So far, 2015 has been a pretty banner year for Disney — and it’s not over yet (Star Wars, anyone?). However, there have been a handful of missteps along the way. We’ve collected these embarrassments and whittled our list down to five nominees for 2015 Turkey of the Year.
Before we crown our champion, let’s take a look at the nominees and why each one made our list:
Once again, a beloved Pixar director tries his hand at live action and fails. Well, Tomorrowland actually received mixed reviews (literally — it’s at 50% on Rotten Tomatoes), but its box office was below expected while still avoiding John Carter-level bad. To be fair, Tomorrowland actually recouped its reported budget of $190 million, picking up $93 million at home and $115 million overseas. Still, its failure does not bode well for the future (no pun intended) of original films coming from a studio now armed with enough Star Wars and Marvel properties to print money.
Interestingly, the marketing for Tomorrowland started long ago when no one had any idea what the film was other than the title. Disney launched a mysterious scavenger hunt-esque campaign titled “The Optimist” that tied into the Walt Disney element of the movie’s plot. But, funny story: all the Walt stuff was cut just before the film’s release. It seems that while we were all scrambling to figure out what this film was to be, so were the filmmakers.
Disney Store at D23 Expo
The D23 Expo has suffered many hard lessons and growing pains over their four events in six years, some of which they sought to alleviate by nearly doubling the capacity of their largest hall this time out. However, the biggest issue with the Expo this year wasn’t with the convention itself but with Disney Store’s pop-up shop on the main show floor. With insanely low edition counts on popular items, a lack of communication on whether said items were even still available, and an insult-to-injury “opening ceremony” that forced a massive and growing line of fans to wait for a show they couldn’t see to conclude before even attempting to buy anything, the store was the ire of Twitter and Expo goers. Heck, our own Alex even wrote a scathing piece about the whole experience. As he would probably say, “no bueno.”
By the time Wicked City premiered on October 24th, the TV media were already scratching their collective heads wondering how no show had gotten canceled yet this season. Some programs (including ABC’s Blood & Oil) had seen their episode orders trimmed, but, even by November, no show had been pulled from air. When Wicked City premiered to a 0.9 in the coveted 18-49 demographic, the blood was already in the water. However, some thought that ABC would let the limited series (the 10 episodes were all part of a contained, one season story arc) air as long as it didn’t get much worse. Well… it did get worse. In its third week, the show garnered a 0.4 in the demo with less than two million total viewers — tying the worst rating ever for an in-season airing on one of the big four networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox). Needless to say, it was canceled three days later and only eight of the ten episodes were even produced.
Although the Wicked City pilot allegedly garnered the best reaction to an ABC show among Millennials sampled before its premiere, the teaser for the show may have turned many off. Following in the footsteps of the only-got-a-season-two-because-it-won-an-Emmy American Crime, Wicked City was gritty and violent akin to popular shows found on cable. Alas, it takes more than decapitated corpses to lure viewers; you also need good acting and writing which Wicked City unfortunately lacked.
Everything surrounding Strange Magic was… well… strange. The Lucasfilm animated jukebox musical (see, already strange) was barely announced prior to its debut in January of this year. If you’re a box office scholar, you’ll note that January is not the most prestigious time to release a film unless, of course, it’s an expansion of an Oscar picture that had its qualifying runs begin before Christmas. Still, while January films like Paul Blart: Mall Cop have shocked at the box office, Strange Magic did about what it was expected to do: nothing. With a 17% Rotten Tomatoes score not doing it any favors, the film made $5.5 million in its first weekend for a total of $12.4 million domestic (but don’t forget the extra $1.1 million in foreign receipts…). Perhaps it was all a plan to bookend the year with two Lucasfilms: Strange Magic to start things off and Star Wars: The Force Awakens to end it with a bang.
The Decision to End Osborne
The Walt Disney Company has certainly made their fair share of controversial decisions, but one announcement stood out from the crowd this year. After 20 years, Disney informed us that The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights would be coming to a close in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in order to make way for the construction of Star Wars Land. While most fans were fairly understanding that Osborne would have to leave DHS (or whatever they’ll call it in the next few years), the real outrage is due to the fact that no new venue for the lights has been announced, with many fans arguing for a number of seemingly logical locations. Only time will tell if the overwhelming demand will lead to the resurrection of the display, but millions of fans are descending on Hollywood Studios this season to say their prospective goodbyes.
Five strong contenders, but there can only be one Turkey of the Year.
And that Turkey is…
While the odds-on favorite going in was Tomorrowland, Wicked City’s spectacular failure was too much to deny. Even though Tomorrowland was a box office disappointment, it was far from the biggest flop ever. On the other hand, Wicked City is literally one of the worst rated shows of all time and still holds the dubious distinction of being the only show pulled from the air so far this season.
So did we get it right? What’s your pick for the 2015 Disney Turkey of the Year?