10 Beloved Animated Disney Movies That Bombed At The Box Office (2023)

The Walt Disney Corporation is perhaps the most recognizable brand in the world. Their success comes mainly from their high-quality animated films, designed to entertain children and their parents equally. Because of this, they have managed to weather the test of time and continue to captivate new generations decades after their first release.

However, this wasn't always the case. Many films considered Disney classics failed to turn a profit, and some even received a poor reception from critics and audiences. There are several reasons for this, including changing sensibilities, high production costs, or bad timing.


'Pinocchio' (1940)10 Beloved Animated Disney Movies That Bombed At The Box Office (1)

Disney's second feature was a big step-up from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. They adapted the puppet character by Carlo Collodi, who dreamed of becoming a real boy. With the aid of his conscience, Jimmie Cricket, he tries to navigate the world and avoid trouble while learning life lessons about being brave, truthful, and unselfish.

Though many people love this film for its innovative animation techniques and memorable story and characters, it was a disaster upon release. The onset of World War II cut off Disney's overseas market, and they could only make 1.6 million dollars against a 2.6 million budget. Fortunately, it would sell well on VHS and DVD in the 80s and 90s.

'Fantasia' (1940)10 Beloved Animated Disney Movies That Bombed At The Box Office (2)

After Snow White made his studio famous, Walt Disney wanted to push his animators and see what they could accomplish. His highest concept film involved merging Disney animation with classical music. The results varied from detailed stories with heroes and villains to abstract shapes that dance in time with the music.

Related: From 'Lorenzo' to 'Rhapsody in Blue': Top 10 'Fantasia' Segments Ranked

(Video) Disney Animation Movies That FAILED At The Box Office..

Unfortunately, the cost of installing Fantasound technology, an expensive roadshow distribution, its high concept, and WWII meant that the film barely made back its 2.2 million production costs. This dashed Walt's dreams of making another film like Fantasia, though he would experiment with titles like Make Mine Music and Melody Time. Thankfully, the power of music transcends generations, and it is now considered one of Walt's best movies.

'Alice in Wonderland' (1951)10 Beloved Animated Disney Movies That Bombed At The Box Office (3)

Once the good times returned in the 50s, Disney began work on adapting Lewis Carol's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. As young Alice chases after a white rabbit to ask where he's going, she encounters one strange thing after another, like talking flowers, a dodo leading a caucus race, and a magical Cheshire cat. Each creature is brought to life by one of Disney's top animators, resulting in a mosaic of different animation styles.

Alice was a major disappointment upon release, making 2.1 million dollars on a 3 million budget. Walt reportedly disowned the movie due to its lack of heart, brought on by his animators trying to one-up each other with their scenes. However, when re-released in the 70s, where it found a new audience in college students and psychedelic fans.

'Sleeping Beauty' (1959)10 Beloved Animated Disney Movies That Bombed At The Box Office (4)

The evil fairy, Maleficent, curses the infant princess Aurora to prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die on her sixteenth birthday. Three good fairies try to avert the curse by raising her in the woods and altering the curse to place her into deathless sleep. However, Maleficent sends her spies to track down the girl and ensure her curse is fulfilled.

Sleeping Beauty was the company's most expensive film at the time, costing 6 million dollars. Since it only made back 5.3 million, Disney was forced to switch to Xerox technology to speed up the animation process and cut costs. Thankfully, re-releases would eventually see their money back, and the film would be properly praised for its art style and characters, especially Maleficent.

(Video) Top 10 Biggest Animated Box Office Bombs

'The Black Cauldron' (1985)10 Beloved Animated Disney Movies That Bombed At The Box Office (5)

A pig-keeper named Taran is tasked with protecting a pig who can see into the future. He loses her to the Horned King's minions, who want to use her to find an artifact called the black cauldron. Now Taran must find the cauldron before the Horned King can raise an army of undead.

Related: How 'The Black Cauldron' Nearly Killed Disney Animation

The Black Cauldron suffered from studio meddling and for being much darker than Disney's usual stories, so it failed to make back even half of its 44 million dollar budget. It was so bad that The Care Bears movie grossed more domestically. Over the years, it's gathered a small cult following among fans of 80s fantasy movies for its art style and dark imagery.

