Disney dominates the world (of the cinema)

Studio Disney hits four biggest global hits of the year and 25% of US box office hits


The King Midas of Hollywood is called Bob Iger. The chief executive of Disney took the company to the best year in the global box office in the history of any studio, surpassing for the first time the 7 billion euros (24 billion reais). The data speaks for itself: the producer is responsible for the four highest grossing films worldwide in 2016. After only two weeks on, Rogue One: a Star Wars Story is six places to be the fifth.

Iger had bet on everything or nothing. In a decade spent about 15 billion (51.5 billion reais) to gather in his castle Cinderella as infallible brands as Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars. The sowing bore fruit. Today Disney is no longer the house of Mickey, but the one of Iron Man, Luke Skywalker and the vehicles of Cars. The secret of success: Repeating the formulas pleasing the viewer several times through sequences, derivatives and shared universes.

The figures of the giant founded in 1923 do not let the competition breathe. At the end of the current year Disney will have won first place at the United States box office in 21 of the 53 weeks of the year. A brand that leads it to dominate more than 25% of the market. Or, what gives it the same, Disney will get a quarter of the total amount collected this year in the US, according to data from the specialized website Box Office Mojo. Its unprecedented success is based on five legs: the confrontation of the Marvel heroes in Captain America: Civil War; The sequel to one of Pixar’s greatest hits, Dory Quest; The talking animals of Zootropolis; A remake of one of his great classics, Mogli – The Boy Wolf, and the new release of the Lucasfilm galactic saga, which continues to climb positions. The top three are the only films of the year to beat the billion-dollar mark.

The goal was also achieved with only 16 premieres, half of its closest rival, Warner, which with 36 releases received 17% of the box office. From then on the figures of the other greats are diminishing. Paramount, which achieved the top position in 2011, holds 7.8% and sixth place. Disney’s supremacy is bad news for the giants of the market. Profits from the top seven studios combined fell 17 percent in the first nine months of 2016, according to an investment study by Cowen & Co.


This data clashes with Hollywood’s record box office revenue this year, surpassing $ 10.8 billion (37 billion reais). In fact, 2016 is one of the years when fewer tickets were purchased. “The figure is misleading,” a former Paramount executive told the Los Angeles Times: “When you look at the totals, it looks healthy, but only a few projects make a profit.” As in real life, a small percentage is left with wealth. In the last two years, the top 10 films totaled one third of the total box office. In 2011, according to Comscore, it was 24%. Disney, which bears its laurels, seizes half of the industry’s profits.

Sales of cable and satellite TV have dropped by 30% since 2010 and it is increasingly expensive to run box-office winners. After inflated budget productions such as Ghostbusters and Star Trek Without Borders, it may be time to redefine business strategy. In 2017, Fox will base its releases on cheaper overproductions targeting adult audiences such as Logan, Planet of the Apes: War and Alien: Covenant.

Meanwhile, Disney can even afford to have overwhelming failures, such as Steven Spielberg’s The Good Giant Friend, or Alice Through the Looking Glass. Two punches in a year full of big disappointments in theaters. The only lifeline that is left is the international market and countries like China, something that Disney has also learned to master.

And so the old house of Mickey, that since 2001 did not occupy the first place, it does more than grow in its monopoly. The company, which came to be the sixth in 2008, when some buried their years of glory in animation, bet on a strategy of buying foreign brands to expand their audience, going beyond children. The move was accurate. Today it even has the backing of criticism.

If something goes well, do not change. The future of Disney continues on the same path: more films of Marvel superheroes (Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of Galaxy 2), new remakes of their classics (The Beauty and the Beast), the return of franchises like Pirates of the Caribbean or Cars And a Star Wars sequel per year. All in 2017. Disney knows what the public wants and will give it until it gets bored.


1_Capitão America: Civil War: 1.1 billion (3.8 billion reais).

1_ Looking for Dory: 1 billion (3.43 billion Reals).

3_Zootrópolis: 990 million (3.38 billion Reais)

4_Mogli – The Wolf Boy: 925 million (3,15 billion reais).

5_Pets: The Secret Life of Bugs: 838 million (2.87 billion Reals).

6_Batman vs. Superman: The Origin of Justice: 836 million (2.85 billion reais).

7_Deadpool: 750 million (2.57 billion Reais).

8_ Suicide squad: 713 million (2.44 billion Reais).

9_Animals Fantastic and Where They Live: 712 million (2.43 billion Reals).

10_Doutor Stranger: 628 million (2.15 billion Reais).

11_Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: 531 million (1.82 billion Reals).

Data from the Mojo Box Office website.