- Elemental box office: Peter Sohn’s computer-animated romantic comedy fantasy is Pixar/Disney’s latest mega-budget money-loser.
- In other weekend box office news, the Jennifer Lawrence sex comedy No Hard Feelings has opened with so-so numbers in the domestic market. Gene Stupnitsky directed; Andrew Barth Feldman costars.
Elemental box office: Pixar/Disney’s romantic comedy fantasy may end up an even bigger commercial bomb than Lightyear
June 23–25 weekend box office: After four weekends in American and Canadian theaters, Columbia/Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse returned to the top of the domestic box office chart, grossing $19 million according to final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com. (More info further below.) After opening as the no. 1 title on June 2–4, Across the Spider-Verse was down one slot on weekend no. 2 (trailing Transformers: Rise of the Beasts) and then another slot on weekend no. 3 (trailing The Flash and Elemental).
Nearly as eyebrow-raising was this past weekend’s no. 2 holdover: Pixar/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures’ computer-animated romantic comedy fantasy Elemental, which, on its second weekend out, earned $18.4 million from 4,035 locations.
So, does that mean Elemental won’t become the major box office bomb that everyone was predicting after its dismal $29.6 million debut?
Although it’s true that Elemental is no Mars Needs Moms (more info on Disney’s 2011 box office cataclysm), this $200 million production (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses) is bound to end up a sizable money-loser at the global box office.
Elemental vs. Lightyear
In fact, Elemental may possibly turn out to be an even bigger commercial dud than Lightyear (domestic debut: $50.6 million in June 2022; worldwide cume: $226.4 million; budget $200 million) and, relatively speaking, COVID-19 victim Onward (domestic debut: $39.1 million in late February/early March 2020, right before the shutdowns; worldwide cume: $141.9 million; budget $200 million). (Update: Wrong. See below.)
After 10 days, Elemental has scored a mere $65.5 million in the U.S. and Canada, in addition to an estimated $56.1 million from 40 international territories. Worldwide total: A meager (in relation to its cost) $121.6 million.
Its top international markets to date are China ($11.1 million), South Korea ($9.6 million), Mexico ($4.7 million), Argentina ($3.1 million), and France ($2.9 million).
As in the case of Disney’s Rob Marshall-directed The Little Mermaid, which has no chance of recovering its gargantuan budget at the (worldwide) box office (around $500 million to date), ancillary revenues will surely provide a significant boost to Elemental. Yet its doubtful that the latter title will manage to break even.
And it remains to be seen how that will affect future Pixar/Disney productions.
Elemental ultimately surprises
Update: Elemental’s box office demise was greatly exaggerated.
To date (Sept. 10), Elemental has taken in $484.2 million at the global box office: $154.2 million domestically (an undeniable underperformer) and a – surprisingly – remarkable $330 million internationally.
Now, despite what has been claimed elsewhere, there’s no chance this Pixar/Disney release will recover its total (production + distribution + marketing) cost at the box office alone. Indeed, Elemental should end its run around $100–$150 million in the red. Ancillary revenues, however, may eventually help it to break even – or even earn a profit.
Elemental’s top international markets so far are South Korea ($54.4 million; whether or not related to his movie’s success in that country, director Peter Sohn is of Korean ancestry), the United Kingdom/Ireland ($23.3 million), France ($22.7 million), Mexico ($20.9 million), Japan ($16.8 million), Germany ($16.2 million), Brazil ($16 million), China ($15.9 million) Spain ($13.6 million), Argentina ($11.7 million), and Australia ($11.5 million).
Elemental movie cast
Directed by Peter Sohn from a screenplay by John Hoberg, Kat Likkel, and Brenda Hsueh, Elemental chronicles the unexpected love story between fire and water.
In the voice cast: Leah Lewis, Mamoudou Athie, Ronnie del Carmen, Wendi McLendon-Covey, and veteran Catherine O’Hara (Home Alone, For Your Consideration).
Elemental has an underwhelming 67 percent approval rating and 6/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes’ “top critics.”
Top Six movies: Jennifer Lawrence sex comedy has undistinguished debut
Apart from Elemental, these were the Top Six movies on this past weekend’s domestic box office chart:
- At no. 1, Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson’s computer-animated superhero actioner Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse grossed $19 million (down 29 percent on its fourth weekend). Domestic cume: $316.8 million vs. a far more modest $243.2 million internationally. Worldwide: $560 million. Voice cast: Shameik Moore and Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld.
- At no. 3, Andy Muschietti’s DC superhero actioner The Flash grossed a mere $15.1 million (down a disastrous 73 percent on its second weekend). Domestic cume: $87.5 million. Worldwide: $210.8 million. Cast: Ezra Miller, Sasha Calle, and two-time Oscar winner Ben Affleck.
- At no. 4, Gene Stupnitsky’s R-rated sex comedy No Hard Feelings debuted with a so-so $15 million from 3,208 locations. Worldwide cume: 24.5 million. Cast: Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence and Andrew Barth Feldman. Studio/Distributor: Columbia Pictures | Sony Pictures Releasing. Budget: $45 million. Chances are No Hard Feelings will have a difficult time recouping its overall cost at the box office.
- At no. 5, Steven Caple Jr.’s CGI action fest Transformers: Rise of the Beasts grossed only $11.8 million (down 43 percent on its third weekend). Domestic cume: $123.1 million. Worldwide: An underwhelming $341.4 million. Cast: Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback.
- At no. 6, Wes Anderson’s all-star comedy-drama Asteroid City grossed $9 million (up 961 percent after expanding from six to 1,675 venues on its second weekend). Some have hailed that as a remarkable figure – the filmmaker’s best domestic weekend take (not adjusted for inflation) – but the reality is that Asteroid City’s per-theater average was a just okay $5,405. Domestic cume: $10.3 million. Worldwide: $16.7 million. Cast: Jason Schwartzman, two-time Oscar nominee Scarlett Johansson, and two-time winner Tom Hanks.
“Elemental Box Office: Major Pixar + Disney Money-Loser” notes
Unless otherwise noted, “Elemental Box Office: Major Pixar + Disney Money-Loser” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources (e.g., the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Deadline.com, etc.).
Comments about Elemental, No Hard Feelings, Asteroid City, and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).
Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, domestic/international sales/pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses may be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is fully – or even partially – accounted for).
Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take. However, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.
Elemental movie image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
Jennifer Lawrence No Hard Feelings movie image: Columbia Pictures | Sony Pictures Releasing.
“Elemental Box Office: Major Pixar + Disney Money-Loser” last updated in September 2023.