Buenavista/Disney Pictures

by Lynn Walek
disney

Image Courtesy of the Official Disney Fan Club (www.d23.com)

Key Executives

Robert “Bob” Iger                                                                    Alan F. Horn
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer                                      Chairman
The Walt Disney Company                                                    The Walt Disney Studios

Robert "Bob" Iger - Image Courtesy of The Walt Disney Company

Robert “Bob” Iger – Image Courtesy of The Walt Disney Company

Alan F. Horn - Image Courtesy of The Walt Disney Company

Alan F. Horn – Image Courtesy of The Walt Disney Company

 

History

The Walt Disney Company was founded in 1923 when Disney brothers Roy and Walt sold the Alice Comedies. The star of the company, Mickey Mouse, was not seen until five years later when Steamboat Willie, the first sound cartoon, was released in 1928. The Disney Company continued to push boundaries releasing the first animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, in 1937. [1] The company has grown and expanded into many aspects of entertainment. [2] Currently Walt Disney Studios owns Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Studios, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Marvel, Touchstone, and Disneynature. In 2012 Disney purchased Lucasfilm, which most notably includes the Star Wars franchise. [3] [4] 

Finances

With the end of the 2014 fiscal year, Disney announced a record year. The fourth quarter earning report quotes CEO Bob Iger as saying: “Our results for Fiscal 2014 were the highest in the Company’s history, marking our fourth consecutive year of record performance.” [5] This year’s revenues are up from 45 billion to 48.8 billion, an eight percent increase. Net income increased from 6.1 billion in 2013 to 7.5 billion in 2014, a 22 percent increase. With the future slate Disney is set to release “21 tentpole movies…over the next three years, compared to only 13 in the last three”. [6] The increase in “tentpole” movies means Disney has the opportunity to continue breaking records as it expands franchises under its many banners. [5] [6]

Current Slate

Image Courtesy of IMDb

Image Courtesy of IMDb

 

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Released October 10, 2014 this film is based on the popular children’s book of the same title. Despite comedy giant Steve Carell and well known actress Jennifer Garner headlining the film, it was only a mild success. It opened at number three at the box office and quickly fell out of the top five. It grossed 63 million domestically and 82 million worldwide with a production budget of 28 million. [7]

 

 

Image Courtesy of IMDb

Image Courtesy of IMDb

Big Hero 6
Released November 7, 2014, this is the first animated Marvel film. Disney CEO Bob Iger had high hopes for the film when he spoke to investors the day before its release, and it did not disappoint. [6] It grossed more than 205 million worldwide with a production budget of 165 million. It opened as number one at the box office and then held second place during its second and third weeks. The film follows the adventures of Hiro, a young boy, and his robot best friend, Baymax who according to IMDb “team up with a group of friends to form a band of high-tech heroes.” [8] Big Hero 6 has faced little direct competition until the November 26 release of Penguins of Madagascar. [8] [9] [10]

 

Image Courtesy of IMDb

Image Courtesy of IMDb

 

Into the Woods
This film will be released on December 25, 2014 (see trailer below [a]). This is a big screen adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical and boasts big name actors Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp. The film will feature a new song written for Streep. The film focuses on a witch (Streep) teaching lessons to various fairytale characters such as Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Rapunzel. The film will be up against another family musical, Annie, as well as the third installment of family comedy franchise Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. Both of these competing films will be released before Christmas on December 19. [10] [11]

 

 

Future Slate

Because Disney’s fiscal 2014 is over, the emphasis is on what is to come in the next fiscal year. In his address to investors on November 6, 2014, Bob Iger emphasized the future slate and franchise expansion. Disney has released several long term plans. [6]

Marvel

Image Courtesy of marvel.com

Image Courtesy of marvel.com

Marvel was acquired in 2009 and has become an instrumental part of Walt Disney Studios success. Currently Disney is working on two Marvel franchises, The Avengers (2012) and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). There are 11 Marvel films planned for the next five years (see table 1). [6]

