2023 has been an interesting year at the box office for The Walt Disney Company, to put it nicely. Despite a couple of disappointments, there are still some positives for the famed studio at the box office.
The Little Mermaid
A tirade of backlash regarding Halle Bailey’s casting as Ariel has hurt this project since day one. What was thought to be a billion-dollar smash like Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast remakes before it, the film did not find great international success, mainly from China. That said, The Little Mermaid was able to break even on its $250 million production cost and a reported $140 million marketing cost. While some say it needed $560 Million to do so, trusted insiders say it needed $525 Million, as of today the film is at $560M. Whispers of a sequel have made the rounds online and according to sources, Disney will move forward with one.
Elemental has experienced a remarkable box office rebound following its underwhelming $29 million opening weekend. It is in its 6th week of release and has crossed $359 million worldwide. The film is 6th at the box office despite major competition from Barbie, Oppenheimer, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning, Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, The Flash, and Insidious: The Red Door. The film did break even and could make a tiny bit of profit if it continues to show some legs, which will be tough. The production budget for Elemental was approximately $200 million, not including promotional expenses. Industry estimates suggest that the film must generate around $400 million in box office revenue to become profitable. With that, this is Disney’s most successful animated film since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
I may have been the only person on the planet that saw this coming. If you listened to our podcast The DisInsider Show, I said many times Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny has failure written all over it. An 80-year-old Indiana Jones movie coming off a horribly reviewed Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is not the right move and the box office shows that. The fifth entry in the iconic franchise sits at a worldwide total of $335 million; However, the film’s production budget was over $300 million. There is no sugarcoating it, Disney will take a financial hit. Lucasfilm is developing multiple new Indiana Jones projects, though, it is unknown if these will be spinoffs or remakes or both.
Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania was a failure grossing $476 million worldwide against a $200 million budget. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 on the other hand was a box office smash grossing $773.3 million worldwide. Add in some box office revenue from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Avatar: The Way of Water and The Walt Disney Company has grossed over $3 billion worldwide in 2023.
Disney will hope to finish the year strong with upcoming releases including Haunted Mansion, The Creator, A Haunting in Venice, The Marvels, Next Goal Wins, and Wish.