Though Disney’s Strange World animated feature from director Don Hall only hit theaters on Thanksgiving, the studio’s already getting ready to debut the movie on Disney Plus for reasons that might have something to do with its terrible box office returns.
Today, Disney announced that Strange World — a sci-fi action adventure about a family of explorers journeying beneath the surface of their planet — will be coming to Disney Plus this December, just weeks after its theatrical release and subsequent bombing at the box office. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, and Lucy Liu, Strange World tells the story of how multiple generations of the legendary Clade family are pushed to settle their differences as they work together to save their world from destruction. Despite featuring a stacked cast of stars and a script from Raya and the Last Dragon co-writer Qui Nguyen, Strange World has struggled to make much of a splash at the box office, and the movie currently stands to lose Disney some $100 million.
It’s difficult to pinpoint specifically what about Strange World made audiences less inclined to flock to movie theaters to see it, but in the months leading up to its initial release, there was a decided lack of a major advertising push behind the project. Strange World’s story centers on one of Disney’s first openly queer protagonists and features a surprisingly diverse array of characters, but you would have been hard-pressed to know either of those things based solely on how the movie’s been marketed.
Disney’s decision to put Strange World onto its streaming service so quickly suggests that the studio sees more value in making the movie easier to watch rather than banking on there being a delayed surge of interest in it, which is likely true. But in a year when Disney’s elected to forego releasing absolute knockouts like Turning Red theatrically, the choice to push Strange World to Disney Plus this way definitely makes it seem like the studio isn’t entirely sure how best to put out its animated offerings.