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Disney's (DIS) Latest Animated Film Flops at the Box Office

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Disney (DIS - Free Report) announced another box office disappointment as its recent original animated film, Wish, featuring Ariana DeBose as the lead and Chris Pine as the antagonist, failed to resonate with audiences over the holiday break. The movie only managed to generate $31.7 million over the first five days in theaters.

Despite ticket sales being tallied from Wednesday onward, Wish fell significantly short of expectations by Sunday. The company estimated to collect $45-$50 million over the period of five days, but the film struggled to reach those numbers and earned only $31.7 million.

This poses a concerning situation for Disney. Historically, the studio has delivered successful original animated films like Encanto and Coco, both of which enjoyed substantial initial success.

Interestingly, Wish got positive reviews and was well-received by audiences. While there is speculation that the SAG strike may have affected the movie's promotion, it's worth noting that the strike concluded well before the film's release date, leaving the exact reasons for its struggle somewhat unclear.

Shares of Disney, which currently carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell), have gained 10.6% year to date compared with the Zacks Consumer Discretionary sector’s rise of 12.5% due to the poor performance of the company’s recent movies at the box office.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Disney Records Underwhelming Box Office Collection in 2023

For several decades, Disney has held a dominant position as one of the most successful and prominent companies globally, particularly in the realm of films. With a history of producing numerous animated and live-action hits that garnered both financial success and critical acclaim,

Disney faced challenges this year as several of its movies failed to match the success of previous years. Despite starting the year with an exciting lineup, including titles like Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Elemental, a new Haunted Mansion movie and a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, many of these films struggled at the box office.

This year's disappointments include the Indiana Jones revival, which generated only $383 million globally on a $300 million budget, and the Haunted Mansion, which earned $24.1 million domestically in its opening weekend against a $150 million budget. Elemental, a highly anticipated Pixar movie, also faced challenges, recording one of Pixar's lowest-grossing opening weekends at $29.6 million against a $200 million budget.

Disney’s movies also faced significant competition from Sony (SONY - Free Report) , Paramount (PARA - Free Report) and Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF.A - Free Report) . These competitors have released some blockbuster movies throughout the year, which have affected the box office collection of DIS.

Sony released movies like Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Insidious: The Red Door and Napoleon, which garnered a lot of attention. Paramount collected huge amounts with the releases of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie and Scream VI.  Lionsgate also released successful films like John Wick: Chapter 4, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes and Saw X.

Another reason for Disney's challenging year at the box office extends beyond budget concerns. A notable portion of its recent releases received mixed reviews from both critics and audiences. The lackluster reception has dissuaded many from opting to watch these films in theaters. However, despite the setbacks, the company has a slate of new movies, scheduled to release in the coming months, like Inside Out 2, Thunderbolts and Deadpool 3.

This is expected to aid the company’s top-line growth in the upcoming quarters.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for DIS’ fiscal 2024 revenues is pegged at $92.24 billion, indicating year-over-year growth of 3.76%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings is pegged at $4.62 per share, indicating year-over-year growth of 22.87%.

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