Buenavista/Disney Pictures

By Greg Fenton
Photo courtesy of www.thewaltdisneycompany.com

Photo courtesy of www.thewaltdisneycompany.com

History 

Founded in 1923 under the name “The Disney Brothers Studio”,The Walt Disney Studios began as a humble cartoon studio, producing classics such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Fantasia, Mary Poppins, and The Lion King. Today, The Walt Disney Studios, also known as Disney/Buena Vista, has become one of the largest film companies in the world, churning out internationally successful live-action and animated films aimed at entertaining the whole family. The Walt Disney Studios umbrella encompasses several studios owned and operated by The Walt Disney Studios, including Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Touchstone Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios, Disneynature, and Marvel Studios. Disney also acquired Lucasfilm Ltd. in late 2012 for $4 billion.  [1] [2] [3]

Key Executives

Robert A. Iger– Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company

Photo courtesy www.thewaltdisneycompany.com

Photo courtesy www.thewaltdisneycompany.com

Alan Horn– Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios

Photo courtesy of www.waltdisneystudios.com

Photo courtesy of www.waltdisneystudios.com

Andy Bird– Chairman of Walt Disney International

Photo courtesy of www.thewaltdisneycompany.com

Photo courtesy of www.thewaltdisneycompany.com

Alan Bergman– President of The Walt Disney Studios 

Photo courtesy of www.waltdisneystudios.com

Photo courtesy of www.waltdisneystudios.com

Financials

In 2013, The Walt Disney Company brought in $45.0 billion of revenue ($9.4 billion gross profit), up from $42.3 billion in 2012 ($8.9 billion gross profit) , and $38.0 billion in 2010 ($6.7 billion gross profit). As of this writing (11/18/2013), Disney stock sits at an even $70.00 per share, a significant increase from $47.45 a year ago (11/19/2013).[4] Through November 14th, 2013 Disney/Buena Vista commands 13.1% of the studio market share, trailing Warner Bros. (17.8%) and Universal (14.6%).[5] Disney/Buena Vista thrives on the blockbuster, with four films grossing over $100 million domestically in 2013 and 2012. Of these eight films, three of them are part of Marvel Studio’s “Avengers” franchise, which shows the enormous financial returns on Disney’s $4 billion investment to purchase Marvel Entertainment in 2009.[6] [7] In early November 2013, Disney/Buena Vista broke its all-time global box office record of $3.79 billion, set in 2010, with over six weeks and three major releases left to go in 2013, setting Disney/Buena Vista up for a year of eye-popping numbers. [17]

Recent Film Releases

Photo courtesy games.disney.com

Photo courtesy games.disney.com

Planes DisneyToon Studios’ Planes follows a crop-dusting plane named Dusty Crophopper with big dreams of being a racer and a fear of heights. After training under veteran fighter, Skipper, Dusty qualifies for the prestigious Wings Across the World race. There, as an underdog, he meets friend and foe, but, more importantly, learns to break down his physical and mental barriers.[8]

As a DisneyToon production, Planes was initially meant for a straight-to-DVD release and cost Disney a relatively cheap $50 million to make, yet opened with a robust $22 million weekend opposite Sony’s Elysium in early August, eventually pulling in $89 million domestically in over 3,700 theaters. [9] [10] [6]

The film received a Metascore of just 32 from review-aggregator site Metacritic.com with some reviewers appreciating the modesty of the film, while others docked the film for lacking the quality of other animated Disney films and an overly simplistic plot. [11]

Photo courtesy www.imdb.com

Photo courtesy www.imdb.com

Thor: The Dark World– Thor: The Dark World is a sequel to 2011’s Thor.That movie, distributed by Paramount as part of The Avengers franchise, raked in over $181 million at the domestic box office. Disney bought the distribution rights for Marvel’s the Avengers (2012) and Iron Man 3 (2013) in 2010 and finalized a deal for the distribution rights for Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger in summer 2013. [12] [13] [14]

Thor: The Dark World takes place two years after the events of Thor, focusing on Thor’s quest for peace in the nine realms of Asgard. Thor misses Earth and his love-interest Dr. Jane Foster, but is prevented from traveling back to her by Odin, Thor’s father. However, when Foster travels through a wormhole, uncovering an ancient weapon called Aether that threatens the fate of Asgard and Earth. Thor then decides to team up with Foster and his half-brother, and villain of the Thor and Marvel’s The Avengers films, Loki, to destroy the Aether and save Asgard from the wrath of the dark elf Malekith. [12]

At the time of this writing Thor:The Dark World has earned over $145 million at the domestic box office just two weekends after its November 8th release in over 3,800 theaters, and should recoup its $170 million budget in the very near future. The Dark World   has also thrived overseas, pulling in just under $333 million worldwide. The real test will be to see how the film performs after Lionsgate releases The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on November 22nd which some believe will open with a $150 million weekend. Nevertheless, The Dark World is already a financial success for Disney and should continue to put up strong numbers at the box office for several weeks as the holiday movie-going season kicks off. Click here to watch the trailer for Thor:The Dark World  [12] [15]

Upcoming Film Releases

Photo courtesy of wikia.disney.com

Photo courtesy of wikia.disney.com

Frozen Frozen is the latest effort from the wildly successful Walt Disney Animation Studios, opening the day before Thanksgiving on November 27th, 2013. Based on the fairy tale written by Danish Author Hans Christian Andersen, “The Snow Queen,” Frozen revolves around the story of two sisters, Anna and Elsa, the latter of which has the supernatural ability to control ice and snow. When Elsa accidentally uses these powers in public, she flees, plunging the kingdom into eternal winter. Determined to end the cold snap, Anna enlists the help of the mountain man Kristoff and the animated snow man Olaf. [16]

Opening up the day before Thanksgiving should give Frozen ample time to marinate in the holiday climate before more major titles are released before for Christmas. As with Thor:The Dark WorldFrozen will have to compete with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire for attention, but the film keeps a significant advantage in its subject matter as a children’s musical adventure in the midst of several films that touch more serious topics. Frozen will also benefit from being released in 3D, which will provide a major boost to its numbers at the box office. On the other side of the spectrum of success, Frozen could garner some looks as the Academy Awards approach in a relatively weak year for animated movies that included a sequel (Despicable Me 2) and a prequel (Monsters University) as the highest earners at the box office in the animated category. [16]

Other Upcoming Releases

 Delivery Man– November 22nd, 2013

Saving Mr. Banks– December 13th, 2013

The Wind Rises– February 14th, 2014 [17]

Sources:

[1] The History of Disney

[2] Studios Under the Walt Disney Studios Umbrella

[3] Disney Buys Lucasfilm LTD

[4] Disney Financial Profile

[5] Disney Market Share

[6] Buena Vista Box Office-2012

[7] Disney Buys Marvel

[8] Planes Plot Summary 

[9] Planes IMdB Profile

[10] Planes Opening Weekend

[11] Planes Reviews

[12] Thor:The Dark World- IMdB

[13] Thor-IMdB

[14] Disney Acquires Marvel Distribution Rights

[15] Thor:The Dark World- Box Office Mojo

[16] Frozen- Cinema Blend

[17] Upcoming Disney Films

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