And When No One Was Looking Disney’s ‘Planes’ Became A Success(ish)


Most of us are still bewildered by the insane success that is We’re The Millers. Let’s talk about that for a second? Before it came out, it looked like a guaranteed flop. $50 million domestic total tops. Sudeikis isn’t a sell and Aniston is hit and miss. The trailers were well received, but still – no one expeced it to go on and gross $150 million.


How? Why? Word of mouth. For sure. I didn’t see it until 2 months into it’s run and I unexpectedly enjoyed it. It’s not very good, but it’s silly and it’s harmless and has some genuine laugh out loud moments. But I don’t think that is why it succeeded because then every half way decent comedy should have done the same. No. I think We’re The Millers benefitted from the “there’s nothing else to see, let’s see this”. And the same can be said for Planes.

Disney’s Planes was originally supposed to be a straight-to-DVD release for the company. It’s the sort-of spinoff from Cars that is so very Disney back in the early 2000s when they made a sequel to all of your favourite classics (reminder: there are 3 Cinderella movies, 3 Little Mermaids, 2 Aladdin’s, 2 Lion Kings, so on and so forth).

Planes opened to $22 million, which is very okay and about how much Cars made in it’s opening day. It went on to have some very quiet, very steller legs, as it’s domestic total ended up at $90 million and it grossed $219 million worldwide. It’s domestic total is $20 million more than The Smurfs 2 – a movie that had twice it’s budget and was never intended to be a straight-to-DVD release. It’s production budget is estimated at a measly $50 million (that’s cheap for a Disney animated film. In comparison, Disney’s Tangled cost the studio $260 million (!!)) Reminder: this was supposed to go STRAIGHT TO DVD. The studio did themselves a favor and took a chance on releasing it theatrically. Obviously this is a special case as animated films tend to do well enough to make a profit, because parents always need something to take their kids to see. But it’s fascinating because this, realistically, should have never happened.

So what’s next? Well, it’s getting it’s own sequel, of course. Planes: Fire & Rescue, which is set for a release next summer (this seems too soon). I mean, well done Disney. Well. Done.



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