Disney’s 2023 box office performance fell short, with no movie crossing the $1 billion mark, breaking their streak since 2015. Prominent movies like Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and The Marvels failed to meet expectations, possibly due to superhero fatigue. In 2024, potential billion-dollar hits for Disney include Inside Out 2, Deadpool 3, and Mufasa: The Lion King, which have established franchises and strong fanbases.

2023 saw Disney‘s box office fortunes take a turn for the worst, breaking an unwanted $1 billion record and begging the question of whether any 2024 movie can break the studios’ duck. More so than ever, big-budget franchises are struggling to turn a profit in a way franchises used to be assured to do. 2023’s box office has been unpredictable in this way, with many movies like The Flash, Fast X, Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning – Part One, and Transformers: Rise of the Beasts all considered disappointments to their respective studios.

According to IndieWire, only one 2023 movie earned profit at the box office concerning projects with budgets of $200 million or higher: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Despite the MCU movie being a Disney release, the Mouse House has arguably suffered more than any other studio in 2023 when offset against its past successes. Disney’s Wish movie was a box office flop, as were several other projects released by the behemoth film studio. This has led to Disney garnering an unwanted $1 billion record emblematic of its failures in 2023, begging the question of whether upcoming Disney movies in 2024 can usher in a return to box office fortune.

Disney’s Unwanted 2023 Box Office Record Explained

The box office record in question for the studio is that, for the first time since 2019, Disney has failed to produce a movie that has crossed the $1 billion milestone at the worldwide box office. Discounting the COVID-19 years of 2020 and 2021 in which the cinematic experience was certainly hindered, Disney has managed to release at least one $1 billion movie every year since 2015. Even 2021 saw Disney co-producing Spider-Man: No Way Home, a $1.9 billion grossing film, meaning the studio was still attached to a highly successful project.

That said, 2023 has brought this unbelievable streak to an end. Some of Disney’s planned big-hitters at the box office for 2023 included the MCU entries of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, The Marvels, and the aforementioned Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, all of which failed to cross $1 billion. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, The Haunted Mansion, Elemental, and The Little Mermaid were Disney’s other major properties for 2023, with the latter’s $569 million haul being the best-case scenario. Despite the studio’s best efforts, none of these films crossed the coveted $1 billion threshold, marking the first time this has happened since 2014.

Which 2024 Disney Movies Could Reach $1 Billion?

When looking at Disney’s 2024 release calendar, the only movies that stand out as potential $1 billion hits are Inside Out 2, Deadpool 3, and Mufasa: The Lion King, releasing June 14, July 26, and December 20 respectively.

This unfortunate record begs the question of which 2024 movies could reach $1 billion at the worldwide box office, potentially emulating Disney’s overwhelming success of the pre-pandemic years. When looking at Disney’s 2024 release calendar, the only movies that stand out as potential $1 billion hits are Inside Out 2, Deadpool 3, and Mufasa: The Lion King, releasing June 14, July 26, and December 20 respectively. Beginning with Inside Out 2, the film is the sequel to the very successful Inside Out from 2015. The first movie grossed $858 million worldwide and is a more recognizable name than the likes of Elemental, Wish, Elio, and Disney’s other recent/upcoming animated movies.

Concerning Deadpool 3, the movie is the only film being released by Marvel Studios in 2024. Given the overabundance of MCU content in recent years, the stretch between projects on either side of Deadpool 3 could actually aid the film. When combined with the $780 million successes of both prior installments, the blending together of the MCU with 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise, and the importance the film holds to the stories of Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars, Deadpool 3 has a real shot at crossing the $1 billion mark worldwide.

Finally, Mufasa: The Lion King is arguably the safest bet for a $1 billion movie regarding Disney’s 2024 releases. The film is a prequel to the live-action retelling of The Lion King from 2019, a film that was a resounding success for Disney. 2019’s The Lion King grossed over $1.6 billion at the worldwide box office, the second highest-grossing film of the year behind only Avengers: Endgame. As such, if any film is set to be a success for Disney in 2024, it is Mufasa: The Lion King.

One movie that could see a $1 billion haul in 2024 is Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. While the franchise has never seen overwhelming box office success, the three rebooted films – Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and War for the Planet of the Apes – all performed admirably with $480 million, $710 million, and $490 million hauls respectively. Similarly, each film was met with incredibly positive reviews meaning the trilogy is often regarded as underrated. As such, the new installment could see this praise translate to better box office performance with the film holding an outside shot of $1 billion.

Why Disney’s 2023 Movies Have Failed To Perform Exceptionally At The Box Office

In light of Disney’s box office woes, it is worth exploring why the studio’s 2023 releases have failed to perform exceptionally at the box office. One of the primary reasons is likely the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strikes which meant the majority of movies from the latter half of the year could not be promoted by their on-screen talent. In Disney’s case, this included the likes of The Haunted Mansion and The Marvels. The latter’s failure was also a product of superhero fatigue, or at least fatigue of low-quality superhero movies, which also affected Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania​​​​​.

Another factor for 2023’s poor box office concerning Disney was the studio’s lackluster animated projects. Wish received mixed-to-negative reviews, with criticism directed at the movie’s derivative nature and nostalgia substituting for a compelling story. Elemental also received mixed reviews, with many deeming it not to have the magic of Pixar’s prior installments. Neither of these movies was aided by the increase in streaming popularity either, with many who would have watched the film in theaters in recent years instead opting to wait for a release on Disney+.

The same can be said for 2023’s The Haunted Mansion, a movie that also suffered from being released in a stacked July as opposed to the much more logical month of October given the movie’s premise, style, and tone. When it comes to Disney’s major releases, the likes of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, The Marvels, The Little Mermaid, and The Haunted Mansion all received lackluster reviews. None of these films were considered home runs for Disney in terms of quality, meaning less of a desire to see the films in theaters from audiences.

2023 Disney Release

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny



The Little Mermaid



Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania



The Marvels



The Haunted Mansion



Finally, the last factor that could have affected Disney’s 2023 box office performance is the sheer output of content from the studio of late. Be it the MCU, Disney’s animated efforts, or the endless animation-to-live-action remakes, Disney’s output has been an overwhelming constant in recent years. This could have led to some fatigue regarding the studio’s content, with even Disney’s CEO (via Deadline) stating:

“In assessing some of our performance, recently, one of the reasons I believe it’s fallen off a bit is that we were making too much. 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.”

These comments coincide with Marvel Studios, a Disney subsidiary, announcing an overhaul of their TV production and pushing back multiple movies to 2025 and beyond in a bid to restore prior quality to the MCU. Similarly, Iger has stated that fewer Disney sequels will be crafted unless a story naturally presents itself. When taking the amount of content into account, combined with elements like lackluster critical reception, poorly chosen release dates, fatigue of major franchises, and the SAG-AFTRA strikes, Disney‘s 2023 box office failures become slightly more believable with 2024’s releases hoping to buck the negative trend of recent years.

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