Disney's film 'Wish' performs poorly over Thanksgiving after box office disappointments

Disney's latest animated film, "Wish," did not meet expectations during its opening weekend, continuing a trend of disappointing box office results for the company in its centennial year. The film earned $19.5 million in box office sales domestically, with a total of $31.8 million over the five-day period. CNBC had predicted an opening weekend earning between $45-$55 million.

Instead, moviegoers opted for "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes," which grossed $28.8 million over the weekend. "Napoleon," a historical drama, also outperformed "Wish" with $20.4 million in box office earnings. This disappointment follows a series of underperforming films from Disney in 2023, including Marvel's "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania," "The Little Mermaid," Pixar's "Elemental," "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny," and "Haunted Mansion".

Critics have suggested that Disney's insertion of "woke" politics into its family-friendly entertainment has alienated audiences. Conservative commentators have accused the company of "virtue signaling" with its casting choices in live-action remakes of "The Little Mermaid" and "Snow White." The star of the upcoming "Snow White" remake, Rachel Zegler, has also faced backlash for her negative comments about the original 1937 animated film.

In contrast, previous Disney films have enjoyed much more successful holiday weekend openings. "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" earned $63.8 million in 2022, "Encanto" earned $40.6 million in 2021, and "Frozen 2" earned over $125 million in 2019 over the same five-day period.

Disney CEO Bob Iger, who returned to the position last year, has expressed a desire to reduce controversy and show respect for the audience. He stated, "Do I like the company being embroiled in controversy? Of course not. It can be distracting, and it can have a negative impact on the company. And to the extent that I can work to kind of quiet things down, I’m going to do that".


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