Walt Disney Animation Studios released WISH this weekend, its only new offering for 2023. Last year, the famous animation studio also released only one new movie, STRANGE WORLD. Both titles opened on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and received underwhelming responses from audiences.
STRANGE WORLD suffered a catastrophic $12.1M opening weekend, whereas WISH did somewhat better at $19.5M, but still only enough for a third-place finish behind the second weekend of THE HUNGER GAMES sequel ($28.8M) and the opening of Ridley Scott’s historical epic NAPOLEON ($20.4M).
This article from Screen Rant suggests that the primary reason for the lukewarm response is its storyline, which labors in its attempt to explain the logic of the Disney princess fairy-tale universe.
WISH is the origin story of the Disney Star, the object of the classic song “When You Wish Upon A Star” which first appeared in PINOCCHIO (1940). The Times (London) film critic Kevin Maher calls out numerous “clunky references to past hits” as contorted and distracting, at least for adults.
One wonders if a more original storyline, perhaps even an animated musical centered on a princess heroine, could have broken through with audiences or if the entire genre has played itself out.
See also: Wish’s Biggest Problems Were Predicted 4 Years Ago by Disney’s $1.4 Billion Box Office Hit (Screen Rant)