DVD Release DateDisney misses $1 billion mark at box office for first time since...

Disney misses $1 billion mark at box office for first time since 2014

  • Disney has not released a billion-dollar movie in 2023, breaking their streak since 2014.
  • Major releases like The Marvels, Indiana Jones, and The Little Mermaid failed to meet box office expectations.
  • The emergence of streaming platforms like Disney+ and the pandemic have negatively affected movie theater attendance.

For the first time since 2014, Disney has failed to release a movie that surpasses the billion-dollar mark at the box office in 2023. Notable releases such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Indiana Jones sequel, and the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid did not achieve the expected level of success.

Throughout 2023, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny ($384 million), The Haunted Mansion ($182.3 million), and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania ($476.1 million) all significantly underperformed at the box office. The Little Mermaid garnered $569 million worldwide, far from a failure but still paling in comparison to the billion-dollar successes of previous live-action remakes like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast.

The Marvels, the latest movie in the MCU, experienced a dramatic drop with a worldwide gross of $188.8 million. The movie has been described as a box office bomb and is likely to become the lowest-grossing Marvel film ever. Shawn Robbins, the chief analyst at Boxoffice Pro, explains why Disney and other studios are having trouble reaching previous financial milestones:

“Disney set an impossibly high bar for itself during the 2010s, firing every cannon in its arsenal. The downside to success is that it becomes expected every time. The studio was always going to be in a challenged position when the well started to run dry.””

Disney’s animated movie Wish has also underperformed at the box office, earning a worldwide total of $48.9 million. Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations, comments on this misfire and refers to Disney as “mere mortals.”

“It’s not just Disney; the other studios have also suffered setbacks in this post-pandemic world. That said, Disney’s misfires certainly are the most prolific considering where they are now versus where they were. And where were they? On the box office throne. Nearly untouchable. Now? Mere mortals.”

Aside from the pandemic’s impact on theaters, analysts have also pointed to the rise of Disney+ and other streaming platforms as a major factor in Disney’s box office decline. Movie consultant David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research explains:

“At the beginning of the pandemic, the industry embraced short-term thinking and threw itself into the streaming business without thinking about what that might do to moviegoing when the pandemic ended. The stock market rewarded it. Audiences became comfortable, and the value of the big screen dropped. By the time Wall Street pulled the plug, the theatrical experience was damaged.””

While Disney did experience some successes in 2023, such as Pixar’s Elemental ($495.9 million) and the MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 ($845.6 million), it appears that Disney and other studios will need to find new ways to attract audiences back to theaters.