Disney flop 'A Wrinkle In Time' could have cost studio £137m

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Oprah in A Wrinkle In Time (Credit: Disney)

A Wrinkle In Time, the ambitious Disney adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s young adult novel from the 1960s, could have cost the studio as much as £137 million ($186 million) in losses.

Disney published its earnings for the second quarter of 2018 yesterday, and though Black Panther exceeded all expectations, earning $1.3 billion (£957m), the same cannot be said of Ava DuVernay’s sci-fi fantasy.

According to the report ‘the increase in theatrical distribution results was due to the success of Black Panther in the current quarter… This increase was partially offset by the performance of A Wrinkle in Time in the current quarter’.

Disney did not specifically disclose the earnings of the movie, or its losses, but there have been estimates.

The movie, which didn’t lack star quality, boasted roles for Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Mindy Kaling, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Peña, David Oyelowo and newcomer Storm Reid.

But following a hail of middling to poor reviews, it limped to a box office haul of only $126.9 million (£93.4m), a genuinely disastrous performance for a movie of its size.

(Credit: Disney)

How much it lost depends on its production budget spend, which some outlets placed at $150 million (£110m), while others, notably Deadline, suggested could be more like $250 million (£184m).

Either way, the movie did not make back what it cost to make, with the cost of its marketing and advertising being a massive outlay too, often as much as the production budget again.

Yahoo Finance in the US has pitched the movie’s potential loss at between $86 million (£63m) and a staggering $186 million (£137m), depending on the accuracy of the production budget figure, and when considering that a studio should make back half of the box office gross on a movie.

Though Disney has not said whether or not the flop has caused a write down in profits, the figure compares with the studio’s last truly disastrous performance, that of John Carter.

The 2012 sci-fi knocked the studio for losses of a reported $200 million (£147m), having cost $350 million (£257m) and made only $284 million (£209m) at the box office.

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