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Disney Crosses $3 Billion at the Global Box Office in Just 5 Months

Three megahit franchises and a remake of a classic have propelled Disney to new heights

The year isn’t even halfway done yet, and Disney has left its rivals in the dust at the box office. With the numbers for Memorial Day weekend now logged, the Magic Kingdom has grossed $1 billion domestically and $3 billion worldwide.

Disney has ruled the blockbuster world recently, having grossed a whopping $7.6 billion worldwide ($3 billion domestic) last year off of franchise hits like “Captain America: Civil War” and “Finding Dory,” as well as original titles like “Zootopia.” Disney broke its studio record with two months to go last year, and then set a new industry record by passing Universal’s $6.89 billion 2015 record off the back of its final release of the year, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

This year, the studio got off to a solid start in January and February with strong late holdover totals from “Rogue One,” which grossed $124 million domestically this year alone.Then, in March, Disney started rolling out the big guns with their live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast,” which is now one of the top ten highest grossing movies of all time with more than $1.2 billion in worldwide grosses and only the eighth film to gross $500 million domestically. As of now, it is far and away the top domestic hit of 2017 and is competing with Universal’s “The Fate of the Furious” for the top global spot.

This month, the studio followed that up with two sequels: Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” “Guardians,” no surprise, has been another Marvel hit, having just outgrossed the first “Guardians” film this weekend with a $338 million domestic/$788 million global cume. For a domestic market where franchise fatigue has become a major factor, it’s a testament to the power of the Marvel brand and director James Gunn’s ability to get audiences to embrace the obscure Guardians that this sequel has been such a success.

To see the impact of franchise fatigue among American audiences, look no further than “Pirates,” which took in only $78.2 million domestically this Memorial Day weekend. Yet the fifth installment in Johnny Depp’s swashbuckling series has nonetheless played a substantial role in getting Disney to this global milestone thanks to the franchise’s enduring popularity overseas. China has outperformed the U.S. on this film, grossing $92 million over the four-day weekend.

In total, the international gross for “Pirates 5” totals up to $247.8 million for a global total of $326 million. Disney seems to recognize that the future for “Pirates” lies on international waters, as the premiere for this film took place in Shanghai, making it the first Hollywood movie ever to premiere in mainland China.

It’s been an extremely strong year so far for Disney, and there’s still several major titles in the wings that could see it set another industry record by year’s end. Next month sees the release of Pixar’s “Cars 3,” with the animated studio also releasing an original title, “Coco,” this Thanksgiving. Marvel will once again bring the big bucks with “Thor: Ragnarok” this November, and of course, Disney will finish off the year by bringing Luke Skywalker back to the big screen with “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

Update: 11:45 AM — 2nd writethrough