Dec 9, 2019

Disney breaks $10 billion box office record

Photo Illustration: Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

With the help of a successful weekend showing of "Frozen 2," the Walt Disney Company has officially raked in more than $10 billion this year in box office sales, a new record.

Why it matters: Disney’s box office success this year is attributable in part to a years-long strategy to invest in major tentpole franchises, like Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars. Most of its biggest box office hits this year came from those three brands.

By the numbers: Disney has distributed seven of the top 10 movies this year by theater ticket sales. Six of those films have brought in more than $1 billion.

These are the 2019 worldwide box office revenue totals, per Box Office Mojo:

  1. Avengers: Endgame: $2,797,800,564 (Disney)
  2. The Lion King: $1,656,313,097 (Disney)
  3. Spider-Man: Far from Home: $1,131,927,996 (Disney)
  4. Captain Marvel: $1,128,274,794 (Disney)
  5. Toy Story 4: $1,073,394,593 (Disney)
  6. Joker: $1,054,941,623 (Warner Bros)
  7. Aladdin: $1,050,693,953 (Disney)
  8. Frozen 2: $919,694,901 (Disney)
  9. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw: $758,910,100 (Universal Pictures)
  10. Ne Zha: $700,547,754 (Beijing Enlight Pictures)

Between the lines: Disney‘s success has prompted calls by anti-monopoly advocates for regulators to eye its box office dominance. Disney is expected to bring in roughly 40% of all box office revenues this year.

Yes, but: While its studio strength was evaluated as part of its deal to acquire most of 21st Century Fox last year, its acquisition of Fox’s movie studio hasn’t been what has led to its theater dominance.

The bottom line: Most of Disney's success at the box office in 2019 is attributable to the franchises it has acquired and built up over many years.

What's next: Disney's dominance is particularly notable given the fact that its upcoming Star Wars film, "The Rise of Skywalker," has yet to be released.

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Editor's note: This piece has been corrected to show that six of the seven Disney top-10 movies this year brought in more than $1 billion (not five).

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"The Rise of Skywalker" rakes in $175.5 million on opening weekend

The cast of "The Rise of Skywalker" with director J.J. Abrams, producer Kathleen Kennedy and Stephen Colbert, April 12. Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Disney

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Why it matters: Despite high expectations that "Skywalker" would debut with more than $200 million, the film's opening weekend was the lowest in the Walt Disney trilogy — 29% less than 2015's “The Force Awakens” and 20% below 2017's “The Last Jedi." After five Star Wars films in four years, this will be the franchise's last movie until 2022.

Go deeper: Disney breaks $10 billion box office record for 2019

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Driving the news: Broadcast networks were shut out of Golden Globe nominations yesterday, while Netflix received 17 nominations for its TV hits.

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The big picture: The recognitions are granted each year to the people, groups or ideas that go the furthest in shaping the year's events. It is "the opportunity to look at the year through the prism of the people who shaped it," Time writes.

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