Raya and the Last Dragon BombsThe Dark Herald
More bad news for Mickey the Great and Terrible.
(Let me start by saying this is an essay is not a review. I have not seen Raya and the Last Dragon, and I strongly suspect I won’t be getting around to it even after it’s free.)
This was supposed to be Disney’s genuine comeback film. Sure, there have been a few releases since the plague hit town, but they weren’t the “real thing.” They weren’t a genuine effort to blow the doors off at the boxoffice.
Artemis Fowl was released at the height of the pestilence back in June. It was the first time they had released anything since the lockdown started. It was a bad movie and Disney knew it was full of suck. They didn’t bother to expend any resources bumping up the score at Rotten Tomatoes, and brother that showed, Critical Score: 08%; Audience Score: 22%.
It was sent straight to Disney Plus. When Trolls 2 went straight to streaming in May, the theaters screamed, bloody murder. When Artemis Fowl came out a month later, they didn’t let out a peep.
The live action version of Mulan was also an epic fail, but again they had a number of excuses as to why this was a unique aberration. And truth be told, some of these excuses were valid. It wasn’t primarily made for the American market. And unlike the live action versions of Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella and the Lion King; this movie was not a beat for beat remake. It was significantly rewritten and there were no musical numbers at all. Mulan specifically targeted the China market this turned out to be a huge mistake because the Chinese loved the original Disney animated version of Mulan, they wanted more of that. They have plenty of live action versions of the Mulan story, that they made themselves. The producer’s response to Chinese complaints was a bunch of rather insulting Baizou pandering regarding what real Chinese people actually think. The cherry on the sundae was the end credits where Disney formally thanked the Chinese security service that is in charge of the Uighur genocide.
But never mind all of that.
Raya and the Last Dragon is a Disney animated film. The protagonist is kind of princess. We got songs in this one. We’re back baby!
The opening night numbers were 30% below expectations and the expected numbers were pretty low to start with at $12 million. The actual haul was $8.5 million with a foreign gross of $1.26 million.
Again, China was the primary market for this film, and it’s being beaten in the Bejing theaters by holdovers that were released in previous weeks.
In America, it’s also being beaten by a holdover, Tom and Jerry. Currently, the box-office take for the veteran cat and mouse team is $56 million worldwide. (Finally, some good news for Warner)
If you have a Disney Plus subscription and are willing to pay a thirty-dollar upcharge on top of your monthly subscription, then you can watch Raya and The Last Dragon at home. Or if you have HBOmax, you can watch Tom and Jerry for no additional fee at all.
Disney doesn’t have any real choice about the box-office numbers, they have to report those. But they under no compulsion to report the Disney Plus upcharge, and so they do not. The thing is, when the ‘Return of Luke’ blew up big time, Disney was happy to publicly indicate that the viewership numbers had spiked and they had an influx of new subscriptions.
I’m not hearing anything out of Fort Mickey about the Raya and Last Dragon but doom and dread. Except for the critical score on Rotten Tomatoes, (they are tickled pink to have them in the nineties). But that high of a number is usually a reliable indicator of greased palms and Woke plotlines. However, I am not in a position to know about either of those things.
If Raya really is that good, then that is really BAD news for Disney.
That means people are avoiding a good movie because the Disney name is on it.
It honestly feels to me like there actually is a soft boycott of Disney going on. They have just done so much that is openly wrong in the past year. It’s leaving a bad taste in the mouths of people who normally wouldn’t care about these things.
If people really are avoiding a Disney movie because the Disney name is on it, then the brand damage is drastically more severe than I ever thought it was.
Okay, I’m done here.