BOX OFFICE: Another “Wakanda” wipe out, “Strange World” Bombs

“Wakanda Forever” has yet to have a steep STEEP drop-off in interest and ticket sales. But if $55 million is all it manages over the five day “Thanksgiving” weekend, it’s easy to see it won’t be setting any serious” “all time” box office records, pre or post-pandemic. It will still have cleared $400 million by next weekend.

But that’s not the BIG story this weekend.

With “Strange World,” Disney Feature Animation has delivered a bomb for the ages, an $18-23 million opening, less than half of what lesser Disney and Pixar fare typically delivers…during a THREE day weekend. Considering the film’s $180-200 million, that’s disastrous.

How’d that happen? As I mentioned on this site as I headed into the screening, this movie’s pre-release profile was almost invisible, unless kids were seeing the trailers on Disney+ et al.

Were those trailers “selling” it? No, they weren’t. No, they didn’t.

Disney knew what it had, and didn’t figure it was worth more cash to promote it. Even streaming it exclusively means they’d have had to eat its entire budget, because nobody is signing up for Disney+ just to watch this.

Keep an eye and an ear out for your more openly racist and homophobic conservatives laying this at the feet of how “woke” the film is. Yes, it’s got a diverse cast telling an environmental parable story. And yes there are times Disney focuses on that and loses track of storytelling basics.

That seems to be the Achilles heel of co-director and screenwriter Qui Nguyen, who may have been getting lots of studio exec/marketing “notes” about who and what to include, just as he must have for “Raya and the Last Dragon.” I’d hate to lay this at his feet because of what we don’t know about how straightjacketed he was, but from where I sit, that’s two crap scripts Disney has committed to film in some pursuit of perhaps “excluded” audiences that haven’t had their stories told on screen before. And this is the guy who wrote them.

Diversity has to be a given, but once you’ve accomplished that, the real work is making this inclusion melt effortlessly into a compelling story. “Strange World” is a cut-and-paste adventure tale built on an environmental parable, and there’s barely an exciting or amusing moment in it. Inclusive or not, it flatlines from the get-go.

“Glass Onion” may put $12-13 million or so in Netflix’s pockets from its theatrical opening this 5-day weekend. It comes to the streamer next month.

I caught “Devotion,” the race-and-the-Korean War drama which Sony put out without press screening in most markets, at a matinee with an elderly Black Vietnam War era vet the only other soul in the theater. It’ll make $9 million over five days.

“The Menu” serves up another $7 million, rolling out wide but not getting a huge amount of live.

Shockingly, Cannibalism: A Love Story, aka “Bones & All,” isn’t making much over America’s favorite EATING holiday weekend — $3.4.

“The Fabelmans” is on almost 700 screens at this stage in its platforming release, a decent per-screen average will give this Spielberg visit to his childhood about $3.4 million by midnight Sunday.

“She Said” is proving its hard to find an audience for an expose of how women reporters broke a sensational Hollywood sexual abuse scandal, earning just $1.4 million this weekend.

UPDATED. Here are the weekend (not five day) takes courtesy @boxofficepro

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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4 Responses to BOX OFFICE: Another “Wakanda” wipe out, “Strange World” Bombs

  1. Reality Check says:

    Disney got woke and went broke.

    When will companies learn?

    • Roger Moore says:

      That’s not why nobody’s showing up, but sure. If you need to believe that.

      • Murph says:

        It is definitely why a lot of people aren’t showing up.

      • Roger Moore says:

        Disney abandoned it before release. They knew it wasn’t very good. Might have had a hand in why they swapped CEOs. But most people claiming they “won’t go becuz it’s WOKE” A) don’t have cartoon-age kids B) long ago aged out of going to the movies and/or C) just want to claim credit for killing a movie whose politics they have been told they should dislike.

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