Thanks in large part to its properties like Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm, Disney banked its biggest box-office year ever in 2015 as it took in over $5.8 billion worldwide.
But will 2016 be even bigger? It looks like it.
Disney has been dominating the box office so far this year. It’s already crossed $1 billion at the international box office, thanks to the continued success of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and the better-than-expected global strength of Walt Disney Animation’s hit “Zootopia.”
Passing the $1 billion milestone in March is the earliest Disney has marked that achievement.
A big reason for its early 2016 success is the dominance by titles “Zootopia” and “The Jungle Book.”
“Zootopia” opened to incredible reviews, which were then matched by the movie hitting No. 1 at the domestic box office for three straight weeks.
Word that “The Jungle Book” already had a sequel in the works before its release was a good sign, but then it blew away all expectations with a $103 million domestic opening. It then dipped only 41% with $60.8 million in its second weekend in theaters.
Overseas, the movie has already surpassed its domestic total with over $340 million (the film now has a worldwide total of $533.5 million).
The bad news for other Hollywood studios? Disney is just getting started.
Its latest Marvel release, “Captain America: Civil War,” which many critics are calling the best Marvel movie yet, comes out May 6 and is projected to open domestically at a whopping $175 million. It’s likely “The Jungle Book” will stay at No. 1 at the domestic box office until then.
And with competition for “Civil War” weak until the release of “X-Men: Apocalypse” on May 27, a Disney movie could possibly be No. 1 at the domestic box office for six straight weeks.
And by the time “Apocalypse” comes around, it’s certainly possible that “Alice Through the Looking Glass” (yes, a Disney title), which goes up against the superhero flick, could actually win out.
“Don’t count out ‘Alice,'” Jeff Bock, senior box-office analyst at Exhibitor Relations, told Business Insider. “The original debut was $116 million,” he noted, while the last X-Men movie, “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” opened at $90.8 million, so it could be a photo finish that weekend.
After “Alice,” the Disney lineup looks impressive: “Finding Dory” (June 17), “The BFG” (July 1), “Doctor Strange” (November 4), “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (December 16).
“Every single big-budget Disney film on the release calendar in 2016 looks like a bona-fide hit,” Bock said.
And if smaller movies like “Pete’s Dragon” (August 12) and “Moana” (November 23) perform well, it’s just more fuel for the studio.
Though last year Universal edged out Disney with a $6.7 billion worldwide take, if things work out this year, the house that Mickey built and now Marvel protects will hit that coveted $6 billion mark and be the studio atop the mountain.
“What we’re dealing with here is a super-studio, while all other competition are mere mortals,” Bock said of Disney.