The Walt Disney Company has had a rough time at the box office for a year and a half. Poor numbers with Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023), Strange World (2022), Lightyear (2022), and others have caused the studio to lose hundreds of millions with each film. This unfortunate trend for Walt Disney Studios seems to be staying on track with Haunted Mansion (2023). In fact, the film may lose the studio another $225 million, bringing Disney’s total to a nearly $2 billion loss at the box office over the past 15 months.
Over 1 Year of Flops
Beginning with the animated film Lightyear (2022), Walt Disney Studios has yet to turn a profit with any movie they’ve released over the past ten films (some MAY eventually break even…)
The list includes Lightyear (2022), Thor Love and Thunder (2022), Strange World (2022), Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022), Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023), Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 3 (2023), The Little Mermaid (2023), Elemental (2023), Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023), and the Haunted Mansion (2023).
The cost of all ten films, including production, marketing, and distribution, is estimated to a little over $4 billion. However, the total amount the films have brought in is approximately $2.31 billion, equalling an overall loss of around $1.865 million.
Haunted Mansion (2023)
Haunted Mansion (2023) has been reported to cost nearly $150 million to produce and an estimated $150 million to market and distribute. However, as of this past weekend, the film sits at ticket sales of $75.5 million. The film starring Tiffany Haddish, Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito, Lakeith Stanfield, and others, continues the trend of Disney films not performing at the box office. Some may point to the movie’s low performance as the cast scaling back from promotional events due to the current SAG-AFTRA strike. However, Disney fans and those who love the attraction from Disneyland and Walt Disney World are still not showing up at theaters, at least not in the volume Disney needs.
Unless there’s a sudden surge of interest in the next week or two, it seems likely that this 10th box office bomb for Disney will put them at an almost $2 billion loss in theatrical releases. The upcoming MCU movie, The Marvels (2023) expected to be released this fall, but it, too, is not likely to be a rousing success for the Walt Disney Company.
Disney Movies vs. Disney Theme Parks
To put the figure of $2 billion into theme Park language – $1 billion is the approximate budget that Universal Studios is using to build their Epic Universe theme Park (and the amount the Walt Disney Company spent to create Animal Kingdom). So, in theory, Disney could have made TWO new theme parks comparable in size, scope, and ambition to current Universal and Disney Parks.
Two new theme parks or ten box office flops? I know which of those two options I’d rather see! However, it seems unlikely that the company or Disney CEO Bob Iger will do anything so drastic as…invest more money in theme parks (despite it being the company’s main source of revenue).
But whatever the Walt Disney Company decides to do, it needs to figure out a plan fast. A film studio can weather a box office failure every so often…but when it’s losing the company money at a rate of almost $2 billion over 15 months – something needs to change. The box office losses are also in addition to the disappointing metrics with Disney Plus subscribers, decrease in stock price, and lower park attendance. Hopefully the Walt Disney Company and/or Bob Iger can figure out a solution that turns Disney back around!