Disney Tried To Force Leftist Causes On Audiences. Now It’s Paying The Price

Disney Tried To Force Leftist Causes On Audiences. Now It’s Paying The Price

The executives at the Walt Disney Company almost certainly hoped that its newest animated film, “Wish,” would represent a culmination of 100 years of pop culture ascendancy — a hit on the level of “Beauty and the Beast” or “The Little Mermaid.”

The movie’s style, story, and songs all deliberately pay homage to those great classics of yesteryear in an attempt to garner as much nostalgic goodwill as possible for the company’s centennial.

Instead, it seems more likely that “Wish” will capstone another year of box office disappointments for the House of Mouse.

In the past, the Thanksgiving holiday weekend has been a great success for Disney. “Frozen” was released on November 22, 2013, took in $67 million during opening weekend, and eventually grossed over $1.2 billion at the box office. Its sequel, “Frozen II,” was released on the same day in 2019, achieved a whopping $130 million opening weekend and $1.4 billion overall, becoming the second highest-grossing animated film of all time (after Disney’s own “live action” remake of “The Lion King”).

In contrast, “Wish” was projected to pull in a lower but still respectable $45-$50 million from November 22-26, but only ended up with an anemic $31.6 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 2021’s “Encanto,” which was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and overall underperformed at the box office, still managed to take in roughly $40 million in its debut.

Mike Marsland/WireImage

“Wish” was beaten handily by “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” the 5th entry in a franchise whose last installment debuted nearly a decade ago. That movie took in over $42 million over the holiday weekend. And it was even edged out at the box office by Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon,” a nearly 3-hour behemoth that has received only lukewarm reviews from both audiences and critics.

ScreenRant reported that the film’s second weekend will be an even bigger disaster, with only $7 million at the box office, making “Wish” an almost guaranteed flop.

Another animated film released in 2023 under the Disney umbrella, Pixar’s “Elemental,” initially lagged at the box office, garnering only $27 million during its opening weekend in June. Eventually, the movie barely managed to break even, making $495 million worldwide on a $200 million budget, but still well behind pre-pandemic Pixar releases. It should be noted that a film generally needs to make 2.5x its budget to be considered profitable. This is a massive problem for “Wish,” which also had a budget of around $200 million and a worse opening weekend than “Elemental.”

Disney’s last animated November release, 2022’s “Strange World,” only took in a dismal $18 million during its opening weekend and barely made half of its reported budget ($135-$180 million).

Disney’s live action movies have fared even worse in 2023. “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania,” “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” “Haunted Mansion,” “The Marvels,” and the live action remake of “The Little Mermaid” cost over a billion dollars to make (that doesn’t include post-production and advertising costs), and all of them flopped hard.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 15: (L to R) Jonah Hauer-King, Jacob Tremblay, Melissa McCarthy, Halle Bailey, Rob Marshall, Javier Bardem and Daveed Diggs attend the UK Premiere of "The Little Mermaid" at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on May 15, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Hoda Davaine/Dave Benett/WireImage)

Hoda Davaine/Dave Benett/WireImage

A major reason for Disney’s recent spate of commercial flops is its full-throated embrace of leftist social causes, particularly LGBT ideology. The company has practically become the industry leader in pushing leftist propaganda on kids. GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, announced in October that Disney is one the top companies in Hollywood for LGBT-inclusive content. Top-ranking employees within the company have admitted that they are pushing a “not-at-all-secret gay agenda” with their programming.

However, the backlash from conservatives has been just as robust as leftists’ praise. According to a Rasmussen Reports survey released in early October, 60% of Republicans hold an unfavorable view of Disney, including 35% who say they have a “very unfavorable” opinion.

Both the Ant-Man and Indiana Jones sequels were torched by fans for seemingly trying to replace their titular heroes with younger female counterparts. In “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania,” Ant-Man’s daughter has become a teenage activist fighting against oppression and eventually acquires a super-powered suit similar to her father’s. In the latest Indiana Jones movie, Indy’s goddaughter Helena is also an archeologist on the hunt for rare artifacts and when she is accused of stealing items from native people, she quips, “it’s called capitalism.”

