I read an article over at Deadline that discussed the disappointing results for Disney's (NYSE: DIS) latest Pirates adventure. The link updates through the weekend, but at the time of this writing, the film is projected to gross perhaps as much as $80 million for the four-day holiday weekend. Box Office Mojo says that the series entry from 2011 grossed approximately $90 million over a three-day weekend. That was six years ago. This is not great news for Disney shareholders (like myself).
A thought occurred to me. As the Deadline article mentioned, Memorial Day has been challenging for Disney and the industry the last couple years. Tomorrowland, the Alice sequel, they just haven't done well. I believe, however, there is an obvious solution (at least for Disney) -- make sure a can't-miss project is programmed for the holiday period.
I have to admit, I find it strange that audiences rejected Tomorrowland and Alice. I didn't see those pictures, but they seemed to be what moviegoers want to see. But they don't have the same brand equity as a Star Wars movie or a Marvel picture, which brings me to the solution that could have been:
Disney should have switched the release dates of the Guardians and the Pirates sequels.
I honestly believe that Guardians Vol. 2 would have been a stronger project to place into the marketplace this weekend. The new Pirates probably would have done more business earlier in the month.
We'll never know, but memo to Bob Iger from Multiplex Money: only Marvel and Star Wars and Indiana Jones (and maybe even a big Pixar sequel, or a Frozen sequel, etc.) should be placed during Memorial Day weekend. Who knows if that'll work, but it's worth a try. Something has to change, though.
Disclosure: I am/we are long DIS.