Sunday, May 26, 2024

Would “Cruella” Have Been Bigger at the Box Office Without Disney Plus? Who Paid $29.99 Extra?


Disney’s “Cruella” was a disappointment this weekend at the box office.

Making just $21 million, “Cruella” was a poor runner up to Paramount’s “A Quiet Place 2.” The horror flick took in $48 million for the weekend, $58 million for the holiday run.

“Cruella” may have been bobbled by its access on Disney Plus. But subscribers who already pay $6.99 a month had to fork over another $29.99 to see the Emma Stone- Emma Thompson feature.

How many people did that? We may never know. Movie streaming is an opaque business. We have to depend on numbers from the studios if they give them at all.

Would “Cruella” have been bigger at the box office if it weren’t streaming? I think so, even if just another $10 million. And forcing people to see it on the big screen — with its lavish production — might have created some word of mouth. But we’ll never know.

The biggest issue with “Cruella” was that it was neither fish nor fowl. Was it for kids? Not really. So was it for adults? Not really? Was it for dogs? Possibly. But Cruella DeVil as the Joker was tricky. If Disney goes ahead with a sequel, they’ll have to go more “Maleficent” if that’s possible and less tongue in cheek. And that would mean losing an essential flavor.


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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