- Disney had a poor 2023, with no billion-dollar movies and a significant drop in earnings.
- The Marvels and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny underperformed at the box office.
- Wish, Disney's latest animated film, also failed to save the studio from a bad year.
Disney came out swinging and guns blazing when they recently announced several upcoming 2024, 2025 and 2026 releases. Bob Iger’s recent CNBC interview gave the public a scoop into where Disney is headed after a less than stellar 2023 in which the studio failed to release a billion-dollar movie, a surprising state of affairs considering Disney has been making yearly billion-dollar properties consistently. A poor 2023 saw earnings plummet, forcing Iger to appease investors by announcing the release of Moana 2, Zootopia 2, Frozen 3, and Toy Story 5.
RELATED: Disney & Marvel Don’t Have A Billion Dollar Movie In 2023
Box Office Blunders
2023 saw Disney dethroned by Universal as the dominant film studio after a stellar run as the top earner each year going back to 2016. Last year, the company had a surprising (and disappointing) number of flops, which hurt Disney’s earnings and brand. It may have been enjoying too much success over the years and started to take things for granted. Still, movies like The Marvels, Antman and the Wasp: Quantamania, and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny all underperformed, with The Marvels ($206.1 million) and the Dial of Destiny ($384 million) coming in with some of the lowest earnings.
The Marvels should have made far more money at the till, considering the first Captain Marvel made a billion dollars; what went wrong there? Analysts can have a field day unpacking that disaster. Another Hindenburg for Disney was Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, which, honestly, should have made a billion at the box office. Indiana Jones is a fan favourite, and the chance to see Harrison Ford one last time in his iconic role should have compelled audiences to rush to theatres to see the movie. Sadly, the franchise was mortally wounded and eked its way to that embarrassing box office total.
Even Disney’s latest animated film, Wish, was unable to save the studio from an awful year.
Mistakes and Missteps
Disney’s writers, producers, and directors were given carte blanche to do as they please; why they had such freedom needs to be answered. The company was haemorrhaging money due to underperforming franchises, which previously yielded mammoth returns at the box office.
Disney+, rather than supplement and bolster Marvel’s cinematic releases, backstabbed mainline franchises by alienating fans and audiences via poorly rated shows like She-Hulk, Secret Invasion and Ms Marvel. Furthermore, cinematic releases like The Marvels and Antman and The Wasp: Quantamania failed to impress filmgoers who stayed away in droves, refusing to support the films.
The double blow of bland Disney+ series and lacklustre film releases directly impacted the company’s streaming subscriptions, which suffered a massive loss last year and an unbelievable one million unsubscribed members in the first month of 2024 alone.
Subscription price increases were said to be the cause. Still, consumers were incentivized to dump the streaming service because of a poor creative output, often infused with an overt politically correct slant that puts the company at odds with much of its consumer base.
RELATED: Disney Removes Beloved Character in Response to Negative Audience Feedback
Moana 2, Zootopia 2, Frozen 3, and Toy Story 5
Bob Iger and the board made a desperate pitch on CNBC and announced Moana 2, a surprise move as few knew it would be released this year on November 27. Iger knows that these tentpoles can attract large audiences, and the company will look to exploit its best IPs to set the company back on course. Audiences can also expect Zootopia 2 in November 2025, while Toystory 5 and Frozen 3 will be released in 2026. But will Disney manage to turn things around with Moana 2, Zootopia 2, Frozen 3, and Toy Story 5? We’ll have to wait and see.
RELATED: Why Disney Needs to Stop Creating Live-Action Remakes of Classic Movies
Will these upcoming releases fix the problems at Disney? Did you want a Moana 2, Zootopia 2, Frozen 3, and Toy Story 5?