While 2016 was less than stellar for many, studio giant Disney enjoyed its most financially successful year to date. Parent company to Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, Pixar Animation, and Walt Disney Animation, the mega-studio had a hand in some of the most popular films released last year. From franchise updates like Finding Dory, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Captain America: Civil War to original animations like Moana and Zootopia, Disney excited fans across multiple genres.
Despite raking in quite a bit of dough in 2015 and setting the record for global, international, and domestic box office numbers, it looks like 2016 is Disney’s most winning year by far. While Disney broke a number of box office records this year, including top R-rated movie and highest global box office gross, the studio shattered another major milestone in 2016 that hits a little closer to home.
Just before the year closed, Disney managed to eke out a $3 billion domestic box office gross, the highest ever. According to The Wrap, the studio made exactly $3.001 billion dollars at the domestic box office from Jan. 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2016. Disney also scored $7.605 billion globally and, therefore, $4.604 billion internationally. This mark’s Disney’s second consecutive year cornering all three markets — domestic, international, and global.
This groundbreaking success is in large part due to the studio’s franchise films, particularly Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Though the film was technically released at the tail end of 2015, its outrageous success — which led The Force Awakens to become the third highest-grossing film of all time — bled over into 2016 as well. Fellow franchise addition Rogue One: A Star Wars Story finished off 2016 strong, as the third-highest grossing film of the year. For the past two years, Disney has formed a league of its own, and the studio is now mostly just in competition with itself. The only films to beat out Rogue One, for instance, were other Disney additions Finding Dory and Captain America: Civil War. Disney produced six of the top 11 films worldwide in 2016, and seven of the top 12 internationally.
Many of Disney’s 2016 films were critically acclaimed, and several are on the Academy Awards track, particularly Best Animated Feature hopefuls Moana, Zootopia, and Finding Dory. These numbers prove what America already knows: Disney rules this country, especially when it comes to the movies. While fans may be delighted at this news, it does potentially bring some downsides. For one, sequels and franchises have taken over the filmmaking landscape in the past few years, and these figures show that that trend will only continue — bad news for fans of original scripts and experimental films. For another, many critics have already noted that Disney’s work is becoming more and more formulaic, which could mean mediocre results from the studio’s 2017 animated and franchise prospects.
No matter what, Disney will undoubtedly continue to corner the American filmmaking market for at least the next several years; it just comes down to whether or not the company is ready to take on that enormous creative responsibility.
Source: The Wrap