In just a few short weeks, Walt Disney Animation Studios is set to release its next highly-anticipated feature film. Disney’s Wish is a culmination of the company’s 100 years as a beloved animated storyteller. All eyes are watching to see if the studio can land a home run before the year’s end, but Disney may have once again sabotaged its own success.
There is much to look forward to with Disney’s Wish movie. It has an amazing cast, fantastic music, and a unique animation style never before used by the entertainment giant. However, Disney still has a nasty habit of investing too much money into its recent films.
An Emerging Disney Financial Trend
Wish has a reported budget of around $200 million. This is a noticeable increase over many of Disney’s previous film endeavors and a trend that has caused more harm than good for the suffering company.
High-profile original films like Moana (2016) and Zootopia (2016) hovered around the $150 million budget estimate. Even the behemoth sequel Frozen 2 (2019) only cost the company around the same investment to create.
However, Disney has started throwing way more into its post-COVID offerings, and it has almost always returned to haunt it. Lightyear (2022) and Strange World (2022) were the most recent films that set Disney back over $200 million and failed even to come close to turning a profit.
Even Elemental (2023) hit this mark and was written off as dead before slowly creeping into success. However, it was not the guaranteed financial return that Disney had been used to for over a decade.
Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023) was the pinnacle of this destructive budget habit. The film reportedly cost $295 million to make. While COVID-19 protocols and production setbacks quickly inflated this number, Disney expected a major return on its investment due to franchise reliability. However, it became a massive failure at the box office.
For further reference to how destructive these budgets have been, you can look at Universal and Illumination’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023). The film managed to be one of the biggest successes of the year, passing $1 billion at the worldwide box office on a budget of $100 million.
Disney’s Wish Movie Box Office Predictions
Box Office Pro has estimated that Wish will pull in about $45 to $65 million in its opening weekend. This is a modestly strong range and would set the film to be the best original Disney release opening since Coco (2017), according to Deadline.
Meeting this expectation would place Wish in line to reach the numbers generated by Moana during its theatrical run. However, it must climb over the extra $50 million hurdle generated by its insane budget before it would even begin to compete with the success of that movie.
It’s not all doom and gloom for Wish. Disney has recently upped its advertising campaign to build hype for the movie. Early song releases such as “This Wish” and Chris Pine’s villainous “The Thanks I Get” number have been met with strong social media praise.
Furthermore, pre-sales for the film have been doing much better than many of Disney’s recent titles, including its latest major success in Encanto (2021), which also notably only had a budget of $150 million.
Wish is also releasing on the popular Thanksgiving holiday week. It has no major competitors for its core audience coming in that week. If Disney can convince its fans to go to the theaters and word of mouth generates positive reviews of the film, it might just push out a win before the end of the year.
Wishing For Success
Wish tells the story of the origins of the wishing star made popular in so many of Disney’s previous films. It stars Ariana DeBose as Asha and Chris Pine as the villain Magnifico. Alan Tudyk lends his voice to Asha’s goat sidekick, Valentino.
Frozen (2012) veteran director Chris Buck directs the film with Raya and the Last Dragon (2021) story developer Fawn Veerasunthorn co-directing. Jennifer Lee, who wrote Frozen, is also involved in writing the film.
Disney Dining has a lot of excitement for Wish. We hope for its success and will report on all news surrounding the film up to and including the release date. Let’s hope it can break through its inflated budget and give Disney a much-needed victory!