Skip to content

Disney’s Pete’s Dragon disappoints at box office


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?

7 thoughts on “Disney’s Pete’s Dragon disappoints at box office”

  1. Honestly haven’t even watched the trailer yet. Growing up in the 80’s/90’s they used to play all of the old Disney movies on TV or we would rent them from Blockbuster. Pete’s Dragon was a good movie but probably not one of the Disney movies that you could watch over and over again. And just by looking at the dragon, it doesn’t look as friendly as the cartoon version.
    I’m waiting for the announcement for other movies like Swiss Family Robinson or Robin Hood. It’s too bad that everything has to be remade instead of letting people appreciate older films. They could easily start Disney family movie nights again on ABC or even ABC Family.

  2. It’s a charming film, but small in scale and story. People want more worlds and character development. Obvious comparison is How to Train Your Dragon. I think if Elliott and Pete were developed more to the point where it was more ET, and everyone fell absolutely in love with them, then it would do better as a smaller film.

  3. It’s an incredible movie. People, especially Disney fans, really should try to see this movie. It deserves to be a hit …

    From my own review:

    While ”The Wizard of Oz” reminds us that ”there’s no place like home,” Disney’s latest film ”Pete’s Dragon” reminds us there’s nothing like family — even when it’s one headed by a dragon acting as a young orphan’s surrogate parents.

    Forget everything you thought you knew about dragons. You’ll find no thick, leathery scales on Elliot — the name of ”Pete’s Dragon” — a boy’s best friend and more. Elliot is a heart-filled, warm-blooded furry beast — serious-minded but playful — a nurturer doing the best that he can. This dragon is enormous, powerful, protective but quick-tempered only when threatened.

    ”Pete’s Dragon” is arguably the best re-worked older title tackled to date by The Walt Disney Studios. Yes, it’s even better than the recent CGI-filled live-action versions of ”Cinderella” and ”The Jungle Book.” Those were more grandiose. ”Pete’s Dragon” is smaller, quieter and more intimate with an emotional heft as large as Elliott himself.

    Viewers may hold this ”Pete’s Dragon” as close to their heart as ”Dumbo” or ”Up.”

  4. Disney created too much competition for itself this summer. How many times can the average family afford to take the household out to the movies?I think that is where you will find the answer to your question.

  5. Too many big movies this summer, not enough time to let anything find it’s legs! This is a movie with sleeper potential if folks would just give it a chance…saw it over the weekend and really enjoyed it. In fact it would have been better as a spring or fall film. But there is a “Family friendly(budget friendly)” old 1 screen movie palace near me that makes it a little bit easier to take a chance on something. When they did not have the BFG (they showed Secret Life of Pets & Ice Age instead) we did not get a chance to see it.

  6. The dragon does not look friendly…and if I had a young child, well, I would not risk taking them.

    Here is a novel idea…when my oldest (now 43) was about 4…they replayed all the Disney classics in the theatre…one at a time..big screen…movie theatre experience…we went to see each one…he loved it…I loved seeing them again.

    Consider this for next summer Disney!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. I think their last few films haven’t been doing very well because audiences are tired of seeing live-action reboots of classics. We want new content. Zootopia was a movie based off of an original idea that did very well. More original storylines like Zootopia, please.

Comments are closed.