Monday, April 22, 2024

Disney’s “Cruella” May Be in Trouble at the Box Office as “Dalmatians” Update Doesn’t Make Fandango Top 5, Has Little Advance Sale


I was worried that Disney’s “Cruella” might be in trouble. A totally amateur look at Fandango reservations for Memorial Day weekend by yours truly showed few seats filled. This was worrisome.

Then this came from Fandango, unsolicited. “Cruella” didn’t make the top 5 films people were looking forward to seeing upon return to theatres.

They were:

  1. Black Widow (opening July 9)
  2. A Quiet Place Part II (opening Friday)
  3. F9 [Fast & Furious 9] (opening June 25)
  4. The Suicide Squad (opening August 6)
  5.  Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (opening Sept 3)

Uh oh.

Of course, “Cruella” will be on Disney Plus, so there will be a lot of viewing there. But it’s booked solid into multiple plays in over 3,000 theaters starting tomorrow night. And so far, there are few “x’s” and lots of blue squares indicating available seats.

I really liked “Cruella.” It’s very entertaining, and the actors are terrific. The sets and production are over the top wonderful award worthy.

But Disney could be facing a box office disaster here. A look at Manhattan’s AMC Lincoln Square show for 6:30pm on Saturday night is bleak. All seats are wide open. That’s in the regular theater. In the Dolby, about 20 seats are sold for 7:30pm.  Back in the main theater, the 7:45pm show is also unsold. The same goes up in the Connecticut suburbs.

In Chicago, at the AMC River East, there are three advance seats marked off for the 6pm show.

Is it a matter of seeing it at home?

According to the Fandango study, “76% of moviegoers said theater safety policies, like social distance seating, enhanced cleaning measures and contactless ticketing, made their experience more enjoyable, with 86% saying they were also comfortable ordering concessions. Moviegoers are feeling so good that 77% said they would be comfortable inside the auditorium when capacity increases to 100%.  96% of the ticket buyers surveyed said they plan to see multiple movies in theaters this summer (with 64% specifying they will see 5 movies or more in theaters), while 91% feel that blockbusters must be seen on the big screen and 87% say the moviegoing experience cannot be duplicated at home.”

Disney may have made a mistake by holding reviews until today. Paramount let reviewers run with “A Quiet Place Part 2,” also opening Friday, last week. “Cruella” has enough positive reviews that maybe Disney should have started playing it up last week, as well. Let’s cross our fingers for walk up and spur of the moment business.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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