‘Elemental’ Triumphs Over 2023’s Best-Reviewed Animated Feature At The International Box Office

Pixar’s President Jim Morris recently expressed joy at Elemental‘s sudden box-office comeback after the film booked the worst opening weekend in Pixar’s 28-year history. The low $29.6 million opening led everyone to believe that the emotionally-charged feature would become another box-office bomb for Disney. However, the tables have turned as Elemental has officially surpassed the year’s best-reviewed animated feature at the international box office just nine weeks into the run.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, the sequel to the Academy Award-winning 2018 animated film Into the Spider-verse, has been defeated by Elemental internationally despite a huge gap in the two film’s domestic earnings. Across the Spider-Verse opened to a staggering $120 million on June 2 and has earned a total of $686 million so far. While Elemental is way behind in opening numbers, it is eyeing to hit the $500 million mark soon, with its current collection standing a $458 million.

Image via IMDb

While Across the Spider-Verse is still leaping way ahead of Elemental in overall gross, the Spider-Man feature only managed to accumulate 44.5 percent of its overall earning, i.e., $305 million in international markets. On the other hand, 67 percent of Elemental‘s total earnings so far have come from overseas, amounting to $307 million.

While it may be a small victory, every little step is contributing towards making Elemental a sleeper hit and pushing it closer to fulfilling Morris’ wish, which he stated during an interview with Variety:

“I always wish higher. I’d hate to disappoint myself, but I’d love to see it get to half a billion.”

Elemental focuses on the love story between the two anthropomorphic elements, fire and water, named Ember Lumen and Wade Ripple, respectively. It also masterfully illuminates the overarching social topic of an immigrant’s effort to integrate and establish a home in a new location. Although the film received largely positive early social media responses, critics unnecessarily bashed the film as “underwhelming.”

a still from Elemental (2003) featuring Fire and Water looking at each other.
Photo via Disney

By all accounts, Elemental is a rare, heartfelt comedy-drama that received unnecessary hate during its initial run. Much like Ezra Miller’s The Flash, Pixar’s Elemental carried a $200 million budget baggage and the weight of a Hollywood powerhouse’s name attached to it. However, the Pixar CEO always had faith in Elemental‘s financial success:

“At the box office we’re looking at now, it should do better than break even theatrically… This will certainly be a profitable film for the Disney company.”

The film was widely review-bombed and called a ‘flop,’ only to defeat the critically-acclaimed fan-favorite animated film of the year at the box office internationally. Talk about a comeback!

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