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Disney rated worst major studio after year of record-setting flops for Marvel Cinematic Universe
Photos by Corey Nickols/Getty Images for IMDbMax Cisotti/Dave Benett/WireImage/Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Disney rated worst major studio after year of record-setting flops for Marvel Cinematic Universe

A review of major Hollywood studios saw Disney come away with the worst rating after facing a year of fantastic flops highlighted by ideological struggles taking the forefront for characters on the big screen.

Paramount, Sony, Universal, Warner Bros., Apple, and Lionsgate all took in higher scores than the massive Disney, which owns the Marvel universe along with iconic brands like Star Wars.

Some of Disney's highlights for 2023 actually came from 2022, according to Variety which noted that James Cameron's "Avatar: The Way of Water," released in mid-December 2022, actually outperformed most of the studio's hopeful hits the following year.

However, it was "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" and "The Little Mermaid" live-action remake that took in the most profit for the studio, with $845 million and $569 million respectively.

Although the new and allegedly improved mermaid story was described as a respectable performance, it did not live up to expectations. That would be an understatement for "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny," which cost $300 million but was "cursed" with a $60 million domestic opening, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Variety called it one of the most painful flops of the year. The movie also likely avoided more pain by shifting its ending away from what was reported to be both a gender-swap for the Indiana Jones character along with the death of Harrison Ford's character in the movie.

"Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" outperformed Indiana Jones but was still considered a poor showing, even though the first movie in that franchise previously held the record for the worst opening weekend in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's history.

It took eight years for "The Marvels" to break that record, bottoming out at $47 million for its long-weekend opening in 2023. The poor performance seemed like a movie industry omen: a movie all about female empowerment, starring a diverse cast of women, directed by a woman who has often made talking about racism a focal point.

The studio, which also pumped out "Chang Can Dunk" in early 2023 on Disney+, faced ridicule from one of the year's biggest kingmakers: "South Park."

"South Park: Joining the Panderverse" was perhaps the most talked-about episodic TV event of the year, and it was directed entirely at Disney. The special episode took aim at Disney President Kathleen Kennedy, who in the episode responded to hate mail about her movies by making all future movies increasingly more diverse.

The episode was trademarked by having Kennedy respond to any problems Disney executives raised by saying, "Put a chick in it! Make her lame and gay!"

In reality, Disney CEO Bob Iger admitted in November 2023 that the studio may be rushing out too many titles.

"One of the reasons I believe it’s fallen off a bit is that we were making too much," Iger said, according to Deadline. "I think when it comes to creativity, quality is critical, of course, and quantity in many ways can destroy quality. Storytelling, obviously, is the core of what we do as a company."

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Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados is a writer focusing on sports, culture, entertainment, gaming, and U.S. politics. The podcaster and former radio-broadcaster also served in the Canadian Armed Forces, which he confirms actually does exist.
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