Predictions of Disney’s box office domination in 2019 has proven to be all too true, as the studio has broken its own all-time annual global box office record in just seven months thanks to Marvel films like “Avengers: Endgame” and its latest release, “The Lion King.”
The previous record had been set by Disney back in 2016, the year when it began to show off the power it had accumulated through its acquisition of several major franchises. Films like Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One,” Marvel Studios’ “Captain America: Civil War,” Pixar’s “Finding Dory” and Disney Animation’s “Zootopia” combined for the first ever $3 billion domestic year and a global annual total of $7.61 billion worldwide.
But in 2019, Disney has blown by that total in seven months… but really in just four. Unlike in 2016, when Disney got off to a good start thanks to the lingering presence of “The Force Awakens” after its holiday 2015 release, the studio didn’t have a huge holiday moneymaker to get things going early this year. Holiday holdovers “Mary Poppins Returns” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet” combined for only $90 million after New Year’s Day.
But once “Captain Marvel” released in March, Disney was off to the races with $1.12 billion worldwide. Then, “Avengers: Endgame” passed that film’s entire global run in just its opening weekend and went on to pass “Avatar” as the highest grossing film of all-time with $2.79 billion.
After the Marvel one-two punch came a pair of remakes of Disney Renaissance classics: “Aladdin” and “The Lion King.” While they were received tepidly at best by critics, they too were global hits as “Aladdin” passed the $1 billion mark this past Friday. “The Lion King” has been even bigger, as it is set to pass $1 billion worldwide after just two weekends in U.S. theaters. The only misstep Disney has had this year is another remake: “Dumbo,” a $170 million blockbuster that “only” grossed $352 million worldwide.
Completing Disney’s dominant summer is Pixar’s latest installment in its crown jewel series, “Toy Story 4,” which has earned $917 million worldwide so far and will at least pass the domestic run of “Toy Story 3.” That means that starting with the release of “Captain Marvel” on March 8, Disney has grossed a whopping $7.1 billion worldwide from just six films released over a 20-week span.
And Disney is far from done. In the final quarter of the year, it will release three more films starting in October with “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” the sequel to the 2014 “Sleeping Beauty” reimagining starring Angelina Jolie. Then, in November, Disney Animation will release the highly anticipated “Frozen II,” the sequel to a $1.3 billion hit that has earned the popularity of “The Lion King” among a new generation. And to cap off the year, Lucasfilm will return in December with “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”
“Frozen II” is expected to be another $1 billion hit, and “The Rise of Skywalker” is expected to earn at least $500 million worldwide in its opening. All told, Disney will likely finish the year with over $9 billion in global box office grosses, with a chance at $10 billion.
Between this box office domination and its forthcoming launch of Disney+, the Mouse’s dominance doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon.