Is the magic officially gone?
Fans, employees, executives and shareholders of the Walt Disney Company alike may be asking themselves that question after yet another Disney movie has come and gone with little fanfare and perhaps even less than “little” to show at the box office.
Disney’s “Haunted Mansion” (a reboot of 2003’s “The Haunted Mansion,” which is based on the Disney parks attraction of the same name) was always facing an uphill battle — this IP isn’t exactly Star Wars or Marvel or even Indiana Jones when it comes to relevance or notoriety — and that was the case before the ongoing writer’s and actor’s strikes that leaves the movie’s stars unable to promote it.
And if any movie could’ve used a jolt of positive PR and promotion, it was probably this one.
The movie’s premiere in Anaheim, California, coincided with a bevy of negative-to-okay reviews.
It was not the blockbuster hit it needed to be in terms of critical reception, and several reports from Variety now suggest the movie’s commercial reception reflects those lukewarm reviews.
Juxtaposed against its peers particularly highlights the cavernous gulf between flicks.
Per Variety, during Thursday previews, “Haunted Mansion” debuted to $3.1 million at the box office. The current cultural juggernauts, “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” clocked in at $21.1 million and $10 million, respectively, on Thursday.
Now, in fairness, that is not a one-to-one-to-one comparison. “Thursday previews,” as Variety describes, are effectively an extension of the more traditional midnight releases. “Haunted Mansion” and its Thursday box office total, effectively, only had a few hours at the end of Thursday to make revenue, while the other two films had the whole day.
That’s about as much good news as the House of Mouse could get after the underwhelming total debut of “Haunted Mansion.”
Here’s how Variety opens its newest report about this weekend’s box office totals: “It’s a ‘Barbenheimer’ world and we’re just living in it.”
And “we” clearly includes Disney, now, because the rest of the box office receipts were not particularly kind to the beleaguered studio.
“Haunted Mansion” opened this weekend (and, in fairness, did finish third in the box office) to the tune of $24.6 million across 3,700 North American theaters.
The film reportedly added another $9.1 million in the international markets.
That $33 million total, however, would need to be replicated several times over for the movie to be profitable, which is a tall task given that box office returns generally diminish week-to-week.
Variety reports that Disney had to spend $150 million to produce the film and “tens of millions” more on promoting it. Even the most generous interpretation of that would put the film’s price tag at about $170 million.
This box office disaster is hitting Disney at a particularly poor time, as the IMAX CEO recently revealed that his theaters would not be carrying the latest blockbuster Marvel film, “The Marvels.”
And that news comes on the heels of the aforementioned Indiana Jones flopping in the box office, and Pixar’s “Elemental” coming and going with a fizzle (an increasingly common trend at the once-venerable animation studio.)
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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