Who wouldn’t wait for a Disney movie? Who wouldn’t wait to see the new Disney princess that’s original? Especially the Disney movie has very positive reviews from film critics. The rotten tomatoes even give 94% for Raya and the last Dragon.

rotten tomatoes Raya

Source: Rotten Tomatoes

Both the production and the critics review, however, didn’t guarantee for the high box office figure. What’s happened to Disney movie? What lessons can be learnt? Let read through this post to find out.

Disappointing Box office Number

Disney’s new animated movie, Raya and the Last Dragon, debuted in select theaters. Raya debuted an estimated $8.6M from 2,045 theaters in U.S. and on Disney+ via Premier Access for a $30 premium fee. This is Disney’s first such release. But “Raya” has also underwhelmed at the box office. $8.6 million domestically in its opening weekend is a disappointing sum for a Disney animated movie even during the pandemic

Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon | Official Trailer

Disney has not reported data on the film’s digital sales on Disney+. However, Raya and the last Dragon didn’t stun overseas either. In its biggest foreign market, China (where Disney+ doesn’t exist), it opened with $8.4M, coming third behind two local holdover titles.

Strategy Change

Disney chose to adopt “Premier Access” as new strategy for Raya, which means movies will simultaneously arrive in theaters and on Disney Plus for an additional fee of $30.

disney and theater Raya

Source: Google Image

Disney CEO Bob Chapek affirmed to use “Premier Access” as a reliable strategy during Covid: “We saw positive results to know that that we had something in the Premier Access strategy.” Raya’s performance will help Disney management team to consider whether their change in long-term distribution strategy is totally applicable or not. CEO Bob Chapek expressed clearly to public that the company would move away from traditional theatrical windows and transit swiftly to streaming service, although trying the best not to “cut the legs off a theatrical exhibition run.”

Strategy change leads to the film flop as the habit haven’t changed fast enough

So what are the reasons behind the disappointing performance of Raya and the last Dragon? There are a number of notable factors, but the most significant reason that cause the film a flop is the fact that Raya And The Last Dragon was also made available (for a premium price) on Disney+. With only $30 “Premier Access” price on the subscription service, and the whole family could watch the film at home on any devices. Many would rather opt for Disney+ than expensive option of the family trip to the local cinema especially during pandemic.

disney plus Raya-Animation

Source: Google Image

It would be unconvincing if we miss to mention the other reason that causes Raya And The Last Dragon’s underwhelming box office performance. It is the fact that it didn’t play on screens owned by some of the biggest theatrical chains in the United States.


Source: Google Image

The U.S’s third biggest cinema chain, Cinemark and Harkins theaters failed to finalize an agreement with Disney regarding the movie’s release on streaming and suitable showing time. As such, the animated blockbuster wasn’t shown in any of the two theaters’ hundreds of locations altogether. That’s for sure play a role in the disappointing box office performance of Raya and the last dragon.

In other words, when habit of the audience has no time to adapt, it’s would be reflected right away on revenue figures. Any strategy change takes times to educate the audience before rolling out. Otherwise, failure is inevitable!

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Reference Sources:

  1. Animation World Network: https://www.awn.com/
  2. Cartoon Brew – Technology: https://www.cartoonbrew.com/tech
  3. Befores & Afters – Visual effects and animation journalist: https://beforesandafters.com/
  4. Bloomberg News: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/
  5. Cinemablend: https://www.cinemablend.com/news/2563958/disneys-raya-and-the-last-dragon-surprisingly-underperformed-at-the-box-office
  6. Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/disneys-raya-was-a-streaming-flop-data-2021-3