Disney has been dominating the box office in recent years and will most likely continue doing so for a long time thanks to the Disney/Fox deal and other projects, but it all started back in 2012, and it was thanks to Paramount Pictures. Disney has become a powerhouse in the entertainment business, taking over the big screen and television with a variety of content that goes from superhero films and animated adventures, to TV series aimed for both children and adults.
Disney has always been a money-maker, but their seemingly unbridled success has grown thanks to the acquisition of Marvel Entertainment in 2009, which brought characters like Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor to the Mouse House. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the home of some of the most successful films from the last decade and has been key in Disney’s box office reign, but it didn’t begin right away - 2012 was the year that cemented Disney’s power at the box office, thanks to a deal with Paramount Pictures.
Paramount Pictures had been Marvel’s distributor since 2008, meaning that Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger were all distributed by the studio, but not Hulk, which was a product of Universal. In 2010, Disney reached an agreement with Paramount regarding the distribution for The Avengers and Iron Man 3, with Disney paying $115 million for the worldwide distribution rights of those films. Paramount remained as the worldwide distributor for the previously released Iron Man and Iron Man 2, until Disney also purchased the rights to these (along with Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger) in 2013.
The Avengers became the highest-grossing film of 2012 and is currently among the top 10 highest-grossing films of all time. Iron Man 3 was the second highest-grossing film of 2013, and both films were key in Disney’s box office domination those years. So if it wasn't for the distribution rights, they may not have earned all the money that they did so early on. The studio has maintained its status as box office powerhouse, of course, with titles such as Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and the now highest-grossing film of all time Avengers: Endgame. Not to mention all the non-Marvel properties that have also reached high spots in box office rankings, the most recent one being Jon Favreau’s The Lion King.
Disney has a long list of upcoming projects that go from sequels and new titles in the MCU and other universes, to live-action versions of some of its classics – not to mention all those titles that came in the Fox package and that the studio will look into incorporating to its catalog. Although many viewers are not pleased with all of Disney’s content in the last few years, no one can deny that the studio knows how to do business to its benefit and knows how to maintain its success.