season just seems to have kicked off, there is no reason to believe any other movies will hit such lofty goals as Civil War has this summer, or possibly the rest of the year.
The Jungle Book has been a pleasant surprise. It has outperformed some of the loftiest expectations, and it has moved Disney to explore adapting even more of their classic animation titles into live action motion pictures. Just this April, as reported by Oh My Disney, the “House of Mouse” outlined the future, and animated-turned-live-action seemed to be the norm. Beauty and the Beast, Dumbo, Mary Poppins, and Cruella are among the almost 10 movies that will see adaptations in the near future.
The animation division has done its part in 2016 to keep the competition at bay. The only other movie this year to hit $1 billion this year is Zootopia. Zootopia, coupled with Frozen in 2013, has put Disney Animation back on the map. In fact, Disney Animation Studios no longer plays second fiddle to Disney-owned Pixar. Everything seems to be clicking on all cylinders, but upon further review, there is one area that Disney just can’t seem to hit a homerun with.
The two flops Disney has had this year are The Finest Hours and Alice Through the Looking Glass. This is in stark contrast to where the live action department was just a few years ago. Riding high off of The Pirates of the Caribbean, Disney seemed to hit a brick wall with John Carter and The Lone Ranger.
The Finest Hours made just north of $27 million domestically, and it only managed $52 million worldwide. Coming off a huge summer and the reintroduction of Star Wars, early 2016 was light for major releases. The Finest Hours, the true story of a daring Coast Guard rescue, looked to capitalize on this, but it failed miserably.
Alice Through the Looking Glass is even more of a surprising flop. Disney expected to go head-to-head with X-Men: Apocalypse and win. After all, the original Alice in Wonderland grossed over $1 billion, and Johnny Depp was reprising his role as the Mad Hatter. While X-Men: Apocalypse certainly disappointed, it has managed to beat Alice, proving the box office can be unpredictable.
Where does this leave Disney for the remainder of the year? There is every reason to believe that Finding Dory should be the only other movie with a chance to hit the $1 billion mark this year, but the rest of the year could be hit or miss. This could leave the studio wondering if they should rethink their strategy.
The BFG hits theaters July 1. The often overlooked book by Roald Dahl is directed by Steven Spielberg. While that meant something ten years ago, it doesn’t quite hold as much weight, today.
Pete’s Dragon, The Light Between Oceans, and Queen of Katwe are all coming out in September. Pete’s Dragon has had its share of critics since the release of the trailer. The Light Between Oceans and Queen of Katwe have had little to no press, which doesn’t help their chances.
November is up in the air at the moment. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson lends his voice to Disney Animation’s Moana. Marvel brings their second movie of the year out, as well. Doctor Strange is definitely a second-tier character. While Marvel hopes to catch Ant-Man type dollars, Strange looks to be a more psychologically-driven story as opposed to action.
Finally, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story releases in December. A reshoot has been ordered for the first Star Wars movie outside of the episodic adventures. This leaves many wondering if there are problems.
What do you think of the Disney lineup? Have they overextended themselves, or do you think Disney is right where it needs to be?
[Image via Disney]