Strange World will release December 23 across Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar, the company has announced in a tweet. Disney’s latest animated venture, set on a Dr. Seuss-like vibrant planet, arrives just 29 days after its global premiere on November 25. That’s a new low for a Disney animated film — less than a month — since the studio had implemented a 45-day window before any theatrical releases would be available for streaming. With a reported budget of $180 million (about Rs. 1,488 crore), Strange World only managed to collect a worldwide total of $53.5 million (about Rs. 442 crore), indicating that Disney is staring at a huge loss.
That said, this shrinking window has been prominent with recent Disney animated films, including the Academy Award-winning film Encanto, which dropped on the streaming service 30 days after its theatrical release on November 24 last year in the US, or 28 days after its release on November 26 in India. Whereas, Turning Red, the first Pixar film to be solely directed by a woman, Domee Shi, shifted from a planned theatrical release to streaming, owing to the surge of the COVID-19 Omicron cases. Strange World’s case isn’t helped by the fact that Disney is looking for a Christmas-time drop on streaming.
While it had a star-studded cast, headlined by the voices of Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler) and Dennis Quaid (Footloose), Disney’s marketing campaign for Strange World never expanded upon the story or its characters. The company only ensured to make the audience aware of the fact that one of its lead characters, Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White), was openly gay — marking a first for the studio. Last month, as Bob Iger hosted a companywide meeting, following his return as CEO of The Walt Disney Company, he was questioned about the studio’s stance on LGBTQ+ inclusion. Reports suggested that the company was caught donating close to $200,000 (about Rs. 1.65 crore) to Florida politicians, who passed a state bill to prevent school teachers from discussing the said topics.
“One of the core values of our storytelling is inclusion, and acceptance and tolerance. And we can’t lose that, we just can’t lose that… how we actually change the world through the good must continue. We’re not going to make everyone happy all the time, and we’re not [going to] try to. We’re certainly not going to lessen our core values in order to make everyone happy all the time,” Iger said in the meeting (via Variety).
Disney’s Strange World follows the Clades, a legendary family of explorers, who are invited onto a vibrant planet to save the world from “grave danger.” Upon reaching the uncharted, pink-tinted world, however — whose waters can dissolve flesh off bones — Searcher Clade (Gyllenhaal) runs into his long-lost, heroic father Jaeger Clade (Quaid), kickstarting some family drama, with occasional breaks for fighting ravenous creatures. The film also stars the voices of Gabrielle Union and Lucy Liu.
Strange World arrives December 23 on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar wherever available.