'The Rescuers Down Under' (1990)10 Beloved Animated Disney Movies That Bombed At The Box Office (6)

A young boy named Cody rescues a giant golden eagle named Marahute and is shown the eagle's nest in thanks. On his way home, he is captured by a poacher hunting the eagle. Fortunately, his capture was seen by a mouse, who send a message to the Rescue Aid Society so that they can rescue him.

Related: 'The Rescuers Down Under': The Untold Story of How the Sequel Changed Disney Forever

Although the production cost has never been released, the movie was considered a failure when it made 27.9 million dollars domestically. It came out the same week as Home Alone, so Disney cut their losses and pulled the movie's advertising. Still, it's worth checking out for its gorgeous animation, especially during the flying scenes, and a fun villain performance from George C. Scott.

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'Hercules' (1997)

10 Beloved Animated Disney Movies That Bombed At The Box Office (7)

After success on The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, John Musker and Ron Clements wanted to work on their passion project. However, they were tasked with making one more commercially viable film before releasing Treasure Planet. They chose an adaptation of the story of Hercules, made mortal by the god of the Underworld, Hades, who must become a true hero to regain his divinity.

Related: Guy Ritchie to Direct Live-Action 'Hercules' for Disney

The film only grossed 100 million dollars domestically to a budget of 85 million. This was due to how unfocused the film was thanks to combining elements of whatever was popular at the time, including Rocky,Superman, and Michael Jordan. Thanks to its gospel-inspired songs and James Wood's performance as Hades, it has managed to get a fanbase.

'Atlantis: The Lost Empire' (2001)10 Beloved Animated Disney Movies That Bombed At The Box Office (8)

Michael J. Fox plays Milo, an underappreciated scholar who believes in finding the lost city of Atlantis. One day, a friend of his grandfather's approaches him with a journal containing a map of the lost civilization and a crew to pilot a high-tech submarine. Milo joins the expedition as their Atlantis expert, but no amount of money and knowledge could prepare them for what they find.

Unfortunately, 2001 meant Disney was competing with Shrek and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. They stood no chance at the box office and only made a worldwide gross of 186 million dollars against a 120 million budget. However, the film is fondly remembered for its unique art style, its more mature storytelling, and an amazing cast of side characters.

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'Treasure Planet' (2002)10 Beloved Animated Disney Movies That Bombed At The Box Office (9)

When a dying alien lands at the Benbow Inn, Jim Hawkings comes into possession of a map that leads to the hidden treasure of the galaxy's greatest pirate. A family friend helps to hire a ship and crew to find it, while Jim is made into a cabin boy serving the ship's cook. Unknown to Jim, Silver and the crew plan to take over the ship and claim the treasure.

Related: Why 'Treasure Planet' Is One of the Unsung Gems in Disney Animation Canon

To avoid competing with Lilo and Stitch, the film was released in December, which meant it got destroyed by Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Moreover, a poor marketing campaign and the film's strange balance of sci-fi and Georgian-era attire made the film Disney's biggest financial loss among their animated films. Yet for those who have seen it, the film is beloved for Jim's arc and the father-son bond between him and Silver.

'Meet the Robinsons' (2007)

10 Beloved Animated Disney Movies That Bombed At The Box Office (10)

Lewis is a child genius trying to find his mother, who left him as a baby. To do this, he builds a machine that can tap into his deepest memories, which he enters into his school's science fair. Unfortunately, a man in a bowler-hat from the future wants to use Lewis's invention for his own success, and the only one who can help him is a boy with a time machine.

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The film went through many re-writes when Pixar's John Lasseter took over production, resulting in a 150 million dollar budget. The film made back 169 million but has grown a cult following because of its emotional core and heartfelt ending. It also includes a strong emotional quote linked back to Walt himself.

Next: How to Watch 'Luck': Is the Animated Film Streaming or in Theaters?


