2016 has, without question, been the year of Disney. Beginning with the continued dominance of its record-breaking Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Mouse House has managed to shatter one financial milestone after another over the past 11 months, starting with reaching $1 billion domestically and then, just two months later, hitting $5 billion worldwide.
It’s no wonder, then, that 2016 has reached $10 billion in ticket sales in record time. And even though we’re in the last month of the year, things don’t look to settle down in the slightest – especially for Disney, which is continuing its recent trend of being the industry leader.
Deadline is reporting that Walt Disney Studios, the movie arm of The Walt Disney Company, has accumulated $2.49 billion in domestic totals, making it a Hollywood record. And, even better for the Mouse House, its earnings grow to $4 billion when worldwide totals are factored in, marking the first time the company has ever managed to do so – and only the second time it’s happened in industry history, following Universal’s showing of $4.44 billion just last year. (Universal Studios also held the previous record for best domestic box office, attaining $2.45 billion in 2015.)
Although the likes of Zootopia, The Jungle Book, Captain America: Civil War, and, of course, Finding Dory all helped Disney on its way to such record-breaking in the first half of the year (those four movies total $4 billion internationally all by themselves), it’s the brand-new additions of Doctor Strange and Moana that have put the icing on the ticket-selling cake.
But the truly remarkable stat of this bunch is what hasn’t hit movie theaters yet: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which looms like the Death Star itself over the holiday season. The film is already expected to make upwards of $130 million in its opening weekend, which could easily mean that it’ll be yet another billion-dollar-crossing picture for Walt Disney Studios. Not too shabby.
The question through all of this, however, remains what legacy the past few years’ bursting box office will mean for the studios, specifically, and Hollywood, generally. There has already been much controversy over the profitability – or the lack thereof – of films like Warner Bros.’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and one has to wonder whether similarly-faring releases (which is the vast bulk of movies, it should be noted) will be regarded moving forward. We won’t have too long to find out – although Disney has such heavy-hitters as Beauty and the Beast and The Avengers: Infinity War lining up over the next two years, Universal will be countering with Fast 8 and Jurassic World 2 in the same time period. Where everyone else fits in – or not – should become immediately clear.