Disney's Strange World didn't have much to be thankful for this weekend.
The animated film bombed over Thanksgiving weekend with a surprisingly low five-day total of just $18.6 million domestically, among the worst openings for Disney animation in recent memory. For comparison, Pixar's The Good Dinosaur was considered a box office disappointment in 2015, and that debuted with $55 million over five days.
So what went wrong? Well, it's worth noting that Disney has struggled with animated sci-fi adventure films before, as 2001's Atlantis: The Lost Empire and 2002's Treasure Planet were both box office failures.
Beyond that, some analysts felt Strange World's marketing — or perceived lack thereof — left much to be desired, suggesting Disney was burying the movie. It's also possible Disney's recent habit of sending animated films to streaming, either instead of a theatrical release or only a few weeks after, has conditioned audiences to stay home and wait for Disney+.
As with Lightyear, there's sure to be debate over whether the presence of LGBTQ representation was a factor in the performance. Strange World was Disney's first animated film with a gay lead, a teenager whose crush on another boy is a subplot.
But it also could be purely the film itself that was the problem, as Strange World received weak word of mouth. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave it a B, a lower grade than any modern animated Disney movie. Since 1991, every film from Walt Disney Animation Studios received an A- CinemaScore or higher.
All in all, it's the kind of box office disaster that might ordinarily put the head of a company under pressure to explain what went wrong — though in this case, Disney CEO Bob Chapek was already fired days before Strange World's release.