Disney has always kept up a steady stream of major movie releases, but now that the studio owns, among other things, Pixar, Marvel, and 20th Century Studios, it puts out an unbelievable amount of movies every year. Of course, quantity doesn't always translate to quality. In fact, it rarely does, and that's why Disney's roster is filled with more than a handful of flops.
Disney's best movies become instant classics. They're loved by fans, known around the world, and rewatched for decades on end. Almost everyone has a favorite Disney movie that reminds them of their childhood or helps ease their mind when life gets difficult.
Disney's flops, on the other hand, are almost always forgettable or forgotten. Not all of them are terrible movies — some of them might even turn into cult classics given enough time — but they all miss the mark in some way or another. The flops pad out Disney's enviable catalog of hits, but they almost always pale in comparison next to our trusty Disney favorites. With that in mind, for better or worse, these are Disney's biggest flops of 2022.
It's not often that a film packed with as many big name stars as "Amsterdam" ends up being a total flop. Set in the 1930s, the film tells a story that's one part murder mystery, one part political thriller, and one part comedy. The mixed bag of genres is brought to life by a slew of actors including Margot Robbie, Anya Taylor-Joy, John David Washington, Christian Bale, Robert De Niro, Rami Malek, Chris Rock, Taylor Swift, and many more.
The powerhouse cast might have given the film a boost in positive attention, but writer-director David O. Russell did the opposite. The film brought renewed attention to stories from Russell's past alleging that he verbally and physically abused actors on the sets of multiple movies and once sexually harassed his 19-year-old niece (via The Washington Post). Whether or not the allegations had a major impact on the film's performance is debatable, but its box office numbers and critical reception raced each other to the bottom.
Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 33% rating, with critics writing that the film "has a bunch of big stars and a very busy plot, all of which amounts to painfully less than the sum of its dazzling parts." Ultimately, "Amsterdam" earned a little over $30 million at the global box office, a far cry from its $80 million budget.
Kenneth Branagh's "Murder on the Orient Express" was a massive box office success that earned a sequel almost immediately after its release. For the follow-up, Branagh decided to adapt Agatha Christie's "Death on the Nile," but this time around, nothing went as planned. The film was originally scheduled for release in December 2019, but it ended up getting pushed to December 2020, then moved again since so many theaters were still shut down thanks to the COVID pandemic (via Forbes).
When the film finally debuted in February 2022, its box office sales topped off at $130 million, hardly more than the film's $90 million budget and significantly less than half of its predecessor's grosses. A handful of things could have affected the film's performance. COVID concerns were certainly still ongoing when it was released, but it also came out more than four years after the original. With so few returning cast members — the film tells a completely new story, after all — it's possible that audiences simply weren't that interested in another Hercule Poirot mystery. Critical responses to "Death on the Nile" were actually more positive than the reaction to "Murder on the Orient Express." It wasn't an issue of quality, but timing really is everything, and Branagh's sequel missed its window.
"Strange World" is a wildly imaginative film about a family of explorers. The Clades made a name for themselves by not only mapping the wilds of their homeland, Avalonia, but also discovering the plant Pando, which can be used as an immensely powerful energy source for civilization. Decades after the discovery of Pando, some of the Clades have gone their separate ways, but when the plant begins to lose its powerful abilities, they must reunite to discover why and save Avalonia in the process.
In addition to an original story and top-notch animation, "Strange World" also boasts a cast that includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, and Lucy Liu. The film has all the necessary ingredients for a smash hit, but nevertheless it's been projected (via Variety) to lose Disney upwards of $100 million. As Salon noted, some have tried to blame the film's failure on its inclusion of a gay lead character, but the real reasons have much more to do with the niche appeal of the film's overall story, its lack of big musical numbers and cute sidekicks, and the ongoing struggle of Disney's theatrical releases competing with streaming platforms. By all accounts, "Strange World" was a good movie, which makes its box office disappointment that much more tragic.
2022 has been a particularly challenging year for Disney's animated features. Released in March, "Turning Red" is the latest all-original film from Pixar, and though it lived up to the studio's history in terms of quality, it didn't even come close to the success of the animation giant's previous films. In fact, CNBC reported that "Turning Red" was the biggest financial disappointment of all time, after it lost an estimated $168 million upon its release. On top of that, there was some drama surrounding "Turning Red" when it was first released. To be fair, the movie only received a small theatrical run on less than 10 screens in the U.S. and in only a dozen or so markets internationally (via Deadline), with its loss due to Disney's decision to switch the movie to a primarily streaming Disney+ release.
According to Rotten Tomatoes, "Turning Red" is actually one of Pixar's best movies, with an overall critical approval rating of 95%. The film was directed by Domee Shi, who co-wrote the screenplay with Julia Cho. It follows a 13-year-old girl named Meilin struggling with an ancient family spell that affects all the women in her lineage. Whenever Mei experiences intense emotions, she transforms into a giant red panda — something that was a lot more useful when the women in Mei's family needed to defend their villages from invasion. "Turning Red" is a delightfully charming coming-of-age story that will hopefully have a lifespan that outlives its reputation as a flop.
More than a handful of TV shows have had a rough time attempting a transition to the big screen. After more than 10 years on air, "Bob's Burgers" seemed ready to take the leap, but ultimately fate intervened and prevented "The Bob's Burgers Movie" from being a success. The film caught up with the Belchers between Seasons 12 and 13 and told the story of the family saving their restaurant after a sinkhole opened in front of it, while a subplot followed the kids solving a murder. Over the course of its theatrical run, its box office earnings fell just shy of $35 million, meaning the movie didn't even break even with its $38 million budget.
How does a film based on a hugely successful TV show, which earned overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics and general audiences alike, become a box office flop? Several things factor into the film's failure, not the least of which was the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, but the nail in the coffin may have been the film's release date. "The Bob's Burgers Movie" debuted on May 27, the same day that "Top Gun: Maverick" made its way to the big screen. Bob and his family just couldn't hold their own against a film that would go on to earn well over a billion dollars.
"Lightyear" may be one of the least surprising flops of 2022. The film positions itself as the in-universe inspiration for the Buzz Lightyear action figures that exist in "Toy Story," a premise that left more than a few fans scratching their heads. In the movie, Buzz leads a mission to colonize outer space, but everything changes when his colony ship crash lands on an alien planet. Buzz refuses to admit that the mission is over, and he battles the forces of relativity and an evil spaceman named Zerg in his attempts to set things back on course.
It may have a questionable premise, but "Lightyear" certainly isn't a bad film. It's beautifully animated, introduces some endearing characters, and overall tells an engaging-enough sci-fi story. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 74% approval rating, and the audience score sits 10 points above that. Unfortunately, there just wasn't enough interest in Buzz's story to support the film at any stage. It underperformed at the box office, thanks in part to the fact that the film was surely going to land on Disney+ shortly after its debut. However, even after "Lightyear" arrived on Disney's streaming platform, it failed to live up to expectations.
Disney's made a habit of releasing live-action remakes of classic animated films in recent years to varying degrees of success. Films like "The Jungle Book" showed off the awe-inspiring possibilities of revisiting the classics, but others like 2019's "Dumbo" served mostly as cautionary tales. The 2022 remake of Disney's beloved animated film "Pinocchio" fits into the latter category.
As is now routine, Disney hired some big names to give "Pinocchio" a level of appeal it otherwise might not have had. Robert Zemeckis signed on to direct the film, co-writing the script with fellow screenwriter Chris Weitz (who previously lent his talents to "Rogue One"). The studio also got Tom Hanks to star as Geppetto, alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the voice of Jiminy Cricket.
None of that was enough to save the film, which in retrospect was likely doomed from the beginning. The film debuted on Disney+, and in its first week barely managed to join the top 10 most-watched movies on streaming platforms. Critics and audiences alike were disappointed with the movie as well. It scored less than a 30% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the audience consensus really summed up the core of the film's problems: "Just watch Disney's original 'Pinocchio' instead."
"Cheaper by the Dozen" is a family comedy that audiences have seen before — literally. The film is based on a 1948 novel of the same name that was previously adapted for the big screen in 1950, then adapted again in 2003. That second adaptation starred Martin Short and earned itself a sequel in 2005, but after that audiences had seemingly had their fill of the story.
This latest adaptation was released directly on Disney+ and stars Gabrielle Union and Zach Braff as Zoey and Paul Baker, who do their best to parent an unusually full house. Between adoptions, previous marriages, and their own biological children, Zoey and Paul have 12 kids to look after, and there's always some kind of drama plaguing their home.
This outing for the Bakers was just one time too many. "Cheaper by the Dozen" was never going to be a huge moneymaker, but it failed to give a good reason for new subscribers to come to Disney+. Though it snuck into the top 10 most-watched streaming movies in its debut week, it didn't really make a big splash. Judging by its incredibly poor critical reception, the fact that not many people showed up to watch it may actually be a net positive for Disney.
Some franchises inexplicably keep chugging along despite there being every reason for them to end. "Ice Age" is a children's franchise that hasn't seen positive critical reception in 20 years, but that hasn't stopped anyone from producing a plethora of sequels, spin-offs, and tie-ins. The latest sequel debuted on Disney+ and follows Crash and Eddie, two possums struggling to find their place in their group. After upsetting the other mainstay "Ice Age" characters by causing an avalanche, Crash and Eddie run off on their own and encounter the legendary adventurer Buck Wild. With his help, they learn how to be more independent, responsible members of their animal society.
Unsurprisingly, "The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild" did not prove itself to be a turning point for the franchise as a whole. The film continued the trend of pulling in remarkably poor reviews from critics, earning a Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of just 17%. The bad reviews might not have mattered if the film had at least garnered plenty of views on Disney+, but that wasn't the case. The movie reportedly lost out on viewers (via Media Play News) to both the NFL and the Australian Open.
It's worth saying right out the gate that "Thor: Love and Thunder" is not a flop in the traditional sense. The third solo outing for Marvel's Asgardian superhero explores the conflict between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Gorr, the God Butcher (Christian Bale) as well as Jane Foster's (Natalie Portman) own journey as a Mjolnir-wielding superhero. It earned over $760 million at the global box office, and though it didn't particularly impress critics or fans, its mixed reviews were positive enough to call the film a success.
However, "Love and Thunder" had a legacy of Marvel movies to live up to, and by that metric it failed. It may be that the Marvel formula is finally beginning to buckle under its own weight. The movie makes a half-hearted attempt at being a serious exploration of the relationship between gods and their subjects, as well as the damaging impact of cancer, but all that drama and the amped-up Marvel humor mix like oil and water. As The Hollywood Reporter's review noted, "The stakes never acquire much urgency in a movie too busy being jokey and juvenile to tell a gripping story."
The bigger concern for the film came at the box office. In its second week in theaters, "Love and Thunder" saw its sales drop a stunning 68% (via Forbes). The movie still made a killing, but it continued a recent Marvel trend of dwindling earnings that may be a sign of trouble to come for the franchise.
We are not gonna make spamming
Copyright © 2023 imogen-clark.com All Rights Reserved.
BACK TO TOP