Despite Skepticism, Disney’s Troubled Summer Film Achieves Record-Breaking Victory

Elemental streaming success
Credit: Disney

Pixar’s Elemental was labeled a flop on its opening weekend. All analysts and critics indicated that the film was a dud and another box office disaster for The Walt Disney Company. Despite these claims, the film slowly chugged along in theaters. While it didn’t bring in much money daily, it stayed consistent over its entire summer run. Elemental is now telling Disney haters to sit down as it officially hits a record-breaking milestone via a new medium. Let’s discuss Pixar’s Elemental streaming success.

Elemental #1 South Korea

Elemental‘s Theater Performance

Elemental fought an uphill battle its entire time in cinemas. With the ever-increasing costs of attending movie theaters, Disney has had to adopt a more aggressive approach to convince audiences to choose the cinema experience. Unfortunately, Elemental learned firsthand when it released the hurdles faced in this transformed landscape. Its opening weekend saw a modest return of just $29.5 million, and most critics left it behind.

In the era before the pandemic, Pixar’s films were consistently reliable gold mines for Disney, regardless of whether they were part of an established franchise. Toy Story 4 surged past the $1.073 billion mark globally in 2019, and Incredibles 2 also crossed the billion-dollar threshold. Coco approached $800 million in 2017, and it was an entirely original film.

Pixar's Elemental Box Office

Credit: Disney

Contrastingly, Pixar’s Lightyear barely managed to scrape past $200 million. Viewers have grown accustomed to exercising patience and waiting for streaming options if a movie fails to ignite sufficient enthusiasm to warrant a costly trip to the theater. Elemental may not have lacked quality, but it faltered in capturing the audience’s attention, and Disney’s marketing efforts did little to boost its prospects.

Pixar Studios also found itself navigating a new set of challenges in the wake of the pandemic’s end, all brought on by the emergence of the Disney+ streaming service. A significant portion of its recent releases has struggled to capture a substantial audience, in part due to the fact that numerous projects made their debut directly on Disney+ during the height of the COVID-19 crisis. This raised doubts about whether Pixar could still deliver top-tier content, and many fans chose to wait for the inevitable streaming release of Elemental instead of committing to it in cinemas.

Despite these setbacks, the film kept along at a consistent pace. It eventually broke $100 million at the domestic box office and continued to perform week after week. It became Disney’s most successful original film in years, ending its theatrical run at around $486.7 million. With a budget of $200 million, Elemental actually made Disney a good chunk of change.

Elemental streaming release

Credit: Disney

Elemental Streaming Success

Elemental was released last week on Disney+ after the company finally ended its run in cinemas. Notably, the movie departed from other recent Disney films coming to the platform. It lasted over three months in theaters, while other Pixar projects barely lasted one. Word of mouth has also been kind to it, as Disney just announced a major victory.

Elemental has become the most-viewed movie premiere of 2023 on Disney+ and among the top 10 movie premieres ever. Disney provided a blog post stating that the movie saw 26.4 million views within the first five days of streaming. This is a huge accomplishment. Elemental has beat out Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3 and the live-action Little Mermaid remake by quite a lot.

Furthermore, Elemental has become the most viewed Disney+ movie premiere ever in Latin America, surpassing Pixar’s Turning Red. Peter Sohn’s tale of immigrants and love must have struck a chord with people. The positive reception and consistent performance in theaters over the summer were good indicators that Elemental would shine on streaming. Rumors have also been circulating that the film will become a franchise with a series and a sequel.

Pixar is most likely breathing a huge sigh of relief with this victory. Many analysts wondered if Disney would cut the studios’ future budgets because it struggled to regain footing. However, Elemental‘s streaming achievement gives the company a newfound burst of confidence that it can recapture its old reputation. With the upcoming Elio film and sequel to Inside Out in the near future, things look promising for Pixar Studios.

About Michael Stoyanoff

Michael is a Disney fan with an entertainment background and passion for writing. Living in Orlando, he has been around the theme parks for over a decade. In his free time he enjoys running, playing video games, and traveling the world. He also loves hanging out with his dog, Mr. Pippers the Pug.

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