(LifeSiteNews) – Elemental, the latest animated adventure from Disney-owned studio Pixar, opened this weekend below already-low expectations in the latest apparent flop by an entertainment giant whose struggles in recent years have gone hand-in-hand with a dogged insistence on infusing works targeted toward children and families with sexual and gender messages prioritized by left-wing adults.
Elemental follows “an unlikely pair, Ember and Wade, in a city where fire-, water-, land- and air-residents live together” as they discover “how much they actually have in common.” The film is being touted in traditional and social media as carrying messages about xenophobia and diversity, as well as for including a water-based character named Lake Ripple, voiced by actor Kai Ava Hauser, who is Pixar’s first expressly “non-binary” character.
Despite – or perhaps partially because of – its “woke” flavoring, Variety reported that Elemental took in just $29.5 million domestically in its opening weekend, with international ticket sales bringing its worldwide total to $44.5 million, both numbers far below its $200 million budget.
“To put those numbers into context, Pixar’s worst-performing movie ever was the first movie it ever did, ‘Toy Story,’ which brought in $29.1 million for the then-unheard-of studio in 1995,” The Daily Wire noted.
The haul is “by far the worst start in modern history for Pixar, ranking below some of its more forgettable attempts like 2015’s ‘The Good Dinosaur’ ($39 million) and 2020’s ‘Onward’ ($39 million),” Variety said, adding that the studio once considered the gold standard for family animation “hasn’t been able to rebound from the pandemic, when several of its titles were sent directly to Disney+ and family audiences were trained to expect those movies at home.”
Some questioned the pandemic and waiting for streaming factors as viable explanations for the film’s failure in light of the several million subscribers Disney+ has lost over the past several months and the success of animated features from competitors, such as April’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which had a $146 million opening weekend and was widely praised for its lack of political messaging or “woke” themes.
Not sure shareholders are going to continue to excuse this “but the pandemic” BS with Sony and Universal cleaning up at the box office in the same genre. Also hard to sell “people just wait for the D+ release” when they’re hemorrhaging subscribers. https://t.co/dyqW9nUo93
— John 'pro-norms' Ekdahl (@JohnEkdahl) June 18, 2023
Though the exact extent relative to other variables continues to be debated, “wokeness” continues to be an unmistakable contributor to the woes of Disney and its subsidiaries.
Once a unifying cultural institution, Disney has in recent years steadily infused left-wing politics into the army of entertainment properties it owns, from appeasing LGBT “representation” demands in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as animation aimed at younger audiences, to firing and publicly defaming conservative Star Wars actress Gina Carano, to selling LGBT “pride” merchandise, and more.
In March 2022, the iconic entertainment corporation took a hardline stance against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, which bans schools from teaching children in kindergarten through third grade about transgenderism and other sexuality-related issues, limits discussions of sexuality for older children to “age appropriate” content and requires parents to be informed of any changes that could affect their child’s physical, emotional, or mental well-being.
Left-wing activists within the company, who misleadingly dubbed it the “Don’t Say Gay” law, pressured the company into taking a stand by staging walkouts in protest of Disney’s initial muted reaction to the law. More conservative Disney employees released an anonymous open letter decrying the company’s internal climate of hostility toward “those of us whose political and religious views are not explicitly progressive.”
The ordeal backfired on the company, prompting the leak of internal videos by Disney executives and creators openly declaring their intentions to inculcate children with LGBTQ+ dogma via their film and television projects, and provoking Florida to eliminate the financially advantageous “special district” status for Disney’s theme park in the Sunshine State.
Partly due to these controversies, Disney closed 2022 with its stock down 45.7%, at its lowest price since before it began releasing Star Wars films in 2015, replaced embattled CEO Bob Chapek with returning predecessor Bob Iger, and recently began layoffs of 7,000 employees throughout the company.
Even so, Disney continues to resist pressure to abandon its ideological turn; last November, despite pledging to “quiet things down” regarding controversies, Iger said that the company’s stories would continue to reflect its vision of “attempting to be a good citizen of the world.” In September, Disney will be hosting the Out & Equal Workplace Summit, the self-proclaimed “largest LGBTQ+ conference in the world,” at the Walt Disney World Resort in central Florida.