The Walt Disney Animation Studios films once dominated the Thanksgiving holiday weekend at the box office, but that was not the case for Strange World. The newest film from the studio earned mostly good reviews from critics, yet it failed to attract any buzz. It is estimated that Disney may lose between $100 million and $147 million.
Strange World debuted to just $18.6 million over the extended Thanksgiving weekend. Outside of North America, the movie grossed only $9.4 million, bringing its worldwide total to $28.3 million. This is one of Disney's worst opening weekends in the studio's history. It at least finished ahead of West Side Story's $10.5 million opening but was behind Encanto ($27.2 million) and Lightyear ($51 million).
"Normally this time of year, a Disney family film is the big draw," senior ComScore analyst Paul Dergarabedian told Variety. "It shows we're still recovering and adapting to the constraints of the pandemic."
Variety's sources estimate that Strange World could lead to Disney taking a $100 million loss unless there is a shocking rebound for the film in the next few weeks. Deadline's estimate was even worse, with the outlet estimating a $147 million loss for Disney. Strange World also earned a muted B grade from audiences polled by CinemaScore, earning the lowest CinemaScore grade for all Disney animated films since 1991.
"This is a weak opening by Disney animation standards," David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research told Variety. "At a cost of $180 million, plus marketing expenses, the film will finish in the red, even with good ancillary income."
Strange World wasn't the only movie to underperform during Thanksgiving weekend. Disney's latest Marvel movie, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, grossed just $46 million, which was enough to be the number one movie. It also made up nearly half of the entire box office for the weekend, notes Indiewire. The Korean War drama Devotion also earned just $9 million in its first weekend. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story is estimated to have earned $12.5 million. (Netflix is refusing to release results for Glass Onion, leaving rival studios and analysts to only estimate how the film is doing during its one-week theatrical run.)
Strange World was directed by Don Hall (Moana, Big Hero 6) and written by Qui Nguyen (Raya and the Last Dragon). It was inspired by pulp magazines and classic science fiction stories. Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Gabrielle Union, Lucy Liu and Alan Tudyk are members of the voice cast. Jaboukie Young-White voices Ethan Clade, the first LGBTQ teenage character featured in an animated Disney film. Disney plans to release the film on Disney+ around Christmas, but an exact date hasn't been announced yet.