Disney’s ‘Wish’ flops over Thanksgiving weekend following series of box office disappointments in 2023

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Disney’s newest animated film, “Wish,” fell short of expectations during its opening weekend, following a year-long pattern of box office fizzles for the company celebrating its centennial of movie-making. 

“Wish” took in $19.5 million in box office sales during its Thanksgiving weekend debut, with $31.8 million earned over the 5-day period, domestically. The film was expected to earn between $45-$55 million its opening weekend, CNBC reported.

Audience-goers instead flocked to “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes,” which drew $28.8 million over the weekend. Historical drama “Napoleon” also beat out the Disney film, earning $20.4 million at the box office, according to Box Office Mojo.

The Disney film followed five other theatrical releases from the studio in 2023 that have failed to attract audiences like in years past.

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Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” “The Little Mermaid,” Pixar’s “Elemental,” “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” and “Haunted Mansion” also were viewed as underperforming at the box office this year.

Some critics have argued Disney has driven away audiences by inserting “woke” politics into its family-friendly entertainment.

Conservative commentators have accused the company of “virtue signaling” for recasting classic characters in its live-action remakes of “The Little Mermaid” and “Snow White.” 

“Snow White” star Rachel Zegler also repelled fans for bashing the 1937 animated film her remake is based on.

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The Walt Disney Company logo on floor of NYSE

However, other Disney films have had far more successful holiday weekend openings in years past.

Disney raked in $63.8 million from Wednesday through Sunday with Marvel’s “Black Panther” sequel, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” in 2022.

“Encanto” earned $40.6 million over the weekend holiday in 2021, while “Frozen 2” earned over $125 million over the same five-day period in 2019.

Reinstated CEO Bob Iger announced last year that he hopes to “quiet” down the controversy surrounding Disney’s involvement in the culture wars and show that the company has “respect” for its audience.

“Do I like the company being embroiled in controversy? Of course not. It can be distracting, and it can have a negative impact on the company. And to the extent that I can work to kind of quiet things down, I’m going to do that,” Iger said during a town hall meeting with employees.

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