All hail our Disney overlords! The House of Mouse, which owns pretty much everything at this point, has set a new record: five movies crossing $1 billion in a single year. Disney fans everywhere will likely celebrate this news, even as the rest of the film industry crumbles around us. Rejoice! Disney has even more money to finance even more live-action remakes! The achievement was unlocked as Toy Story 4 crossed the $1 billion threshold at the global box office.
It’s Disney’s world, we’re all just living in it. The mega-company has had a great 2019 – and the year isn’t even over yet. After Toy Story 4 recently crossed over $1 billion worldwide, Disney became the first studio to have five movies gross over $1 billion in a single year. Those five films are:
- Avengers: Endgame
- Captain Marvel
- The Lion King
- Toy Story 4
The only outlier here is Tim Burton’s Dumbo, which failed to reach such lofty heights. Sorry, Dumbo. On top of this, Disney still has Frozen 2, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, and of course, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker headed to theaters this year. At least one, if not all, of those films, is sure to hit the $1 billion mark, which I’m sure will make Walt Disney’s frozen head smile.
What can be learned from all of this? It’s simple: Disney is very good at what they do. They have built up their brand to the point where they are literally too big to fail. Part of that is because they have the market cornered on big releases (a monopoly, if you will). While other studios fight to find an audience, Disney’s audience is built-in, be it through nostalgia, or fandom, or both.
Disney also succeeds because they’re not interested in taking too many risks. They know what formula works for them, and they’re happy to return to it again and again. Case in point: a report recently surfaced that revealed Disney execs were nervous about Jojo Rabbit, Taika Waititi‘s dark comedy about a boy who has an imaginary friend that just happens to be Hitler. Per that report, while screening the film, a Disney executive grew worried Jojo Rabbit “would alienate Disney fans.”
The studio also killed a slew of in-development titles from 20th Century Fox because they felt their Fox films weren’t doing well enough at the box office. “One of the biggest issues was the Fox studio performance which was well below where it had been and well below where we hoped it would be when we made the acquisition,” said Bob Iger.
I want to be clear: I have no problem with Disney movies. Many of them are good! It’s just a bit disheartening to see them hold all the cards while every other studio goes bust.
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