The thing about being as huge as Disney currently is, is that eventually you wind up competing with yourself. One textbook example may occur this weekend when the main studio’s latest animated film, Strange World, opens in theaters. While analysts expect the film to do moderately well, they also expect it to debut at #2 behind Disney’s own Wakanda Forever.
The follow-up to Black Panther has a lot of positive buzz and very long legs. It hasn’t left #1 since its debut two weeks ago and a third week of domination is expected. if your average family hasn’t seen either, they’ll most likely go for Wakanda Forever.
In addition, Strange World has the kind of premise that isn’t easily explained. While it boils down to the standard (and tired) “dad can’t connect to his kid” plot, it takes place around a community on the distant planet of Avalonia that thrives thanks to a power source called Pando. This energy source was discovered by explorer Searcher Clade 25 years prior, and revolutionized the whole settlement — until the present day, when its power seems to be fading.
So Searcher must lead another expedition to find out why, accompanied by his father, Jaeger Clade, and his reluctant tabletop enthusiast son, Ethan. Sci-fi adventure films have never performed well for Disney, whether they eventually find their audience on home video or not. We admire an exotic premise, but your average Hallmark-watching mom may prefer something a bit less out there.
If you’re thinking you’d rather just wait for Strange World and Wakanda Forever to reach Disney+, the wait may be longer than you think. Disney has just released their December release schedule and neither film appears there. Last year’s Encanto was a Thanksgiving premiere that was delivered to Disney+ by Christmas, but Strange World hasn’t been granted the same.