Just how many losses, both fiscal and within the court of public opinion, can a multi-billion dollar media titan withstand before even it begins to buckle under the weight of its own far-left activism?
For anyone who has been paying even a modicum of attention to the Walt Disney Company, that answer may very well arrive in real time.
And much to the chagrin of Disney, its fans and its investors, there doesn’t appear to be any imminent panacea, despite a trio of 2023 heavy hitters.
First, and perhaps foremost, since it’s currently in theaters, Disney’s much-ballyhooed (and race-swapped) “The Little Mermaid” live-action remake is already in theaters and it is … whelming?
Neither a catastrophic disaster nor a rousing success, the movie is just sort of existing in its own space. It’s the kind of middling result that is becoming a bit too common for a studio whose movies used to be tent-pole events.
According to a report from Deadline, “The Little Mermaid” is performing just fine in North America, but lagging internationally.
Depending on where that international box office total eventually lands, finance experts told Deadline that the live-action remake could break even, but could also face losses in the tens of millions of dollars. Again, a best-case scenario of breaking even is not what you typically associate with Disney.
“Not a huge disappointment, but a disappointment, nonetheless,” one finance expert told the outlet.
While the occasional box-office flop happens for any studio, even one with the resources of Disney, this year’s woes carry a particular heft to them.
That’s because, for every success Disney has had in 2023 (“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” for instance), it’s had a number of failures to completely offset it.
Out of the sea… 🌊
Disney’s #TheLittleMermaid is now playing in theaters!
— The Little Mermaid (@LittleMermaid) May 30, 2023
Case in point, the third “Guardians” movie has been a critical and commercial darling, but instead of following up and building on that success, it appears that Disney has taken a step — or three — backward.
For as lukewarm as the reception of “The Little Mermaid” has been, Disney would probably gladly take that over the less-than-ideal outlooks for “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” and “Elemental.”
Deadline noted that the early reviews for both those movies are lackluster, as are the early box-office projections for both.
Take a step back and think about that. Three Disney intellectual properties from three big quivers (a classic princess, Lucasfilm and a Pixar film) are simply not living up to Disney’s lofty expectations.
That’s obviously not good, but compounding matters, Deadline notes how rare it is for Disney films to struggle overseas.
The fact that “The Little Mermaid” may have a better domestic box office than an international one could mean one of two things — neither of which is very good for the House of Mouse.
Option A: Disney has grossly overestimated how “woke” the non-Western world is. At this point, it’s well-worn territory that Disney is as far-left as it gets, and it appears that leftism has outpaced the company’s international sensibilities.
Option B: Disney fatigue is real. The downside to being a veritable monopoly with tendrils in every facet of entertainment is that your tendrils are in everything. People will inevitably get tired of there always being a new Star Wars, Marvel, princess, Pixar or other nostalgia-bait movie in the works.
Either way, the alarms and klaxons should be blaring at Disney HQ.
This could be a rough summer for the House of Mouse.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.