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Disney Anticipates Another Catastrophe as ‘Wish’ Opens to Empty Theaters

Disney Wish box office
Credit: Disney

After a flurry of Disney hype, the studio’s new animated film Wish (2023) is finally in theaters, and the reviews have been a mixed bag of love and disappointment. Fans were pumped for what could be the Walt Disney Company’s next Frozen (2013) and save it from a string of box office failures. However, the entertainment giant is now in panic mode.

Many Critics and Disney’s biggest detractors bombarded the film with negative reviews. Disney, hungry for a box office win, might be in for another letdown as early peeks suggest Wish hasn’t brought people to theaters in any meaningful way.

Disney Wish movie review

Credit: Disney

Disney Wish Box Office

Box Office analysts were decently generous when predicting the film’s opening profits during the popular Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Many anticipated a $45-50 million domestic showing.

Furthermore, it was noted that the film could at least reach the financial success of Moana (2017). However, early previews and the film’s opening day have revealed a dire situation.

According to Box Office Report, Wish has made an estimated two-day total of $12.20 million domestically. This is lower than anticipated, and many analysts are now predicting a measly $30 million showing over the weekend.

Disney’s Wish grossed an estimated $3.90M on Thanksgiving Thursday (from 3,900 locations). Estimated 2-day total domestic gross stands at $12.20M.

Empty Theaters and Another Potential Flop

Some people on social media have acknowledged that showings of Wish in their local theaters have been surprisingly empty. Animated Disney films have a long history of dominating the box office on the Thanksgiving holiday week. The company has now gone several years without performing well in this period.

Wild to have worked so many stressful Thanksgivings as a former movie theatre employee contrast against seeing a Disney animated feature today in a nearly empty theatre.

Wish also has the hurdle of overcoming a large $200 million budget. Disney has notoriously spent a lot of money on its recent releases and failed to make up the loss. In contrast, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (2023) was also released this month and is expected to outperform Wish on a budget of around $100 million.

asha from Disney's Wish film

Credit: Disney

Related: Wish Doesn’t Disappoint, Critics Just Thrive on Disney Failing

Could Wish Surprise Us?

It is important to note that this early showing isn’t all doom and gloom for Wish. The most popular time to see a movie during the Thanksgiving holiday is actually on Friday night. Black Friday gets many families out shopping all day, and winding down in the evening with a movie is a trend with these shoppers.

Furthermore, Wish might be a slow burn in its success. Recent films such as Pixar’s Elemental (2023) started off slow with a similar $30 million opening weekend. However, it remained consistent throughout its time in theaters, eventually becoming a moderate success for the studio.

Disney fans have mostly praised Wish. You can find many people who took to social media to say that they enjoyed the movie, especially the music, and nods to Disney’s past as it celebrates its 100th anniversary.

asha, valentino, and star from Disney's wish film

Credit: Disney

However, the other end of the spectrum hasn’t been as kind. Critics and analysts have attacked everything from the songs to the animation, which blends traditional 2-D watercolor animation with Disney’s usual 3-D style.

Wish currently holds an 82% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes against a 50% critics score. If the movie is to succeed, it will definitely be by word of mouth and not by critic approval.

Wish tells the story of a girl named Asha, voiced by Ariana DeBose. She lives in the Kingdom of Rosas and makes a wish on a star after she discovers the ruler of Rosas, King Magnifico, voiced by Chris Pine,  has been hoarding the wishes of his people and not allowing them to pursue their dreams.

With music by Julia Michaels and lead by Disney veterans Chris Buck, Fawn Veerasunthorn, and Jennifer Lee, Wish has a lot riding on it to bring Disney back from a troubled year.

About Michael Stoyanoff

Michael is a goofball with an entertainment background and a passion for writing. He has a long history of being a Disney fan and is still a lost boy at heart. In his free time, he enjoys running, playing video games, and traveling the world. He is also unnaturally obsessed with pugs and spends a lot of time with his dog Mr. Pippers the Pug.

One comment

  1. Disney needs a blockbuster? Two words…Johnny Depp. POTC. One more, with the one and only original Jack Sparrow.