Fans of one of the most popular Disney films in years might soon have more to sing about.
The novelist and screenwriter William Goldman was famous for a great many things, including the single greatest summation of the movie business ever uttered: “Nobody knows anything…… Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one.”
Disney fans, Disney executives and even casual Disney (DIS) – Get The Walt Disney Company Report onlookers can certainly relate. A company can think it has a sure thing and make all the audience calculations it wants, but in the end, success is luck and guess work.
Earlier this summer, Disney released the “Toy Story” spin-off “Lightyear” to so-so reviews and box office returns. While a film connected to one of Pixar’s biggest properties, voiced by A-lister Chris Evans, might have seemed like a can’t miss proposition, it seemed that audiences found the entire affair (you see, it’s the movie that the kid from “Toy Story” watched before he bought his action figure) both confusing and unnecessary.
When the film started to underperform and underwhelm critics, Disney fans couldn’t help but wonder why the spin-off got the proper box office treatment, but the much more widely enjoyed cartoon film “Turning Red” went straight to Disney+, when the already intense fan appreciation for the film indicated it could have had a healthy box office run. It has a 95% Rotten Tomatoes score and drew in 2.5 million viewers in the first weekend alone, and seems destined to leave a much larger cultural footprint than “Lightyear. So why must Disney snub the boy-band-loving pandas of the world?
But if Disney didn’t seem to know what to do with “Turning Red,” then it appears the company really didn’t know what it had on its hands with “Encanto,” which has grown from a box office also-ran into one of the company’ most beloved properties in years.
Did Disney Know What It Had With ‘Encanto’?
Directed by Jared Bush and Byron Howard and co-directed by Charise Castro Smith, “Encanto” tells the story of the Madrigal family, who fled from armed conflict in Colombia to the titular magical village, where all the children are given magical gifts.
In retrospect, many critics think Disney didn’t know what to do with the film, which was only projected to make between $35 to $40 million during its opening weekend but now has a worldwide box office total of more than $250 million. Released on November 24 during the Thanksgiving holiday, it was quickly moved to Disney+ as the covid-variant omicron began to surge, making many wary of seeing films in theaters.
But a funny thing happened afterwards, as “Encanto” quickly began a world-of-mouth hit during the holidays, going on to consistently dominate Nielsen’s weekly streaming chart. (It was still in the top ten, as of June.)
“Encanto” fever began to sweep the nation, as the song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” became the first Disney song to hit the #1 Billboard spot since the “Aladdin” theme song “A Whole New World” took the spot in 1993. (It would seem no one was more surprised than this than the song’s composer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, who says he was “flabbergasted” by its success.)
“Encanto” went on to win the Academy Award Win for Best Animated Feature and became a Tik-Tok favorite, and its characters have begun to appear at Disney’s theme parks.
Disney may not have known what to do with the film at first, but now that it has a hit on its hands, the company knows the next logical step is to get to work on a sequel. And according to one of the film’s stars, that might already be underway.
Is A Sequel To ‘Encanto’ On The Way?
Actress and singer Adassa, who voices the “Encanto” character Dolores Madrigal, recently mentioned ‘’Encanto’ is preparing for its next amazing phase” on her Instagram account, as reported by Comicbook.com.
While there’s no further word from Adassa or anyone else what exactly that means, it’s worth nothing that Disney CEO Bob Chapek referred to “Encanto” as “Disney’s newest franchise,” during the Annual Meeting of Shareholders. And you can’t have a franchise with just one film, so it’s likely only matter of time before the entire world is singing along with “We Still Can’t Talk About Bruno.”