Last year Disney lost over $300 million with the two biggest box office flops of 2022.
Both CG-animated children’s movies, Strange World and Lightyear, were criticised upon their release for being too “woke”.
The first was accused of trying to educate children about sexual preferences through Jaboukie Young-White’s gay main character and his teen romance.
Meanwhile, the Toy Story spin-off received similar criticism after including a lesbian kiss scene and casting Chris Evans over conservative Buzz voice actor Tim Allen. Many on social media claimed these films were an example of “go woke, get broke”.
And now Disney’s latest animated movie Elemental, which includes the studio’s first non-binary character, has been accused of the same after Pixar suffered its worst opening weekend in its 28 year history of feature movies.
READ MORE: Disney lost over $300 million after two ‘woke’ kids movies bombed
Elemental opened in at the US box office with just $29.5 million on a $200 million budget, far behind last year’s Lightyear on $51 million. The new Pixar movie, which releases in the UK next month, is set in the world of anthropomorphic elements made up of fire, water, land and air, with a story focused on a water and fire element falling in love. Among the cast is Ava Hauser, who plays a non-binary water element called Lake with they/them pronouns.
Ava, who also identifies as non-binary, wrote on Twitter: “BIG ANNOUNCEMENT I got to play Pixar’s first nonbinary character! Meet Lake! I voice Lake in the new movie #Elemental! I’m seeing it in theaters tonight with my friends, so you can catch it in theaters too if you wanna see them.”
Some fans on social media claimed this was another example of “go woke, go broke, again and again.” Although some audiences believing Elemental is “woke” may be one of the reasons for its failure at the box office, it will be one of many.
For one thing, since the pandemic some Pixar movies like Soul and Turning Red went straight to Disney+ and so some fans may be waiting for the movie to show up there rather than pay extra to see it at the cinema in a cost-of-living crisis. Additionally, an original concept movie in a busy summer of blockbuster franchise sequels is also a harder sell.
Elemental hits UK cinemas on July 7, 2023.