Disney Film Featuring Gay Main Character Bombs at Box Office
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Disney suffered one of its worst theatrical releases ever with its latest animated film, Strange World, which grossed just $18.6 million over the five-day holiday weekend, despite being heralded as the first Disney film to feature an openly gay protagonist.
Strange World had Disney's second-worst opening weekend ever, behind only the pandemic-era release of Steven Spielberg-directed West Side Story, Variety reported Sunday. Ultimately, Strange World made only about half of its projected long weekend earnings.
The film featured a star-studded cast, including voice actors for Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Lucy Liu and Gabrielle Union, and had a huge budget of between $120 million and $130 million, the Daily Mail writes.
Expectations for Strange World were initially high, as Disney predicted the film would make between $30 million and $40 million over the long weekend. However, those numbers were quickly and significantly revised downwards when it became known how poorly the film was received by audiences.
As with other recent Disney animated films, including Lightyear (another disappointing box-office flop), Strange World attempted to incorporate progressive concerns into the film, including an openly gay lead character for the first time in Disney history. However, one liberal film critic said Disney would likely use homophobia to protect it from the film's apparent flaws.
"Disney will 100% blame STRANGE WORLD's inevitable box office failure on the fact that there is an openly gay character in the film, when in reality he flopped because they didn't market him at all. They will use this as an excuse to never have a queer reputation again," film critic Jordan Woodson tweeted last week.
Aside from the progressive emphasis, the film just wasn't entertaining for some. "I took the kids to the cinema today to watch a Disney cartoon called Strange World. Within 10 minutes of watching the movie, my 10-year-old son said, "Dad, I don't feel like watching this movie. Can we go?' We went. Disney officials have forgotten who the PAYING customer is," tweeted popular podcaster Patrick Bet-David.
Disney's latest flop follows the return of its legendary former CEO Bob Iger, who is expected to turn the ailing company on its head following multiple financial setbacks. Iger takes over Bob Chapek, who openly championed progressive social causes while running the media company and drew the ire of Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Florida Republicans.
Disney+, the company's touted streaming service, has lost more than $8 billion since its launch three years ago.
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