If it wasn’t clear before, it sure is now: Disney owns the world. Sure, that may be a little bit of a hyperbolic statement, but the House of Mouse has become the first studio in the history of cinema, to gross over US$ 10 billion at the global box office, in a single calendar year. Let’s take a look at the numbers.
- Captain Marvel – $US 1.2 billion
- Dumbo – US$ 353.2 million
- Avengers: Endgame – $US 2.79 billion
- Aladdin – $US 1.05 billion
- Toy Story 4 – $US 1.07 billion
- The Lion King – $US 1.6 billion
- Maleficent: Mistress of Evil – $US 481.3 million
- Frozen 2 – $US 919.6 million (and counting)
As of this writing, five of those films have grossed $US 1 billion and more, one of which — Avengers: Endgame — grossed more than $US 2 billion and is currently the highest-grossing film of all time. Frozen 2 will also join the coveted $US 1 billion club, probably by the end of the week. These are absolutely monstrous numbers that frankly just boggles the mind of a peasant like myself. The craziest part is, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which hasn’t yet hit the silver screen, will definitely gross more than $US 1 billion, probably $US 1.5 billion. If that happens, at the end of the year, 7 out of 9 Disney releases would’ve raked in more than $US 1 billion.
The US$ 10 billion that we’re talking about also doesn’t include the Fox properties that they’ve released since the Disney-Fox acquisition earlier this year. We’re talking about films like Dark Phoenix, Ready or Not, Ford V Ferrari, among others.
First of all, hats off. Outside of a couple of poor box office receipts, through incredible marketing efforts and mostly good quality films, Disney has pretty much made themselves an undeniable force that will make even the wildest tornado quiver.
That said, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, looking at the list above can be a little saddening, especially if you’re a lover of cinema. 0 out of 9 movies listed (I’m including The Rise of Skywalker in as well) are original. Dumbo, Aladdin and The Lion King are remakes of their own animated classics. Toy Story 4, Avengers: Endgame, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil and Frozen 2 are sequels. Yes, perhaps Captain Marvel is original in a lot of ways, but even then, it, just like Endgame, is part of an established universe — the MCU.
The biggest disappointment comes in the animated form/genre. While the live-action division has been solely comic book, Star Wars and remakes focused for the better part of the last decade, we could always count on Disney/Pixar animated studios to give us completely original films. Inside Out, anybody? But the last time the studio crafted and released an original animated film was in November 2017: Coco. 2018 saw the release of Incredibles 2 and Ralph Breaks the Internet, while this year gave us another two sequels.
Make no mistake, I actually really love many of the Disney movies that have come out in 2019, both live-action and animated. But man, I miss that feeling of walking into a Disney film and being transported into a world that’s completely new and unfamiliar, filled with characters that haven’t yet become plushies and cereal box covers.