Disney’s Cruella is the latest in the studio’s line of live-action re-imaginings of animated titles, and it represents a hefty investment.
Here’s how much Cruella cost to make. Over the past several years, Disney’s emerged as the biggest movie studio in Hollywood thanks to popular subsidiaries such as Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar. In addition to those properties, the Mouse House has found great success in bringing some of their classic animated titles to live-action. Some of these projects, such as Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast, were straight adaptations of the original films. Others, like the Maleficent series, put a different spin on the source material by shifting the focus. Cruella falls into the latter category, serving as something of an origin story for the 101 Dalmatians villain.
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Even though Disney’s re-imaginings haven’t always been well-received critically, they tend to perform well at the box office. In 2019, Aladdin and The Lion King both crossed $1 billion worldwide, making it easy to see why Disney is interested in keeping this trend going as long as it can. And based on how much Cruella cost to make, the studio was definitely expecting the film to be their next massive blockbuster.
Cruella’s production budget is reportedly $200 million, making it a very expensive endeavor. That price tag is higher than other Disney live-action re-imaginings like Aladdin ($183 million), Beauty and the Beast ($160 million), and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil ($185 million). Cruella’s budget is more in line with what one would expect from a tentpole comic book adaptation. Disney’s upcoming Black Widow also cost around $200 million to make.
Like so many films recently released, Cruella was green-lit well before the coronavirus pandemic, which obviously shifted the theatrical landscape. At the time the movie entered development, Disney was looking for it to be one of their high-profile titles. Originally, Cruella was slated to come out over the 2020 holiday season and was later delayed to this summer. That speaks of the confidence Disney had in the project, which doesn’t appear to be misguided. Cruella has earned positive reviews, with many praising the performances, costume design, and direction. Under normal circumstances, Cruella could have been a massive hit, but it remains to be seen how successful it is at a time when theaters are still limiting capacity. Godzilla vs. Kong gave reasons for optimism, but it’s still hard to predict the box office.
Going by the general rule of thumb, Cruella would have to earn approximately $400 million worldwide just to break even. Luckily for Disney, they’re also releasing the film on Disney+ via the Premier Access program, where subscribers can watch it for an additional $29.99 surcharge. That gives the studio an extra revenue stream to count on, complementing whatever Cruella makes at the box office. A benefit of this is Disney does not have to share any of the Premier Access money with theater chains, so ideally the multiplex and streaming will combine to make Cruella a big hit.
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- Cruella (2021)Release date: May 28, 2021
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