'Soul,' 'Spider-Verse,' Weekend Box Office Failure; Audiences Reject Recycled Films

The theatrical release of Pixar's "Soul," which Disney has been distributing on Disney+ since December 2020, had a shocking weekend at the domestic box office, grossing just $131,000 from 1,350 theaters for an average of $97 per theater. This was the lowest average of any film with numbers reported this week and a drop of nearly 70% from the previous week.

Disney will be hoping for better results with the release of "Turning Red" on February 9 and "Luka" on March 22, but after a terrible two weeks for "Soul," things do not look promising.

The weekend was only marginally better for Sony, which re-released one of its own films, the Oscar-nominated "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse," over the weekend. Across the Spider-Verse played in a modest 466 theaters and grossed only $150,000 ($321 per theater).

In the first quarter of 2024, there were few animated feature films playing in theaters, and given the situation, a re-release seemed like a potentially good idea. However, that strategy has proven fruitless, with older films from late 2023 far outstripping those that audiences have already been able to watch at home for months or even years.

So far, the top-performing animated film of 2023 is Illumination's "Migration," which finished its fifth weekend of release in fifth place. The film earned $5.3 million at the domestic box office over the weekend, down just 15% from the previous week. Lifetime domestic box office is currently at $94.6 million. Combined with Migration's $97 million international box office, the film has grossed $191.6 million worldwide.

Hayao Miyazaki's "The Boy and the Hare" continued its record-setting North American theatrical run, earning an additional $814,529 over the weekend to bring its domestic total to $43.2 million in its seventh week of release.

DreamWorks' musical sequel "Trolls Band Together," which recently surpassed the $100 million lifetime box office mark in North America, grossed $350,000 from 478 theaters in its 10th week of release.

"Wishes" limped into the closing days of its domestic release, grossing $151,000 from only 185 theaters. While the film was a flop in the U.S., it did quite well overseas, grossing $6.1 million in 51 international markets and finishing the weekend in 10th place. The film's total worldwide box office has reached $191.6 million. This is on par with "Trolls" and "Migration," but these films were made for a fraction of what Disney spent on "Wishes."