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9 Upcoming Disney Movies We’re Worried About After 2023’s Box Office Struggles


Summary

  • Disney’s box office struggles in 2023 raise concerns for future releases under its banner.
  • The declining interest in the MCU and Pixar’s recent disappointing performances may impact the box office returns for The Marvels, Captain America: Brave New World, Wish, and Elio.
  • The live-action remakes of Snow White and Moana could be at risk after the underwhelming commercial performance of The Little Mermaid and the waning interest in Disney’s remakes.

Following 2023’s box office struggles, future releases under Disney’s ever-growing banner could also be in danger of the same fate. During the period of the mid-to-late 2010s, Disney’s various franchises saw the conglomerate rise to the top of the box office charts year after year. From the record-breaking entries of the Star Wars and MCU franchises to the studios’ Pixar or live-action recreation efforts, the top five box office grosses between 2015 and 2020 often largely consisted of Disney properties from one franchise or another.

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That said, 2023 has been a somewhat worrying year for the franchises under Disney’s banner up to this point. The highly-anticipated Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and The Little Mermaid managed to break even with worldwide grosses of $476 million and $566 million respectively, though both were expected to perform better. Disney’s other major releases of the year, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny and Haunted Mansion, significantly underperformed at the box office, becoming major bombs for Disney. On top of middling returns for Pixar’s latest effort Elemental, 2023’s underwhelming box office raises cause for concern regarding a set number of upcoming Disney movies.

Related: 12 Major Movies That Have Bombed At The Box Office In 2023 (So Far)

9 The Marvels

The official poster for The Marvels

The first of Disney’s future releases that could repeat the underperformance of other 2023 movies is The Marvels, one of Marvel’s upcoming movies. Despite being a sequel to Captain Marvel, a film that grossed over $1 billion worldwide in 2019, the overall interest in the MCU is waning of late. Not only are general audiences not flocking to see each installment on the same level as they were before 2020 – as evident by only one MCU movie surpassing $1 billion since Spider-Man: Far From Home in 2019 – but even diehard MCU fans are more critical of the franchise recently.

Unlike its predecessor, The Marvels is not tied into a huge MCU event movie like Avengers: Endgame, which may also impact its box office. The first Captain Marvel was also fairly controversial within a certain sect of the Marvel fanbase which could see reduced numbers buying tickets for the sequel when also combined with the unfortunately less-than-popular character of Ms. Marvel. As such, Disney’s various woes at the 2023 box office could continue with The Marvels when the next MCU installment releases on November 10, 2023.

8 Wish

Concept art of Pixar's upcoming Wish movie

Another potential worry regarding box office returns for Disney in 2023 is Pixar’s Wish. The film is set to be released in November 2023, with Pixar’s track record in recent years being a cause for concern. While Elemental‘s box office run overcame its poor start to gross $443 million worldwide on a $200 million budget, it continued a less-than-stellar run for Pixar. While Turning Red, Luca, and Soul did not receive wide releases in either the U.S. or worldwide due to COVID-19, Lightyear and Onward both released to diminishing returns which certainly does not bode well for the upcoming Wish.

7 Elio

Pixar Elio new movie concept art

In the same vein as Wish is Elio, one of Pixar’s upcoming movie releases. Elio will be looking to hopefully buck the same trend as Wish, that being the poor box office returns of Pixar’s recent efforts. The aforementioned Lightyear and Onward finished their box office runs with worldwide totals of $226 million and $141 million respectively. With the former having a budget of $200 million and the latter costing $175-$200 million to produce, Pixar desperately needs a win with Elio especially after its parent companies disappointing 2023 results.

6 Snow White

Rachel Zegler as Snow White in the 2024 live adaptation

One of the two planned live-action remakes being released by Disney in 2024 is Snow White. The film will follow suit from the likes of The Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, and The Little Mermaid and recreate the original Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in live-action. Despite most Disney live-action remakes performing, 2023’s The Little Mermaid disappointed commercially due to the film’s high budget. Snow White‘s budget is reportedly $160 million, with the film hopefully earning enough to turn a profit and positively change Disney’s 2023 fortunes.

5 Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

An ape riding on a horse in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

A continuation of rebooted Planet of the Apes series is set to be released by Disney in May 2024. The film will continue the rebooted franchise that began with Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011. The highest-grossing installment in the trilogy was 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes with a $710 million worldwide gross. The other two films were successes, both garnering between $480-$490 million worldwide hauls. Despite this, Disney’s recent failures like Indiana Jones 5 saw that previously-successful IPs alone were not enough to warrant success, throwing Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ box office run into doubt.

4 Inside Out 2

Inside-Out-2-Joy-Not-Main-Character

The second of Disney’s 2024 Pixar releases is Inside Out 2. Much like Wish and Elio before it, the film faces an uphill battle regarding box office success. Hopefully, the extremely positive reaction to the first movie will be enough to see Inside Out 2 buck the trend of Pixar’s disappointing performances of late and bring a much-needed win for Disney after 2023’s failures.

3 Mufasa: The Lion King

Simba and Mufasa in The Lion King (2019)

Of all the films that could be affected by Disney’s 2023 box office woes, Mufasa: The Lion King is the most interesting. One would be forgiven for assuming this film would perform well considering the staggering $1.6 billion return of the live-action remake of The Lion King in 2019. However, many agree that 2019’s The Lion King did not capture the same heart and emotion as its animated counterpart, despite the overwhelmingly successful box office returns.

Furthermore, the concept of an origin story for Mufasa is not a story that was clamored for after the release of 2019’s The Lion King. As such, Barry Jenkins’ Mufasa: The Lion King could suffer the same fate as Disney’s other 2023 releases. Being attached to a previously well-performing, established IP may not be enough to make the film a success, with Disney’s recent woes making the movie look much more of a risk than when it was initially announced.

2 Captain America: Brave New World

Sam Wilson as Captain America next to a logo for HYDRA in the MCU

Aside from The Marvels, Captain America: Brave New World could suffer the consequences of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s 2023 failure. Captain America: Brave New World will also have to contend with the growing disregard for MCU movies that has plagued recent entries. Naturally, the film could be very well-received and perform better commercially as a result like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 proved was possible in 2022 and 2023 respectively. If not though, the worldwide box office total of Ant-Man 3 in light of poor reviews makes Captain America 4 somewhat more risky for Disney.

1 Moana

Moana Disney

Finally, the live-action remake of Moana could be seen as a risk for Disney after 2023’s failures. The Little Mermaid made it clear that interest in Disney’s various live-action remakes is waning in comparison to 2019’s Aladdin and The Lion King. Similar to 2024’s Mufasa: The Lion King, a remake of Moana was something that no one was particularly asking for. The film will also be coming only nine years after the release of the original, which could further see it result in less interest from audiences. Regardless, it is clear many of Disney’s upcoming properties can now be seen as risks, mostly due to the underwhelming results of 2023’s various releases.

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