The Thanksgiving holiday is usually a time of family enjoyment: Folks have time off, get together for feasting, and often take in the newest flick at the theater. This year was no different unless you are part and parcel of the Walt Disney conglomerate. With the fanfare of the superior-mindset folks, the new animated movie from the Happiest Kingdom — Strange World — premiered to, well, hardly anyone. Maybe Disney did not kick former CEO Bob Chapek to the curb quite fast enough.
To put it into financial perspective, Strange World raked in $4.2 million. However, in the same Thanksgiving time frame of 2021, Disney soared with the family animation Encanto, which collected $40.3 million on day one. That’s a helluva E-ticket rollercoaster ride to the bottom. Especially when other releases like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever basked in long box office lines and the studio money minions laboriously count and recount their $63 million debut.
Is Disney waving the white flag of self-sabotage, or is this all a big misunderstanding?
Being Woke Has Made a Better Mouse Trap
Strange World follows the Clades, a family of adventurers who explore and traverse numerous planets as the only dysfunctional family that can save the world. But the undercurrent of bludgeoning peer pressure directed at the audience created a pretentious, predictable product that left observers crawling out of the multiplex on bloodied hands and knees. Let’s allow noted film critic Simon Abrams to explain:
“All the basic elements of ‘Strange World’ Disney’s sci-fi/fantasy flick are familiar. There’s a family of adventurers, a dire mission to save the planet from a mysterious ecological crisis, an absent father, three generations of insecure men, and a bunch of under-developed female supporting characters whose placeholder personalities range from strong to loving.”
The new release has excellent cartoon and celebrity creds as well. Directed by Don Hall and with a score composed by Henry Jackman, it features Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, and Lucy Liu. Pretty big names for a flop about to lose $147 million.
Moviegoers also reviewed the latest Disney disaster in online forums. “It beats you over the head with its messaging: we, as a species, must curb our dependence on fossil fuels and p***y,” complained a not-so-politically-correct Paul Lucci. “But seriously, it’s just kind of boring, and the not-subtle-at-all-messaging gets tiresome, EVEN IF YOU BELIEVE IN INCLUSIVITY LIKE I DO.” And Michael Sullivan observed, “This movie lacks all the hallmarks of a good movie. It’s a horrible snoozer of a movie for children because of the complex adult messaging.”
Can the Other Bob Reverse Course at Disney?
Bob Iger has been reinstated as the temporary CEO of Disney. Apparently, there had been a deal where Iger would serve in a consultant capacity until 2026 as Chapek learned the ropes. As the Financial Times reported, Bob One would be called from time to time “on such matters as his successor as chief executive officer may request.” Bob Two, Chapek, apparently largely ignored the offer he shouldn’t have refused.
Iger’s ego may have been bruised as he hinted to friends that maybe he could have been helpful in navigating around the rocky shoals of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, which divided the Mousketeers into camps of “don’t say gay” and Ron DeSantis. The Sunshine State governor won that battle, and Disney is paying a hefty price — which prompted the hasty exit of Bob Two from the Magic Kingdom.
As Iger takes over, perhaps he can better serve Disney, the traditional family, and the LGBTQ+ community — all of whom used to love the park — and run the $180 billion business not into the ground but into the history books.
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