14 Worst Disney Movies of All Time
When we think of Disney, enchanting tales, memorable characters, and magical moments come to mind. However, even the mighty Disney empire has had its fair share of missteps and disappointments. In this article, we embark on a journey through the annals of Disney history to uncover the worst Disney movies ever produced by the renowned studio.
From forgotten flops to misguided experiments, we shine a light on the films that missed the mark and left audiences feeling less than enchanted. We’ve even included links to where you can watch these flops in case you don’t trust us. So, fasten your seatbelts and prepare for a bumpy ride as we delve into the dark side of Disney, where even the happiest place on Earth has its moments of cinematic letdowns.
14 Worst Disney Movies of All Time
1. Pocahontas (1995)
The animated historical film Pocahontas is one of Disney’s most polarizing movies. The 33rd Disney animated film tells a romanticized version of the real-life Pocahontas meeting European settler John Smith in 1607. The film is loosely based on their first meeting and Pocahontas saving Smith’s life. The movie received mixed reviews, with some critics praising the animation and soundtrack while others criticized the lack of tone, weak story, and historical inaccuracies.
Historians note Smith was not a handsome and charming man but harsh and rough. There’s also no proof of Pocahontas saving Smith’s life or falling in love with him. Regardless, the movie did well at the box office and received several Oscar nominations for the score and soundtrack. Furthermore, Pocahontas influenced future movies Mulan and Frozen. Disney fans still consider it one of the worst movies the studio produced.Watch on Disney+
2. The Black Cauldron (1985)
Disney’s 25th animated feature film, The Black Cauldron, has the dubious nickname “The movie that almost killed Disney.” Based on Lloyd Alexander’s The Chronicles of Prydain, The Black Cauldron follows Taran, Princess Elionwy, Fflewddur Fflam, and Gurgi as they attempt to stop the Horned King from obtaining the magical cauldron. The film did poorly with audiences criticizing the dark tone and disjointed plot.
This led to the movie being a box office bomb, making roughly $20 million on a $44 million budget. The movie was a significant disappointment and bombed so badly that it almost ended Disney’s animation department. Luckily, the studio began to bounce back with The Great Mouse Detective, which was released the following year and led to the Disney Renaissance. The Black Cauldron is now considered a cult classic animated film amongst hardcore Disney fans.Watch on Disney+
3. Peter Pan II: Return To Neverland (2002)
Peter Pan II: Return to Neverland is a sequel to the 14th Disney animated film Peter Pan. The movie didn’t fare as well as the original 1956 film, which had a short run in theatres but did much better than expected.
The uninspired sequel reused the original film’s plot, except it’s Wendy’s daughter, Jane, who ends up in Neverland meeting Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, and the Lost Boys. Fans and critics criticized the screenplay, lackluster songs, and disappointing plot.Watch on Disney+
4. Planes (2013)
After the enormous success of Cars, Disney Studios got to work on a spinoff, Planes. The plot follows a crop duster plane afraid of heights, Dusty Crophopper, who dreams of competing in a Wings Around The Globe race. It features an all-star cast consisting of Dane Cook, Teri Hatcher, Priyanka Chopra, John Cleese, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Val Kilmer, and Sinbad.
Sadly the star power wasn’t enough to compensate for the weak plot and humor. While it did have overwhelmingly negative reviews, critics praised the animation, with a sequel, Planes: Fire & Rescue, hitting theatres in 2014.Watch on Disney
5. Brother Bear (2003)
The animated film Brother Bear is Disney’s 44th feature film. A young boy from Alaska, Kenai, hunts and kills a bear. The killing angers the Spirits, who turn him into a bear as punishment. Kenai must now travel to a mountain where the Northern lights touch the earth to turn back into a human.
Critics consider the plot generic and the animation lackluster. Despite receiving mixed reviews, Brother Bear did earn an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature, losing to Finding Nemo.Watch on Disney+
6. Strange World (2022)
The 61st Disney animated film, Strange World, stars an ensemble cast of Jake Gyllenhall, Dennis Quaid, Gabrielle Union, Jaboukie Young-White, and Lucy Liu. The plot revolves around family explorers, The Clades, who travel to the mysterious land of Avalonia where they encounter bizarre creatures and find themselves in all sorts of drama.
The movie is significant for featuring the first openly LGBTQ lead character. Despite the stellar cast and visuals, Strange Worlds was a box office bomb and one of Disney’s worst-performing films. Critics praised the cast but criticized the screenplay. It lost roughly $197 million due to its poor performance, although it became the number-one movie on Disney+ when it appeared on the streaming platform.Watch on Disney+
7. Jungle Book 2 (2003)
In 1967, Disney released the 19th animated film, The Jungle Book, to universal praise and positive reviews. They followed with a sequel in 2003, The Jungle Book 2, that failed to live up to expectations.
