Disney has made some wise acquisitions in recent years, bringing such crowd-pleasing powerhouses as Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm into their fold. These investments have already paid massive dividends to the House of Mouse and the partnership hasn’t exactly hurt the acquirees. Disney seems to know not to meddle creatively with what works and nobody is better at marketing and distributing a film to maximize profits.
This year has seen a number of high profile Disney releases, such as Captain America: Civil War ($1.153 B), Finding Dory ($1.021 B), The Jungle Book ($966 M), and Zootopia ($1.023 B). Even counting such box-office duds as Alice Through the Looking Glass ($299 M), The BFG ($242 M), The Finest Hours ($52 M), and Pete’s Dragon ($139 M), Disney’s overall investment strategy is paying off.
Variety reports that as of November 1st, Disney has already set a personal record, bringing in $5.85 Billion this year on ticket sales alone. Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn issued a statement to commemorate the achievement:
“For the second year in a row, the Walt Disney Studios has reached a new high at the box office thanks to an absolutely stellar collection of releases from Disney, Disney Animation, Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. This success is a testament to the refined talent and innovative work the entire studio team puts into making these world-class cinematic experiences.”
Disney is still trailing Universal Studios’ all-time record from last year. 2015 saw the release of such hits as Jurassic World and Furious 7, leading to a massive haul of $6.89 Billion for Universal. However, Disney still has some megaton films landing before the year is through, in the form of Doctor Strange, Moana, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Even performing softer than expected, just two of these would lead to a near certain break of the Universal record.
Besides growing and diversifying their catalog of films, Disney is bolstered by a rapidly growing worldwide box-office. 2015 hit a landmark of over $38 B, an all-time high for ticket sales, and it’s not just due to inflation. The Chinese box office is still expanding, having grown 49% from 2014 and 2015. Hollywood is betting big that this trend will continue and have been pushing hard to build a larger appeal worldwide. How far the market will continue to expand, and how it will affect the industry is anybody’s guess.
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