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Disney loses big at box office amid economic challenges, concerns about LGTBQ activism

At least half of Disney's eight movies over the past year included LGBT-related scenes or characters.

Published: June 26, 2023 11:28pm

Updated: June 26, 2023 11:29pm

The Walt Disney Company has lost nearly $900 million at the box office over the past 12 months for eight of its films, according to a recent movie industry analysis, sparking debate about whether an intrusion of LGBTQ+ issues into the iconic American media company brand has led to financial problems.  

To be sure, Disney, started in 1923 by brothers Walt and Roy O. Disney, and which brought the world the popular Mickey Mouse character, has recently had financial challenges.

In February, returning Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that the company would be cutting costs by $5.5 billion and terminating about 7,000 jobs.

The LGBTQ+ issue is in large part that under Iger’s predecessor, Bob Chapek, Disney denounced Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act – which critics called the "Don't Say Gay" bill – that restricts discussion of certain sexual topics in schools from kindergarten through third grade.

As a result, Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law in February revoking Disney's special control over the district where its amusement park is located.

Disney filed a lawsuit against DeSantis and other state officials in April for allegedly creating a "targeted campaign of government retaliation" over the company's opposition to the parental rights law.

Last Thursday, box office analyst Valliant Renegade examined eight of Disney’s movies over the past year, making calculated estimates as to how much the company made and lost on each movie.

The movies Disney produced and released from June 2022 to June 2023 were "Lightyear," "Thor: Love and Thunder," "Strange World," "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," "Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania," "Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3," "The Little Mermaid," and “Elemental."

While Disney spent about $2.75 billion on all of those movies for product and marketing, it will make an estimated $1.86 billion at the box office.

The analysis estimated how much "The Little Mermaid," and "Elemental" will make, since the former was released last month and the latter opened in theaters this month. 

"Elemental" had the worst box office opening weekend in the studio's history, bringing in just $29.5 million in domestic ticket sales over the three-day Juneteenth weekend.

However, another apparent contributing factor to Disney's slide is that least half of those eight movies included LGBT-related scenes or characters.

"Thor: Love and Thunder" mentioned a character's same-sex parents, "Strange World" featured Disney's first openly gay main character, "Lightyear" featured a same-sex kiss, and "Elemental" featured Pixar's first "non-binary character."

In addition, a transwoman has been cast as a character in the new “Star Wars” series “The Acolyte,” which is set to be released on the Disney+ streaming service next year, according to a report last Wednesday.

Last month, a TikTok video was posted of Disneyland’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in which a male cast member was wearing drag as he welcomed girls to the boutique. A female cast member is also seen in the video wearing the same feminine costume.

"Disneyland used to have a brand – it was all about enmeshing you in a fantasy world with princes and princesses," The Daily Wire's The Ben Shapiro Show tweeted last month. "Now you have to explain to your 4-year-old why this man with a mustache is wearing a dress and calling himself a fairy godmother. It's ridiculous."

As far as Walt Disney World is concerned, visitors have said that the resort has “lost its magic.”

According to a survey conducted by gambling website Time2play last September, out of 1,927 “self-described Disney World enthusiasts,” 92.6% said they believed Disney vacation costs are now beyond what average families can afford. The price increases made 68.3% of the enthusiasts say they felt “like Disney World has lost its magic.”

The high prices were evident in the Disney World Star Wars hotel, which cost $1,200-per-person-per-night, and is now closing after only being opened for about 18 months.

Conservative radio host Clay Travis noted Disney’s declining stock price on Sunday.

"In the two years that @disney has been feuding with @GovRonDeSantis in Florida the Disney stock price has collapsed,” Travis tweeted, including a picture of the stock decline. “Disney stock is now at a nine year low, the same price it was in 2014, and down by over 50% in the past two years. Shareholders should sue over this woke bullsh-t and poor management. It’s destroying the brand.”

Still, other issues, largely uncontrollable, including an uneven, post-pandemic global economy, also appear to be contributing to Disney's financial challenges.

“There are a wide range of factors that are impacting Disney’s bottom line having nothing to do with the perceived pushing of an LGBTQ-oriented agenda,” Red Banyan CEO Evan Nierman, author of The Cancel Culture Curse, told Just the News on Monday.

“From management challenges to inflation and losses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been various pressures placed upon the company unrelated to America’s current obsession with internecine culture wars.

“The much-publicized clashes between two powerful executive leaders, Governor Ron DeSantis and Disney CEO Bob Iger, are feeding into the narrative of political warfare,” he also said. “It has been surprising to see how acrimonious the tussle has become between these two Florida power players given the economic repercussions surrounding one of the state’s biggest boons to tourism.”

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