Disney Lost Over $300M On Lightyear And Strange World


Out of all movies released in 2022, Disney actually lost over $300M in its full-length animated features, Lightyear and Strange World. Many things have changed for the movie industry, especially during the peak of lockdown restrictions in favour of health protocols. Streaming services popped up and spread on a global scale.

While factors have affected the behaviour of theatre moviegoers, certain expectations are still prevalent and are determining points to a movie’s success. The story, the presentation, the cast and then the marketing have always been factors for a film’s success. One or two of these failures will also equate to the movie subjecting the production company to inevitable failure.

Unfortunately for Disney, two of its animated movies did not fare well in 2022. With just Lightyear and Strange World, the two movies shot off more than $300M from the House of Mouse’s pockets.

Disney Lost Over $300M From Lightyear and Strange World Last Year

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According to Deadline’s top movies that bombed last year, Disney could possibly be considered as the one company that lost the most.

Because theatres are getting more active and operations back to the levels during pre-pandemic times, records can be collected listing which movies did the best at the box office. Together with this search, it will also present the film that did not perform very well during their run.

The five movie titles at the bottom of the box office list are:

  1. Strange World from Walt Disney Animation with a recorded loss of $197.4M.
  2. Amsterdam from New Regency and Disney with a recorded loss of $108.4M.
  3. Lightyear from Pixar and Walt Disney with a recorded loss of  $106M.
  4. Devotion from Black Label Media and Sony with a recorded loss of $89.2M.
  5. Babylon from Paramount with recorded loss of $87.4M
Disney Lost Over USD 300M On Lightyear And Strange World

Credit: Disney

Quite noticeably, Disney actually has three out of the five titles to its name. However, Strange World and Lightyear are the better-known projects for their animated movies roster.

Strange World is a computer-animated science-fiction adventure movie and is the 61st film produced by the studio. Don Hall directed the movie with co-director Qui Nguyen and producer Roy Conli. The movie features the voices of Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, and Lucy Liu.

The film introduced the Clades, a family of explorers who takes on a journey to an unknown world underground where fantastic creatures exist. Interestingly, the movie was noted to have Disney’s first openly LGBTQ+ lead character. Despite its failure at the box office, it climbed up Disney+ viewing data taking the top spot for 19 days.

While Lightyear is Pixar’s origin story for their popular Toy Story character Buzz. The film had its opening statement that read:

In 1995, a boy named Andy got a Buzz Lightyear toy for his birthday. It was from his favorite movie. This is that movie.

Lightyear was more of a movie inside a movie. The box office failure was something executives accepted. Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer, Pete Docter, admitted:

When they hear Buzz, they’re like, great, where’s Mr. Potato Head and Woody and Rex? And then we drop them into this science fiction film that they’re like, What Even if they’ve read the material in press, it was just a little too distant, both in concept, and I think in the way that characters were drawn, that they were portrayed.

The Toy Story spin-off was the directorial debut of Angus MacLane, produced by Galyn Susman, from MacLane and Jason Headley’s screenplay with Matthew Aldrich. Chris Evans lent his voice to the eponymous character. Joining him in the cast were Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn, Taika Waititi, Dale Soules, James Brolin, and Uzo Aduba.

Disney Lost Hundreds Of Millions From Lightyear and Strange World

Pixar Exec Admits That Lightyear Was A Mistake

Credit: Disney

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The two movies’ screenplays were heavily criticised. But both films also presented lessons learned from what Disney lost. Even though the Clades and the Space Rangers didn’t bring in the bucks, Disney realised that Strange Worlds could be a strong IP for streaming. The company also got to reflect on its marketing practices for Lightyear.

Alongside fellow 2022 movies Turning Red and The Bob’s Burgers Movie, Disney gets half excellent and half not-so-good for the year. Hopefully, for the upcoming films, especially those sequels announced, Disney will get more attuned to story expectations and align the product with the marketing efforts. Otherwise, we’ll just be seeing them again at the bottom of the list.

What do you think about records indicating Disney lost more than $300M from Lightyear and Strange World? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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