Towards the end of each calendar year, I’ve put up posts honoring the people who have captured our movie going attention during that time period. 2015 was the first year that I honored a feeling in one post as opposed to an individual. Last year, it was Nostalgia and it fit due to the box office potency of titles like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jurassic World, among others.
In 2016, the initial posting is again not a human, but a studio. And it’s Disney. The Mouse Factory has set the all-time record for studio grosses in a calendar year and its list of blockbusters is something to behold.
Currently, Disney is responsible for half of the top ten grossing pictures of the year and that list will grow to six very shortly with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Let’s break it down: Finding Dory ($486 million) is #1 with Captain America: Civil War ($408M) at second. Rogue is likely to join the top three for a Disney trifecta atop the year.
#4 is The Jungle Book ($364M). #6 is Zootopia ($341M) and #9 is Doctor Strange ($226M). Moana is sitting at #11 right now with $162M.
In short, the studio is making a killing on their three most valued properties: animation and the live-action adaptations of them, Marvel Studios, and the Star Wars franchise. That is bound to continue in 2017 with animated features like Cars 3 and Coco. As for the live-action remakes, expect March’s Beauty and the Beast to do boffo business. On the Marvel side, we have Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Thor: Ragnorak. And of the Star Wars juggernaut, we have Episode VIII (still untitled) invading theaters in December.
Of course, not everything Disney released this year was a smash. There were high-profile flops like Alice Through the Looking Glass and The BFG. Also, Pete’s Dragon did decent business, but nothing compared to its other renderings of the animated classics. In 2017, a big question mark is whether or not they can successfully reinvigorate another once popular series with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Those few disappointments aside, it was a watershed year for Disney and they deservedly get the first mention in my year end honors.
My 2016 posts will continue tomorrow…