Walt Disney Pictures dominates the global filmed entertainment industry. It continues to produce its own hugely successful self-generated content, most notably now a series of remakes of the most celebrated animated features in its archive, such as 'The Lion King', 'Aladdin' and 'The Jungle Book'. These are accompanied by the output from three other production units acquired between 2006 and 2012 and each just as influential in its own right: Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm, home of the Star Wars franchise. Yet another production banner was added to the collection in 2019 with the acquisition of 20th Century Fox. Together these give the Disney organisation an unrivalled mastery of the global entertainment industry from theatrical exhibition to home entertainment, and on into stage performance, live events, theme park exhibits and consumer licensing. By mid 2019, no fewer than 22 separate Disney releases have taken more than $1bn at the worldwide box office, including three at more than $2bn. (No other studio has more than six). Disney has been responsible for the biggest grossing cinematic release worldwide every year since 2015. In most years, it has at least the top two releases; in 2016, it had the top six. 'Avengers: Infinity War' and 'Black Panther' were the two top-grossing pictures of 2018 at $2.05bn and $1.35bn respectively; 'Incredibles 2' ranked #4 at $1.24bn. 'Avengers: Endgame' is already certain to be the top-grossing picture of 2019, and ended 'Avatar's ten-year reign as the top-grossing picture of all time. A 'Frozen' sequel and the latest 'Star Wars' instalment are also in the pipeline. For the year to Sept 2018, Walt Disney Studio Entertainment reported revenues of just under $10.0bn, with operating income of just under $3.0bn. Theatrical distribution accounted for more than 40% of revenues - these are, after all, movies designed to be seen on the big screen. Home entertainment contributed a sizeable but slowly shrinking 18%, with most of the rest from TV licensing, streaming and video on demand. The latter contribution is likely to be impacted significantly by the forthcoming launch of the Disney+ streaming platform. However, what Disney loses in third-party streaming income it is likely to gain from streaming subscriptions: the bulk of its most desirable streamed content will be available exclusively via its own subscription-based platform, not from other services. The juggernaut rolls on. Alan Horn is chairman of Walt Disney Studio Entertainment and chief creative officer; Alan Bergman is co-chairman.
Capsule checked 30th July 2019
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Historical profile information for Walt Disney Company
Adbrands Daily Update 22nd Jul 2019: A little later than expected, 'Avengers: Endgame' became the highest-grossing movie of all-time over the weekend, finally topping 'Avatar' in actual worldwide receipts. ('Avatar' is still ahead if the effects of inflation on ticket prices are excluded, as are more than 14 other movies, led by 'Gone With The Wind', the original 'Star Wars' and 'The Sound of Music'). Yet Disney's dominance of the current industry is a little alarming. It now controls four of the top five movies of all time, and a partial share in the other ('Titanic', which was released outside the US by Fox). So far this year, it has all four of the top-grossing movies in the US and 35% of box office takings; only slightly less than the next three studios combined. By September, it is likely to have all five of the top releases, if 'The Lion King' continues its current success.
Adbrands Daily Update 6th May 2019: Disney's 'Avengers: Endgame' is almost certain to top 'Avatar' within the next few weeks and become the most successful movie of all-time by global box office takings. It smashed through the $2bn barrier after just 11 days - 'Avatar' took four times as long (albeit at lower ticket prices) - and is likely to surpass the earlier film's $2.79bn total before the end of May. A key contributor has been international box office, which contributed almost three quarters of total gross to-date. In China, 'Endgame' is already the most successful imported movie of all-time, with a gross of almost $580m to-date, not far behind the US total of $620m.
Adbrands Weekly Update 2nd Aug 2018: Further scalps are being taken or are at risk across the media industry in connection with past inappropriate behaviour by notable figures. Disney fired James Gunn, director and chief architect of its highly lucrative Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, after offensive tweets send by him almost a decade ago - before he worked for Disney/Marvel - were uncovered by online commentators. Gunn apologised and agreed that the statements were "stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive" and said they "don't reflect the person I am today". Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and all the other stars of Guardians of the Galaxy published an open letter to Disney asking for Gunn to be reinstated.
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