Disney Expects $75 Million Loss on ‘The Finest Hours’

The Finest Hours
Courtesy of Disney

UPDATED: Disney CEO Robert Iger said the company expects to take a loss of $75 million on “The Finest Hours,” the sea-going ocean rescue film that opened the year as one of the conglomerate’s few flops.

“We also had a miss this quarter,” Iger said at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom Conference. “That will be a negative of about $75 million.”

Although the production cost of the film has not been announced, the film starring Casey Affleck and Chris Pine had substantial CGI work. It made just over $40 million at the box office worldwide.

Although it did passably with critics and many of those who saw it, scoring a 58 on Metacritic and an A- Cinemascore, the 1950s-set drama about a Coast Guard crew rescuing sailors on a freighter failed to gain momentum. Unlike most Disney hits, it was not tied to a superhero or well-known piece of intellectual property. And though it was based on a real-life story that was the most dramatic rescue in the history of the Coast Guard, it was linked to the smallest branch of the U.S. armed services and to a more-than-half-century-old incident few in the public knew about.

Though he acknowledged the film fell short, most of Iger’s hour-long presentation was about Disney’s success with the vast majority of its films. He told  investors at the conference that Disney Studios had previously returned about 10% on invested capital but that results had improved dramatically of late — to more than 20% returns in 2014 and to more than 30% in 2015.

He also said the prospects for 2016 were great, with the huge success of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and the recent smash opening for “Zootopia,” which surpassed “Frozen” to record Disney Animation’s biggest-ever opening.

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Iger also described the almost uniform success of Disney’s three powerhouse subsidiaries. Since the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm were all completed, there have been 26 films released, 25 of which made money, with an average global box office of $760 million. Iger noted that those big results do not include ancillary revenue from consumer products, theme park attractions, games and the like. “In some cases, we are just getting started,” he said, referring to the short time lapse since the release of the seventh “Star Wars” installment.

As he has frequently in recent months, Iger was also asked to make a case for the resiliency of ESPN, the all-sports network that has seen some subscriber declines. The Disney CEO said the business will continue to grow because of the popularity of live sports and the many rights packages ESPN controls. He said the network will remain a growth engine for Disney in the future. “It’s going to grow, but just not in the way it has in the past,” Iger said.

The Disney chief noted that the conglomerate relied on intermediaries to bring many of its products to the public — cable television operators, movie theater owners and big box retailers included. He said many of those arrangements had worked well for the company but that, in the future, he expected Disney to seek out more direct access to consumers.

He noted that, with theater owners showing its blockbusters, “We don’t have any idea who went to see ‘Star Wars.’ ” Across all the companies businesses, he said, “reaching  people more directly is a priority for us.”

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  1. valik says:

    Great movie actually

  2. Deb says:

    Meh. cgi is cgi. Here to stay & never that great. I watched it because it was a true story. That made the cgi worth my time, knowing we can’t recreate what some extraordinary every day people did in real life. Loss against the box superhero movies I’m so sick of??? Good. The story was worth telling. Id buy the dvd to see it again. NEVER buy superhero movies!!!!!!!!

  3. David Orsini says:

    THE FINEST HOURS is an excellent film. The production values, the director, and the actors are first-rate. It is refreshing to see a contemporary film that portrays heroic sacrifice and strong-minded competence.

  4. ne says:

    Carter Burwell wrote on his blog about Iger getting his man hands into the production, and retasking it in the direction of an action picture for China auds. That was the wrong thing to do.

  5. IT--2--IT@hotmail.com says:

    Franchise slum Hollywood —‘overlooked’—- the 65th Anniversary of the KOREAN WAR? ? ?
    to bring us SLOP like this? ? ?

  6. Mark Allan says:

    At least they’re not losing money on Gods of Egypt which is losing even more…

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  8. Rex says:

    The key piece of info in this article is revealed in the last two paragraphs: Disney will eventually find a way to market its substantial catalog DIRECTLY to the public, presumably via the Internet, but also utilizing their own exclusive service of some kind and no longer loaning their stuff to Netflix and their ilk. ALL the studios and other content creators are probably looking at the same concept. When it happens, and it will, and Netflix and others know it, Netflix intends/hopes to have enough original content (tv and film) to do their own thing. It’ll be quite a different landscape five years from now.

  9. NukeHollywood says:

    Nuke Hollywood from orbit.

  10. theschu says:

    There’s also the fact that it just didn’t look like a very interesting movie.

  11. Hawkeye says:

    Of course this was gotta happen, we’ve seen this movie already with A Perfect Storm and The Guardian (the Aston Kutcher one).

  12. Jacques Strappe says:

    That’s what Bob Iger tips the guy to valet park his land yacht.

  13. Cath says:

    Hard to feel sorry for them since the loss will be a write off.

  14. cadavra says:

    In fairness, they released it too soon after IN THE HEART OF THE SEA. More than one time I saw the trailers back to back, which is usually certain death to whichever film comes out second.

    • Cath says:

      I saw the trailer so many times over months that I thought I had already seen the film by the time it showed up in the theaters.

  15. Dave Netherton says:

    LOL I feel SO sorry for the Mouse House especially after the Ocean Liner’s full of money they made from The Force Awakens…BOO HOO!!!, TEAR!!!

  16. TheBigBangof20thCenturyPopCulture says:

    They should have CGIed Chris and Casey who both look like automaton comic book man boys.

    • Rudy Mario says:

      Casey seems to be synonymous with flop. Chris Pine is also reaching that point.

      I saw the lousy trailer and that crappy water look of CGI and decided it was not worth 14 bucks.

  17. Walter says:

    So I guess nothing but super hero movies from here on out. Stop the madness.

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