The Walt Disney Studios continues to struggle at the box office. Echoing the box office performance of “The BFG,” “Pete’s Dragon” failed to attract an audience despite a big marketing campaign. It did edge out “The BFG” in pure numbers with $21.5 million compared to $18.7 million for its opening weekend, but that puts it on a path to finish around $65-75 million domestically.
Pete’s Dragon did score better with audiences earning an “A” Cinemascore, which means those who saw it enjoyed it. But it just couldn’t compete against the adult animated comedy “Sausage Party” and anti-hero DC Universe “Suicide Squad.” Maybe there’s some hope of a strong second weekend via word of mouth, but with school back in session now in most of the US, that mid-week numbers won’t be strong.
I’m a bit surprised by this as I found the movie charming in my review. But audiences can be fickle. Any bad word of mouth can be enough to keep people away from the box office. In the case of “Pete’s Dragon,” many Disney fans bad mouthed Disney for attempting a reboot of what they considered a classic. I think that emotion was picked up by general audiences who are very picky these days as to where they spend their entertainment dollars.
The good news for Disney is that the film has yet to open wide internationally. So far its only opened in 12 markets and earned an estimated $5.1 million.
With the recent success of the “Jungle Book” reboot, it shows Disney can generate amazing numbers at the box office. Why do you think Disney’s last three films aren’t doing as well?