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Disney Fans Criticize The Lack Of Marketing For Strange World

Nothing brings the family together during the holidays like a good animated Disney movie. Whether you revere their hand-drawn classics or have fallen in love with their more modern computer-animated successes, the works of Walt Disney Animation Studios have become ingrained in the hearts of audiences everywhere.

It would only make sense that some of their most memorable releases have come out during the Thanksgiving holiday season, with such hits as "The Little Mermaid," "Wreck-it-Ralph," "Frozen," and "Encanto" bringing families together during this cozy time of year. However, this year's turkey day offering from the mouse house, "Strange World," did not seem to have the same staying power as some of its contemporaries. The reason — people didn't even know it was out.

The science fiction adventure film tells the story of a family of explorers who must trek through a mysterious, monster-filled land to save a crucial energy source. The movie stars the voices of Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, and Lucy Liu. The animated feature harkens back to Disney's other attempts at sci-fi with the films "Atlantis: The Lost Empire" and "Treasure Planet," both of which were box office bombs in their initial release but have gone on to become cult classics. And it sadly seems that "Strange World" is falling in line with that tradition, having only grossed $18.6 million over its opening weekend (via Variety). While there are several factors that caused the film to bomb, its lack of advertising was likely a significant contributor.

Did Disney send Strange World out to die?

Many have attributed the poor box office reception to Disney's "Strange World" to the film's lack of marketing. It's unclear why this was, but it has not stopped fans from theorizing. One Redditor commented, "Disney clearly sent this one out to die. The question is, why? They devalued their own films due to putting them onto Disney+ so soon. Was this supposed to be a theatrical redemption? But why didn't they market it?" The user went on to explain how they believed "Strange World" was initially supposed to be released via Disney+ and not theaters.

Some Reddit comments claimed that getting parents to bring their children to theaters is much more challenging in today's world. However, not everyone agreed with this sentiment, citing the massive success of "Minions: Rise of Gru" as an example of how animated films can still produce big box office numbers (per Box Office Mojo ). One Redditor also noted that "Strange World" simply lacked a "hook."

Also worth noting is that "Strange World" marks the first Disney animated feature to contain a lead gay character with Ethan Clade (Jaboukie Young-White). As a result, the film was banned in several countries (via Deadline). Some theorize that Disney was apprehensive about heavy advertising due to this. Twitter user @jordanjwoodson believes "Disney is 100% going to blame 'STRANGE WORLD's' inevitable bad box office on the fact that there's an openly gay character in the movie when in reality, it's going to flop because they didn't market it at all."

It's still unclear why "Strange World" didn't receive love in its marketing, but regardless of the true intent, the film will hopefully find its audience down the road.