Disney Blindsided by Fox Box Office Struggles: ‘Well Below What We Thought It Would Be’

Fox’s film business had a $170 million operating loss driven by “Dark Phoenix”

When Disney fought to acquire the film and TV entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox, it expected a much higher performing movie business.

The media and entertainment behemoth on Tuesday reported earnings for the fiscal third quarter, and though its film division increased 33% year-over-year to $3.8 billion, Fox’s film business had an operating loss of $170 million, CFO Christine McCarthy said during the company’s quarterly call with the Wall Street community.

The brunt of the loss was placed on the poor performance of “Dark Phoenix,” which had a hefty production budget of $200 million not including marketing, and grossed $65.8 million domestically and $252.4 million worldwide.

“One of the biggest issues we faced in the quarter was the performance of the Fox film business,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said during the call. “It was well below what it had been and well below what we thought it would be when we did the acquisition.” (The company had estimated $180 million in operating income from Fox films for the same quarter last year.)

It’s hard to feel too bad for…

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