Disney prepares for UK flop of latest animated musical

Disney’s next animated musical, Hercules, is set for a UK flop when it launches in the autumn following poor audiences and weak merchandise sales in the US.

Hercules, based on the story of the mythical strongman, is due for release in the UK in October but has so far made less than $100m (62.5m) at the US box office, with correspondingly disappointing merchandise sales for Mattel. By comparison, Disney’s The Lion King made about $300m at the US box office.

The disappointing sales of action figures and merchandise are being blamed on too many summer film releases in too short a time, and on a growing boredom with Disney’s animated musicals.

Since the beginning of the year, five major merchandise films have been released – Star Wars, the Lost World, Batman & Robin, Hercules and Men in Black.

Sean McGowan, US toy analyst with Gerrard Klauer Mattison, says: “They have all been released within six months of each other, with merchandise aimed at the same core audience of five to 15-year-olds.”

He suggests the public could be tired of Disney animated musicals.

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