What Disney movie starts with a bombing? ›

Another Disney movie, “Strange World,” is bombing, grossing a disappointing $4.2 million on Wednesday as it eyes a five-day haul of under $24 million. That's a terrible result for the $180 million-budgeted animated adventure.

Why did Fantasia fail at the box office? ›

Because of World War II and the impossibility to obtain the now-government rationed electronic equipment for Fantasound, Fantasia failed to recoup its high costs at the box office. “I don't regret making it,” stated Walt in 1951.

What is Disney's least successful movie? ›

Treasure Planet currently stands at number one (perhaps to be supplanted by Strange World in the coming weeks?) on the list of Disney's biggest flops of all time.

What is the most unpopular Disney movie? ›

Here's 11 of the Most Underrated Disney Movies
  • 8 The Black Cauldron (1985)
  • 7 Brother Bear (2003)
  • 6 Meet the Robinsons (2007)
  • 5 A Goofy Movie (1995)
  • 4 A Bug's Life (1998)
  • 3 Hercules (1997)
  • 2 The Rescuers (1977)
  • 1 Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
Jan 10, 2023

What Disney movie lost money? ›

What movie lost the most money? As of June 2022, the four biggest movie flops of all time were Disney productions. "Turning Red" (2022), "Jungle Cruise" (2021), "Mars Needs Moms" (2011), and "Mulan" (2020) recorded losses of more than 140 million U.S. dollars at the global box office.

What Disney movie tanked at the box office? ›

The plummeting box office results of Disney's "Strange World" comes on the heels of the announcement of Bob Iger returning as chief executive of the Walt Disney Company after less than a year in retirement.

What Disney movie has a jail? ›

The Old Prisoner is a minor character in Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He is an elderly man who serves as a running gag in the film, where he is accidentally freed from a prison, cheers in joy, and ends up inadvertently trapping himself in yet another prison.

What is the first R rated movie from Disney? ›

Through Touchstone, Disney's first R-rated film, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, came on January 31, 1986, and was a large box-office success.

What is the warning on Fantasia? ›

“Sunflower” in the movie “Fantasia” is an offensive black centaur seen waiting on her white brethren. “Lady and the Tramp” contains stereotypes of Asians. The characters are animated with exaggerated accents and slanted eyes. The same goes for “The Aristocats.”

What did Disney Remove from Fantasia? ›

Character information

Sunflower is one of the minor protagonists from The Pastoral Symphony animated segment of the 1940 concert film Fantasia. Though she appeared in the film while it was in theaters she has been removed from all releases of the film since 1969 due to perpetuating a racist stereotype.

How did Fantasia loose all her money? ›

Fantasia's money woes began back in 2008 when she was accused of defaulting on a $58,000 loan taken out with Broward Energy Management. Apparently, the loan was originated by Fantasia to help pay back taxes she owed to the IRS.

What is the #1 Disney movie of all time? ›

Top 10 most successful Disney films
RankMovieOverall score /100
1.Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)97.78
2.Fantasia (1940)87.55
3.101 Dalmatians (1961)87.34
4.The Lion King (1994)85.64
6 more rows
Sep 25, 2019

What is the most liked Disney movie of all time? ›

All Disney Animated Theatrical Movies Ranked by Tomatometer
  • #1. Pinocchio (1940) 100% #1. ...
  • #2. Zootopia (2016) 98% #2. ...
  • #3. One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961) 98% #3. ...
  • #4. Dumbo (1941) 98% #4. ...
  • #5. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) 97% #5. ...
  • #6. Moana (2016) 95% #6. ...
  • #7. Aladdin (1992) 95% #7. ...
  • #8. Fantasia (1940) 95% #8.

