by JORDYN ROSENBERG
From 1988 to present day, Disney Pictures has released some of the most successful films in Hollywood. Disney’s most iconic and memorable titles include, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Beauty and The Beast. Disney has pushed the boundaries of the film industry since its beginning with the production of the first full length animation film, Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, in 1937, as well as the release of their first live action film, Treasure Island, in 1950 .
After the death of Walt Disney in 1966 his brother Roy Disney took the lead. The company only continued to grow when Robert Iger was named chief executive officer in 2005. Currently, Disney owns Walt Disney Animation Studios, Marvel, Touchstone, Disneynature & Lucasfilms. On February 5th 2015, Thomas O. Staggs,  Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, was named Chief Operating Officer of The Walt Disney Company.
In 2015, Buena Vista or Disney Pictures Studios held 10.8% market share and earned a total gross of $319 million. With only three movie releases thus far in 2015, the studio is ranked 4th.  The studio is behind 20th Century Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros. The companies rank is anticipated to rise with the rest of their 2015 slate.  After a full slate of 13 movies in 2014, the company grossed $1,617.5 billion, held a market share of 15.6% and ranked 2nd behind 20th Century Fox. The Walt Disney Company released its first quarterly report  for 2015 on February 3rd. Within the overall company, earnings per share increased 23% to $1.27 billion from $1.03 billion in the 2014 fourth quarter report . Specifically, in studio entertainment, revenues have decreased 2% to 1.9 billion from 1.8 billion in 2014. Lower theatrical distribution numbers were a result of the performance of Big Hero 6 in comparsion to the release of Frozen last year.
The live-action remake, directed by Kenneth Branagh, of the notorious Disney animation, Cinderella, did well in the box office opening weekend. Opening at number 1, the weekend of March 13th 2015, the movie earned an opening weekend gross of $67,877,361 domestically. Including international gross, the film made over $70 million opening weekend and made their $95 million budget in the second week. In total, Cinderella has made $438,036,467 worldwide . With a large part of the target audience being female children, the cast, including, Lily James and Richard Madden, was fairly unknown . The seven minute Frozen Fever short at the beginning of the film, based of the extremely popular animation Frozen, may have been a drawing factor for audiences. Although the film had one of the biggest debuts of the year, its numbers fell short of what was expected by Disney. The lower figures mean the new film fell behind Disney’s last live-action remake, