Disney’s 2023 flop: Bad ratings, angry fans, embarrassed executives, and millions in losses

Discover the challenges that Disney faced in 2023, from job cuts to canceled titles and box office disappointments. Learn about their plans for a better 2024.

Disney’s Terrible, Awful, No Good, Very Bad 2023

Well folks, it seems even the Magic Kingdom can have its off years. Disney, the powerhouse of family-friendly entertainment, has had a rough 2023. Let’s break down the calamities, the flops, and the missteps that led to the year the House of Mouse would rather forget.

So, let’s start at the beginning. CEO Bob Iger had to make some tough decisions early in the year. Disney was bleeding money, and the only solution was to cut 7,000 jobs. Ouch. Iger promised $5.5 billion in cost savings, with $2.5 billion coming from labor costs. This, of course, didn’t sit well with the folks who got the pink slip.

On top of that, Disney pulled the plug on several original Disney+ titles. Goodbye “Willow,” “Y: The Last Man,” and “The Mysterious Benedict Society.” It was a cost-cutting frenzy!

Stock prices took a hit, and the company lost $387 million in Q4. That’s a lot of cheddar, but at least it’s not the over $1 billion loss from the previous year, right? Small victories, people, small victories.

But Iger’s problems didn’t stop there. He got involved in some culture wars, clashing with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and traditional Disney consumers. Not a great move, Bob. And then there was the whole debacle with Elon Musk’s X platform and accusations of anti-Semitism. Yikes.

But where Disney really took it on the chin was at the box office. The studio that usually dominates Tinseltown stumbled in a major way in 2023.

Yes, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” did okay, and “The Little Mermaid” made a splash with $300 million in the U.S. But the rest? Not so hot.

Let’s take a closer look at some of Disney’s biggest busts, and boy, were they doozies.

The third film in the MCU’s lo-fi series, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” made a modest $106 million in its debut weekend. But that was it. The film barely sputtered to $214 million in the U.S. and $261 million internationally. Let’s just say it fell short of expectations. And then there was that whole thing with Jonathan Majors getting arrested. Not a good look, guys.

Oh, and then there was the final Indiana Jones film. The trailer got roasted, the Cannes critics were not impressed, and it ultimately limped to $174 million in the U.S. Not exactly the send-off Indy deserved, huh?

And let’s not forget about “Sound of Freedom,” a film that Disney shelved for five years before selling it to Angel Studios. That film ended up outperforming one of Disney’s most iconic characters. Ouch.

Then there was the horror comedy reboot released in August. Not the best timing, Disney. It made less than its predecessor despite ticket prices doubling in the past 20 years. That’s not a good sign.

And who can forget “The Creator,” a sci-fi adventure that barely made a blip at the box office. It only pulled in $40 million in the U.S. and $63 million internationally.

But the real kicker was “The Marvels,” the sequel to “Captain Marvel.” It bombed. Hard. It only raked in $83 million in the U.S. and $202 million worldwide. This was after the first film banked over $1 billion just four years ago. Yikes.

Let’s also not overlook “Wish,” Disney’s 100th-anniversary film that was supposed to be a celebration of all things Disney. Critics weren’t impressed, and the film barely cracked the $100 million mark at the box office. Not a great way to cap off the year.

So, what’s next for Disney? Well, Iger wants to license more company titles to make some extra dough. And on the movie front, get ready for sequels, reboots, and prequels galore. “Deadpool 3” looks promising, along with “Inside Out 2,” “The First Omen,” “Mufasa: The Lion King,” “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes,” and “Alien: Romulus.” It’s a mixed bag, but Disney is hoping for a comeback.

So there you have it, folks. Disney’s 2023 was a year to forget. But with a new slate of films on the horizon, the House of Mouse is hoping for a better 2024. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, shall we?

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