Walt Disney Co.’s “Raya and the Last Dragon” brought in lower-than-expected box office sales of $8.6 million in North America during its opening weekend, failing to draw audiences back to theaters in large numbers instead of streaming at home.
The animated film about a young warrior girl, featuring the voices of Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina, was simultaneously launched on the Disney+ streaming platform for an extra $30 and will become free to subscribers on June 4. The film had been projected to generate about $12 million in ticket sales, according to an estimate from Boxoffice Pro.
Globally, “Raya” debuted to an estimated $26.2 million this weekend, with China its second-largest market. Disney didn’t disclose sales of the movie on the streaming platform.
Warner Bros.’s “Tom & Jerry,” also simultaneously released on HBO Max, came in second this weekend, making $6.6 million, according to industry researcher Comscore Inc.
At least one major chain, Cinemark Holdings Inc., said it won’t show “Raya,” amid disputes between theaters and studios over when and how releases can be made available on streaming platforms during the pandemic. Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek said at a conference last week that theaters need to get used to movies being released in different ways, since customers have grown accustomed to having more viewing options.
With New York City reopening theaters on Friday after a yearlong hiatus, about 45% of all North American theaters are now currently open, up from 42% last weekend, according to Comscore. Disney said “Raya” will have extended play through spring-break periods in March and April as more markets and theaters re-open then.