Winnie the Pooh
- Directed By: Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall
- Written By: Stephen J. Anderson, Clio Chiang, Don Dougherty, Don Hall
- Release Date: July 15, 2011
- Domestic Distributor: Disney
- Cast: John Cleese, Jim Cummings, Bud Luckey
Box Office Info:
|Budget: $30 million||Financed by: Disney|
|Domestic Gross: $26,692,846||Overseas Gross: $23,452,761|
Disney announced they were moving forward with a hand drawn Winnie The Pooh project in 2009, just as the mouse house was concluding an 18 year long court battle over the rights to Pooh. The family of Stephen Slesinger sued Disney in 1991, claiming unpaid royalties and then tried to seize the copyright. Stephen Slesinger had obtained the rights in 1930 from Pooh’s creator, A.A. Milne and after Slesinger died in 1953, his widow sold the Pooh rights to Disney in 1961. In return, the Slesinger estate would continue to receive a percentage of merchandising and licensing revenue. The court sided with Disney in September 2009 and they quickly moved forward with this project.
Disney financed Winnie The Pooh for a modest $30 million and the production was handled by Walt Disney Animation Studios, unlike the previous Pooh movies over the last decade. The Pooh brand had been manhandled by Disney, which churned out the cheap productions Pooh’s Heffalump Movie, Piglet’s Big Movie and The Tigger Movie — all of which were originally designed for a video only release, but landed a theatrical run. Winnie The Pooh was a return to form for the brand.
Winnie the Pooh landed strong reviews, but Disney dated the movie for July 15, 2011 as counter-programming to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 — where it was left to fend for box office crumbs against other family fare in release: Zookeeper and Disney’s Cars 2. Winnie The Pooh pulled in a weak $7,857,076 — placing #6 for the weekend led by Harry Potter. Winnie The Pooh had a modest 34.3% second weekend decline to $5,162,046 but sank 65.6% in its third frame to $1,777,625 when The Smurfs opened. Winnie the Pooh closed with only $26,692,846.
Disney released the film overseas to a poor $23.4 million. The worldwide cume was $50.1M and Disney would see returned about $27.5M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — which would not cover P&A expenses or any of the budget. While the budget and marketing spend wouldn’t put a dent in the mouse house’s bottom line, this was a disappointing run for Pooh.