Disney Fires Back at Elemental 'Flop' Narrative With Surprising Viewership Reveal

By David Thompson Posted:
Wade and Ember from Elemental, Disney logo

Following a poor opening weekend, Elemental continues an upward battle to prove that it's not a flop, including new viewership numbers released by Disney.

The situation for Pixar and Disney looked dire when Elemental was first released in theaters. It was given the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score in studio history (for an original film) and opened to a quiet $29.6 million at the domestic box office.

However, the film pushed forward and was ultimately deemed a success by Disney after crossing the $400 million mark at the global box office.

Following its theatrical comeback, it released on Disney+ on September 13 and garnered 26.4 million views in its first five days of streaming.

Elemental's momentum has continued, becoming the most-viewed movie across all streamers during its opening weekend in the US.

Disney Shares Impressive Elemental Disney+ Performance

Elemental Wade

Disney recently shared some exciting new statistics with The New York Times in regard to Elemental's continued streaming success.

The article shared that Elemental has earned 60 million views through October 2. Looking to shake off the notion of this being a flop, the outlet called this one of the "biggest streaming hits in [Disney's] history."

In addition, Disney added that Elemental's streaming viewership is now significantly higher than The Little Mermaid and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 within the same time period.

A funny quote was added from Rahela Nayebzadah, a father of two sons, stating he had "no idea what Elemental was about" but now his "kids have been watching it nonstop ever since" initially watching on Disney+:

“I had no idea what ‘Elemental’ was about, but we decided to watch it as a family because I kept hearing good things. The kids have been watching it nonstop ever since.”

One way Disney+ has been successful is by catering to a younger audience that is prone to rewatching series or movies repeatedly. 

Was Pixar's Elemental a Flop for Disney?

The goal from Disney over the past several months has been the resurrect and restore the image of Elemental following its abysmal opening.

To be fair, the film did perform throughout the summer in a surprising way and is clearly a big hit among families on Disney+.

So maybe Elemental should no longer considered a flop, but it without question was initially. 

Additionally, despite the new narrative of grand success in the modern age of streaming, Elemental doesn't hold a candle to some of Pixar's biggest hits in theaters.

Sitting at $476.5 million worldwide, Elemental comes in at 17th place in Pixar's all-time box office list. Due to Disney's decision to release recent Pixar movies like Luca, Soul, and Turning Red directly to Disney+, these results shouldn't be a surprise.

In Pixar's epic return to theaters, Lightyear stunk up the box office, earning just $218.76 million worldwide. 

It will be fascinating to see how Pixar's return to sequels like Inside Out 2 and Toy Story 5 ultimately perform at the box office.

For now, Disney can breathe a sigh of relief as Elemental continues to surprise with impressive viewership.

Elemental is now streaming on Disney+.

- About The Author: David Thompson
As an editor, writer, and podcast host, David is a key member of The Direct. He is an expert at covering topics like Marvel, DC, Star Wars, and business-related news following the box office and streaming.