What is the most liked Disney movie? ›

Ranked: The best Disney movies of all time (for kids of all ages)
  • Sleeping Beauty (1959) Trailer. 85 % ...
  • Coco (2017) 81 % 8.4/10. ...
  • Hercules (1997) 74 % 7.3/10. ...
  • Beauty and the Beast (1991) Trailer. 95 % ...
  • The Lion King (1994) 88 % 8.5/10. ...
  • Mulan (1998) 71 % 7.6/10. g 88m. ...
  • Tarzan (1999) 79 % 7.3/10. g 88m. ...
  • Aladdin (1992) 86 % 8/10. g 90m.
Oct 13, 2022

What is the most forgotten Pixar movie? ›

Even the Cars movies sold a lot of toys. But A Bug's Life, released in 1998, generated the lowest box office gross of any film in Pixar's first 20 years of existence. It inspired no sequels and predated the Best Animated Feature Oscar, robbing us of a showdown for the ages with The Prince of Egypt.

Who is the least favorite Disney character? ›

10 Universally Hated Disney Characters
  • The Prospector (Toy Story 2) ...
  • Scar (The Lion King) ...
  • Ernesto de la Cruz (Coco) ...
  • Hans (Frozen) ...
  • Lotso (Toy Story 3) ...
  • Randall (Monsters, Inc) ...
  • Jafar (Aladdin) ...
  • Darla (Finding Nemo)
Apr 25, 2022

What Disney movie lost $100 million dollars? ›

Disney's 'Strange World' to Lose $100 Million in Theatrical Run.

Does Disney remove movies? ›

For years, Disney+ has continued adding new films and shows every week, with brand new originals, linear network shows and content from the Disney vault. But, like all streaming services, Disney+ does remove content.

What was the 100th Disney movie? ›

"Wish" is slated to come out in 2023, which will the Disney's 100th anniversary. Fitting that they're capping off their first 100 years of magic with a movie called "Wish," don't you think?

What movie almost bankrupted Disney? ›

The studio has endured a long, fascinating history, and at one point, a particular Disney movie almost brought the whole company to a halt. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first feature-length family movie from Disney, put Walt Disney in considerable debt over the course of production.

Why is there no ratatouille 2? ›

In June 2018, Brad Bird spoke with io9 about possible sequels to some of his movies, like Ratatouille and The Iron Giant. Bird expressed disinterest in making more Ratatouille content because “that story is told,” and The Incredibles 2 director also said, “No one apparently wants anything new anymore.

Why was turning red a flop? ›

Despite this, the film was considered a flop due to its immense production and marketing costs, with experts estimating that it needed $600 million in ticket sales to break-even.

Will Disney allow R-rated movies? ›

Disney+ Now Has R-Rated Movies: How to Turn on Parental Controls.

Has Disney had a rated R movie? ›

Films containing an R (restricted under 17) rating by the MPA. Disney never releases R-rated films under the "Disney" brand; all of these films are published by subsidiaries and thus only indirectly Disney-related, and will generally not receive in-depth coverage here beyond pages on the films themselves.

Has Disney put out an R-rated movie? ›

While Walt Disney Pictures keeps things family-friendly, their other labels like Touchstone Pictures and Buena Vista Pictures have offered up quite a few R-rated offerings over the years. While these films aren't the typical content fans expect from Disney, they are officially a part of the brand.

What is the least scary movie? ›

Coming out on top as the least scary movie was The Silence of the Lambs with no jumpscares..but we think that might be dependent on who you ask. Also included in the top twenty were Cannibal Holocaust (1980), The Blair Witch Project (1999) and Bone Tomahawk (2015).

Does Disney have any PG-13 movies? ›

Adventures in Babysitting, in 1987, was Touchstone's first to receive a PG-13 rating. No Disney film has ever received an NC-17 or X rating. Some earlier films, in being rated for video release, have been rated PG.

Does Disney have 18 movies? ›

For adults, simply set your age rating to R18+ by entering your account password and enjoy all the thrilling new TV series, movies and originals coming to Disney+ with Star.

What is the demon in Fantasia? ›

In Disney productions

An alternative version of Chernobog named Chernabog appears in the symphonic poem Night on Bald Mountain by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky. He is depicted as a giant winged demon summoning the souls of the dead. One segment of Walt Disney's Fantasia (1940) was based on this work.

Should I let my kid watch Fantasia? ›

Because of its dark and scary scenes, Fantasia isn't suitable for children under six years. Even older children might benefit from parental guidance and explanation of the movie's historical context.