Two of Disney’s animated films released in 2022, “Lightyear” (another flop) and “Strange World,” were pilloried by conservatives for pushing LGBT themes. “Lightyear” included a same-sex kiss between two female characters, which was initially omitted from the film but was reinstated by Disney after Florida passed a bill banning classroom discussion on sexual orientation and gender identity for young children. “Strange World” upped the ante by introducing Disney’s first canonically gay main character, whose romance with another boy is a major plotline. The movie also pushed a hamfisted environmentalist message.

It’s other animated movie released last year, “Turning Red,” was criticized for having sexual themes and a line echoing the pro-abortion “my body, my choice” mantra.

Disney movies that haven’t even come out yet are already getting blasted for catering to the woke crowd. The company’s live action remake of “Snow White” made headlines for the wrong reasons after star Rachel Zegler made disparaging comments about the 1937 classic, which was also the company’s first full-length animated film.

“I just mean that it’s no longer 1937,” Zegler said of the new film. “We absolutely wrote a ‘Snow White’ [who’s] not going to be saved by the prince, and she’s not going to be dreaming about true love; she’s going to be dreaming about becoming the leader she knows she can be, and the leader that her late father told her she could be if she was fearless, fair, brave and true.”

D23 EXPO 2022 - The Ultimate Disney Fan Event presented by VISA - brings together all the worlds of Disney under one roof for three packed days of presentations, pavilions, experiences, concerts, sneak peeks, shopping, and more. The event, which takes place September 9, 10, and 11 at the Anaheim Convention Center, provides fans with unprecedented access to Disney films, series, games, theme parks, collectibles, and celebrities.

The Walt Disney Company via Getty Images
Gal Gadot, Rachel Zegler

After it was revealed that the iconic seven dwarfs had been reimagined as “seven magical creatures” who didn’t resemble the original characters at all, Disney backtracked on their design in the face of intense backlash.

In the wake of all the bad press, the studio pushed the project to 2025.

While “Wish” hasn’t received nearly as much scrutiny as other Disney movies of the last couple of years, some have pointed out that its central theme could be problematic. Daily Wire co-founder and Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro pointed out that “It seems that the plot is, essentially, about how God is bad. So, what it is is a king [who] grants people’s wishes, but he has an apprentice … and this apprentice finds out that the king is only selectively granting people’s wishes, and is picking and choosing.”

“This is a terrible, terrible thing — she will grant everyone’s wishes!” he added sarcastically. “Which, you don’t have to go far afield to understand that what that kind of is is, ‘God is bad because he said no to you sometimes.’ So it would be better if there were an empowered female character to get up and make sure that all wishes be granted across the board.”

While Disney’s animated films have struggled this year, its main competitors thrived — and largely stayed out of politics. Sony Pictures Animation, DreamWorks, and Illumination (the latter two owned by NBC Universal) have all seen massive hits in 2023 with “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” ($690 million), “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” ($484 million), and “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” ($1.3 billion), respectively.

Special Screening Of Universal Pictures' "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" - Arrivals

Leon Bennett/FilmMagic

Sony’s “Across the Spider-Verse” did garner attention after some fans speculated that several minute details in the movie suggested one of the main characters, Gwen Stacy, was transgender, but ultimately the backlash against the alleged insinuation pales in comparison to what Disney has faced over the past couple of years.

Overall, the successes of those films in 2023 indicate that there is still a robust demand for kids’ animated content — especially content that doesn’t proselytize to children about the latest Left-wing social causes.

And Disney CEO Bob Iger seems to realize that fact. In the wake of “Wish’s” disastrous opening weekend, Iger said during a Wednesday appearance at the DealBook Summit in New York that “Creators lost sight of what their No. 1 objective needed to be. We have to entertain first. It’s not about messages.”

Whether Disney can recover and regain its pre-eminent position in the world of animation before its repeated commercial flops take a severe financial toll on the company or a new competitor overtakes them remains to be seen. But The Walt Disney Company is undoubtedly reeling from its choice to put politics before profit — and good storytelling.

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Originally Posted on: https://www.dailywire.com/news/disney-tried-to-force-leftist-causes-on-audiences-now-its-paying-the-price
[By: Hayden Daniel

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