Last year, films produced or owned by Walt Disney Studios accounted for a whopping 80% of box office returns. In fact, looking at the 2019 Top Ten, you’d have to go down to 9th place to find a movie that wasn’t produced or co-produced by Disney, or its Marvel, Pixar, and LucasFilm subsidiaries. While Disney has always been a force at the box office, it has not always produced winners. The House of Mouse has plenty of skeletons in its closet, from unloved sequels, franchise non-starters, and plain ol’ flops. This is Canuary 2020: Disney Minus!
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Disney’s signature product, since the very beginning, has been the animated feature film. With early classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 and the mega-hits of the ‘90s like Aladdin and The Lion King, Disney proved that it can outdraw the competition. But things weren’t always great in the Magic Kingdom, with a fairly lengthy dry spell in the ‘70s and ‘80s that many refer to as the Dark Ages. In 1985, Disney Animation saw its biggest flop yet, a fantasy movie based on The Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander, which, with a budget of around $40 million, was the most expensive animated film made to date. It only grossed $21 million and nearly shut down Disney’s animation studios for good. And though the critics liked it and it was the first animated film to use computer-generated imagery, the movie was not released on home video until 1998. Now Legends Podcast kicks off our month of crappy movies by taking a dump in The Black Cauldron!
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