Table 1 Table created in Microsoft Word by Lynn Walek [6]

Image Courtesy of IMDb

Image Courtesy of IMDb

The next release on the Marvel docket is Avengers sequel Age of Ultron, which hits theaters in May 2015. Director Joss Whedon will return to lead stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, and Mark Ruffalo who will reprise their superhero roles. The trailer (see below [b])  which was originally set to air on October 28 during Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was leaked on October 22. Marvel and Disney responded by quickly posting the official trailer which got 34.3 million global views in its first 24 hours. This number shattered the previous record held by the Iron Man 3 trailer. [12] [13]

In the 2014 fiscal year, Guardians of the Galaxy had the highest domestic gross and the second highest worldwide gross. It grossed more than 770 million dollars worldwide. [14] Additionally, the success of Big Hero 6 proves that Marvel can produce successful animated films and they will likely continue to do so. [9]

Star Wars

Image Courtesy of lucasfilm.com/starwars

Image Courtesy of lucasfilm.com/starwars

Image Courtesy of IMDb

Image Courtesy of IMDb

Disney will produce a new trilogy of Star Wars movies: Episodes VII, VIII and IX. The title and teaser trailer for Episode VII have now been released. It will be called Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the trailer can be seen below [c]. This film will be released December 18, 2015. Episode VIII will be released in 2017 and Episode IX will be released in 2019. In 2016 Disney will release the first of their “stand alone” films within the Star Wars universe. [6]

 

 

 Pixar

Image Courtesy of official Disney Pixar Facebook

Image Courtesy of official Disney Pixar Facebook

Image Courtesy of IMDb

Image Courtesy of IMDb

Noticeably absent from the 2014 slate Pixar will be back in June 2015 with Inside Out. This film is not a franchise expansion but it lists big name stars, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, and Bill Hader. Poehler, Kaling and Hader will voice three of five emotions from inside the mind of a little girl. Pixar will continue two successful franchises in 2016 and 2017. Finding Dory, sequel to Finding Nemo, will be released in 2016. The recently announced Toy Story 4 will be released in June 2017 and boasts the return of director John Lasseter who was at the helm of the first two installments of the Toy Story franchise. Lasseter is also the chief creative officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios and principal creative advisor of Walt Disney Imagineering. [6] [15]

 

Disney Pictures

Image Courtesy of waltdisneystdudios.com

Image Courtesy of waltdisneystdudios.com

Image Courtesy of IMDb

Image Courtesy of IMDb

Following the success of Maleficent, which grossed 757 million dollars worldwide, Disney will continue to produce live action fairy tales. [16] The official Cinderella trailer was released on November 19 (see below [d]). This film is scheduled to be released in March 2015. Other live action fairy tales announced are The Jungle Book and Alice in Wonderland 2. Disney will also release another film in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. [6]

 

 

 

 

 

Sources*

[1] History of The Walt Disney Studios

[2] List of Disney Businesses

[3] List of Walt Disney Studio Businesses 

[4] USA Today Disney’s Lucasfilm Purchase 

[5] Walt Disney Fourth Quarter Earnings Press Release

[6] Walt Disney Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference Call Transcript 

[7] Box Office Mojo – Alexander…Bad Day

[8] IMDb – Big Hero 6

[9] Box Office Mojo – Big Hero 6

[10] Box Office Mojo Release Dates 

[11] Playbill – Into the Woods New Song

[12] IMDb – Avengers: Age of Ultron

[13] Deadline – Age of Ultron Trailer Leak

[14] Box Office Mojo – Guardians of the Galaxy 

[15] Walt Disney Exec Bio – John Lasseter

[16] Box Office Mojo – Maleficient

Trailer Sources*

[a] Disney Movie Trailers YouTube – Into the Woods

[b] Marvel Entertainment YouTube – Avengers: Age of Ultron

[c] Star Wars YouTube – The Force Awakens

[d] Disney Movie Trailers YouTube – Cinderella

*Note: All sources were last accessed on December 1, 2014.

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