The animated Disney film Strange World will arrive on Disney Plus much earlier than you might have anticipated. The likely explanation isn't exactly complicated: Strange World performed poorly at the box office, and has been forecasted to lose Disney as much as $147 million (opens in new tab).
Strange World focuses on a family of explorers known as the Clades who are adventuring off into a brightly colored world of the unknown. Their adventure is aided by the family dog Legend, and they also become friendly with a likable but misbehaving blob-alien named Splat.
The film's voice actor cast features top-shelf actors such as Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Gabrielle Union and Lucy Liu. We've heard good enough things that we think it has a good shot of being one of the best movies on Disney Plus, but critical reaction has been mixed.
Strange World currently has a middling 73% score on Rotten Tomatoes by critics and a slightly worse 67% audience score.
After its paltry $28 million global opening weekend, Strange World only managed to rake in $50.4 million (opens in new tab) worldwide since. Now, it looks like a piece of the puzzle to be used to help keep Disney Plus subscriber numbers strong.
When is Strange World coming to Disney Plus?
Strange World arrives on Disney Plus on Dec. 23, one month after its Nov. 23 release date. This is 33% shorter than the usual 45-day theatrical exclusivity window.
Analysis: Strange World's odd path to streaming
Disney was criticized (opens in new tab) for a lack of promotion for Strange World, something I noticed as people only seemed to talk about the film online after it performed poorly at the box office. Some believe Strange World was also minimally merchandised, as content creator TheDerpyHipster claimed (opens in new tab).
The lack of marketing made some feel (opens in new tab) like Disney betrayed Strange World. The film features a notably diverse cast, and an openly-queer lead character (voiced by Jaboukie Young-White). The latter may have been the reason why it wasn't released the Middle East and China, which censor LGBTQ+ content.
While Strange World may not have been promoted enough, its theatrical release felt odd considering how the Hocus Pocus 2 was a Disney Plus-exclusive. That film's success started some debate (opens in new tab) by those thinking it should have been a theatrical release.
Now, Strange World gets a second chance at finding an audience. It arrives right after the Disney Plus price hike, during a moment where Disney doesn't have much other new releases of note. The new Willow series is here, and there's no date announced for when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is coming to Disney Plus.
That said, Strange World's pre-Christmas arrival may make it the biggest title to drop during that week, as families trying to find a movie for all to enjoy may give it a chance. The premise is a little vague — as is the title 'Strange World' — but a strong placement in the Disney Plus home page carousel during a week where people are trying to find something new may be just the ticket.