Disney consistently dominates mainstream cinema, commercially and critically.
Last month, FSR’s Christopher Campbell broke down Walt Disney Studio’s astonishing 2016 box office success, addressing each of the big franchises that the studio relies on – Marvel, Star Wars, and Pixar animation, to name a few. Of course, this was shortly before the December 16 release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which this weekend surpassed $1 billion at the global box office.
This marks a huge box office milestone, and means that Disney now has the honor of being the studio that released all four of the movies that passed the $1 billion mark in 2016. Rogue One, Captain America: Civil War, Finding Dory, and Zootopia are four of the most critically and commercially successful films of last year, and they highlight the fact that Disney is the most powerful studio in Hollywood. The Hollywood Reporter notes that Disney claimed 26 percent of the market share in North America in 2016.
It is hardly surprising that Rogue One continues to be so successful at the box office, considering last year’s The Force Awakens grossed $2.068 billion internationally. Clearly, Disney films draw audiences from all over the world out to their local cinemas. Disney represents the current state of mainstream Hollywood filmmaking, producing high-quality family-friendly films, usually with huge budgets and often part of larger franchises. Disney films – regardless of which franchise they represent – usually tell straightforward stories with linear narratives, and follow likeable characters as they learn important lessons about friendship, family, and bravery. These are the kinds of stories that have always been successful and popular in Hollywood, with the content and filmmaking technology changing to reflect the time period.
Disney’s seemingly got something to offer audiences of all ages – action packed Marvel and Star Wars movies appeal to comic book fans, teenagers, and adults who remember when the original Star Wars films were released. Animated films from Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios release heartwarming, visually innovative films that appeal to children and their parents in equal measure. Disney’s recent live-action remakes of classics are exciting for people of all ages who love the original films, or are being introduced to the stories for the first time. This year’s The Jungle Book was praised for its brilliant visual effects and emotional performances, and it ended up making $364 million. It is highly likely that the new live-action Beauty and the Beast will be one of the most popular and highest grossing films of 2017.
Not only are these films successful with audiences, but film critics and awards associations take kindly to Disney works as well. 2016’s Moana (which just surpassed $500 million globally) has been praised for its unique and specific story and beautiful songs, and was nominated for multiple Golden Globe awards along. Zootopia was chosen by the American Film Institute as one of the top 10 films of 2016, and won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Animated Feature. Rogue One received a score of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics agreeing that the film is exciting, entertaining, and visually stunning.
It seems that Disney can be confident that they will have another incredible year in 2017 – with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Star Wars Episode VIII, Thor: Ragnarok, and Cars 3, they will probably dominate the global box office once again. 2016 was a fantastic year for Disney in terms of both money and critical acclaim, and it is likely that 2017 will be yet another triumph for the studio. We will probably be writing another article similar to this one in January 2018.