Who is the villain in Fantasia? ›

Chernabog is an antagonistic character featured in Walt Disney's 1940 third full-length animated feature film Fantasia, serving as the main villain protagonist of the segment Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria.

Did Disney plus cut out parts of Avatar? ›

However, Disney has quietly removed the epic 20th Century Studios film, “Avatar” from Disney+ worldwide, without informing subscribers in advance.

Did Disney plus remove Aladdin? ›

The films removed are Dumbo, Aladdin (including the sequels and Live Action version), Peter Pan, Swiss Family Robinson, Lady and the Tramp, and The Aristocats.

Why does Disney remove movies? ›

Many of these deals are long standing contracts which run for multiple years, so Disney have to either buy themselves out of the contract or wait for these contracts to expire. Eventually most titles that are removed, will be added back onto Disney+ when the contract expires.

Why was Fantasia sued by her father? ›

Brandel Shouse, the 13-year-old's father, is suing Barrino for legal and physical custody, claiming he is the better parent. Conversely, Barrino is claiming that Shouse has never had a relationship with the child, nor has he ever provided any financial support for her.

What did Aretha Franklin think of Fantasia? ›

“Fantasia is still young in the business and although we all love and appreciate her she must understand that in this business of show business she will not always get to participate in everything she would like participate in,” Franklin went on. “I'm sure it was not an intentional omission.

When did Fantasia get burned? ›

3/6/2017 1:01 PM PT. Fantasia Barrino suffered 2nd degree burns to her arm when she knocked over a vaporizer in her sleep ... TMZ has learned. Sources close to the singer tell TMZ ... she was dozing on her tour bus Sunday with an aromatherapy vaporizer nearby.

Is Encanto bigger than Frozen? ›

Did Frozen or Encanto make more money? Frozen (2013), a Disney film commonly compared to Encanto grossed $1,265,596,785 worldwide and its sequel, Frozen II (2019), grossed $1,445,182,280. When comparing box office performance to past Disney film successes, it is quite obvious that Encanto underperformed.

Who is the best Disney Princess? ›

1. Mulan ('Mulan') As if her saving China weren't enough, what makes Mulan the ultimate Disney princess is the many admirable qualities she possesses as an ideal role model. These include her quick wit, tenacity, and bravery, as well as her dedication to her family and culture.

What is Disney's best selling animated movie? ›

As of October 2022, the highest-grossing Disney animated movie of all time was the 2019 version of "The Lion King," with a box office revenue of over 37.5 million euros. "Inside Out" (2015) and "Finding Nemo" (2003) followed, with revenues of around 25 million and 22 million euros, respectively.

What is everyone's favorite Disney song? ›

Best Disney songs of all time, ranked
  • 'You've Got a Friend in Me' (Toy Story) ...
  • 'The Bare Necessities' (The Jungle Book) ...
  • 'A Whole New World' (Aladdin) ...
  • 'Let It Go' (Frozen) ...
  • 'Hakuna Matata' (The Lion King) ...
  • 'Beauty and the Beast' (Beauty and the Beast) ...
  • 'Circle of Life' (The Lion King) ...
  • 'Under the Sea' (The Little Mermaid)
Jan 17, 2022

What are Disney's biggest threats? ›

Threats to the Corporation (External Strategic Factors)

This SWOT analysis identifies the threats to Disney, as follows: Competition, especially in the market for content streaming services. Digital content piracy. Unpredictability of the tourism industry.

Why did Strange World do so poorly? ›

Disney's Poor Marketing Blamed For Strange World's Failure

There wasn't a lot of advertising done for the film as fans have noticed, that's a fact, and even though we are now living in the post-pandemic era, people did not seem to bother checking out a movie they never knew existed.

Is Disney making or losing money? ›

Overall, Disney posted revenue of $23.51 billion (up 8%) and adjusted earnings per share of 99 cents for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2022 (Disney's Q1 of fiscal year 2023). That beat analyst consensus estimates of $23.37 billion and 78 cents, respectively, per Refinitiv.


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