Disney's 'Wish' Fails to Impress Among Critics and Audiences as People Draw Comparisons to AI

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

Nov. 27 2023, Published 1:43 p.m. ET

The Gist:

  • Disney's Wish was released in theaters on Nov. 22, 2023.
  • The film is considered a box office flop, having made only $49 million on opening weekend.
  • Many criticize its stylistic choices for its animation and music.
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While a global pandemic, shifting CEO statuses, and two historic industry strikes have done it no favors, Disney has certainly seen better days. The massive and all-encompassing influence of the mouse has been waning with some of the studio's artistic decisions and has produced mixed results with many of its releases. With Marvel being one of its major properties, The Marvels became Marvel Studios' first major flop, with many seeing the superhero film as the culmination of superhero movie fatigue over the past few years.

When it comes to Disney's more traditional animated fare, Wish was practically DOA. The 2023 film follows 17-year-old Asha (Ariana DeBose) as she strives to save the Kingdom of Rosas from impending darkness while the nefarious King Magnifico (Chris Pine) rules over the people's wishes within the kingdom.

The film received a bad rap from the moment it was announced, and many believe that those initial concerns were justified. Here's why people were quick to hate on Disney's Wish.

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Here's what we know about the hate for Disney's 'Wish'.

As part of the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney Pictures, Wish was meant to act as a love letter to the film's golden era of 2D animated feature films. As such, the film employs a blend of traditional 2D animation as well as computer animation.

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When folks first got a look at this style in the film's teaser trailer, people were already divided on it. While some appreciated the homage to Disney's heyday, others accused Wish of being a bland copy of other stylized animated moves such as the Puss in Boots sequel or the Spider-Verse films.

The film caused a bit of a stir when it was first announced, but things only got worse as the release came upon us.

The film flopped hard on its release. With a budget of over $200 million, the film only managed to rake in $31.7 million over Thanksgiving weekend in the US box office. It fared worse internationally with only $17.3 million.

As folks found out more about the film, they simply found more to dislike.

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Many critics argued that the film failed to balance its status as a love letter with telling its own original story. While some enjoyed the film, others believed that it simply rehashed some older Disney films instead of focusing on its own narrative. Audiences also criticized the songs in the film, with many joking that the musical numbers sounded AI-generated when compared to Disney's previous outings.

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One user on TikTok even presented an interesting theory as to why the songs failed to land. @kaludiasays believes that the songwriters, Julia Michaels and Benjamin Rice, were more accustomed to writing generic pop songs rather than songs meant for narrative musicals. The TikToker even posited that they were told to emulate the style of previous successful Disney songwriters like Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Judging a film on its first trailer is usually pretty unfair, but when even Disney's award-winning formula fails to win over critics and audiences upon release, it might be a sign for things to change.

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