The sequel got a short theatrical release before going straight to video. While it did well at the box office, critics consider The Jungle Book 2 one of the worst movies of all time. It has a similar plot as the first film, with poor animation and visuals. It remains one of Disney’s worst movies to hit theatres in recent years.Watch on Disney+
8. Chicken Little (2005)
Ace “Chicken Little” Cluck becomes the laughingstock of Oakey Oakes when he claims the sky is falling. A year later, Chicken Little is determined to clear his name when he discovers a mysterious UFO ship with his friends.
Like many Disney films, Chicken Little did well at the box office, but critics and fans gave harsh reviews. The movie relied on special effects and made the film aesthetically pleasing. Nonetheless, the film lacked character development and plot structure, relying too heavily on cliches.Watch on Disney+
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9. Robin Hood (1973)
Disney’s Robin Hood adapted the classic tale of folk hero Robin Hood into an animated film using anthropomorphic animals. Robin Hood, Little John, and his band of merry men battles Prince John over his recent taxation of Nottingham.
At the time of its release, Robin Hood did well at the box office, recouping its budget. Despite this, the film bombed with critics and remains one of Disney’s worst movies. Robin Hood is notable for reusing the same scenes more than once. Critics considered it a cute film but one of the studio’s weakest flicks.Watch on Disney+
10. Planes: Fire & Rescue (2014)
Despite Planes performing poorly, Disney Studios got hard at work on a sequel, Planes: Fire & Rescue. The voice cast returned with new members Julie Bowen, Ed Harris, and Regina King. After the first film’s events, Dusty Crophopper becomes a wildland firefighting plane.
While the sequel is an improvement on the first film, it still did poorly at the box office and with critics, who felt the generic plot and flat characters were the movie’s biggest flaws. Many critics felt it wasn’t on par with previous Disney films.Watch on Disney+
11. Home on the Range (2004)
Disney’s 45th film, Home on the Range, follows three cows on a mission to capture the notorious cattle rustler Alameda Slim in the Old West. While the studio had high hopes for the film, it failed at the box office and with critics. Audiences considered the plot dull and uninspired. Despite the cast (ices of Roseanne Barr, Judi Dench, Jennifer Tilly, Cuba Gooding Jr., Randy Quaid, and Steve Buscemi) and promotion, Home on the Range is one of Disney’s worst films.Watch on Disney+
12. Treasure Planet (2002)
In the early 2000s, Disney released a string of poorly received animated films. The 2002 film Treasure Planet retells the plot of the classic novel Treasure Island. It follows the adventures of Jim Hawkins through space and is notable for being the most expensive animated movie ever made on a budget of $140 million.
Critics and fans gave the film positive reviews, praising the cast and story. Unfortunately, the film was a major box office bomb, making roughly $38 million. It didn’t even come close to breaking even. Despite being one of the most expensive failures in history, Treasure Planet has gained a significant cult following over the years since its release.Watch on Disney+
13. Oliver & Company (1988)
The 27th Disney animated film, Oliver & Company, follows a homeless kitten, Oliver, who joins a street gang of dogs. The film is an adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens novel Oliver. Instead of being set in 19th-century London, the film occurs in 1980s New York. The characters are also changed from humans to cats and dogs.
Although it did well at the box office, battling with the animated film Land Before Time, critics felt the film didn’t match up with previous Disney classics. Many felt the plot was predictable and uninspired. It has now become a beloved cult classic.Watch on Disney+
14. Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
Work on Disney’s 41st animated feature film, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, began shortly after the release of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In 1914, a young linguist, Milo Thatch, leads a group of mercenaries to the lost city of Atlantis using a sacred book he discovered. Inspired by the works of Jules Verne, the film features an all-star cast that includes Michael J. Fox, Cree Summer, Leonard Nimoy, and Jim Varney in his final role.
Produced on a $90 to $120 million budget, Atlantis: The Lost Empire only made $84 million in North America. The plot, visuals, and performances received mixed reviews from critics. The movie’s poor showing resulted in Disney canceling the animated television series spinoff Teen Atlantis, a volcanic Magic Kingdom attraction, and an underwater Disneyland attraction. However, like so many Disney movies, it has gained a cult following over the years, leading to the re-evaluation of the film.Watch on Disney+
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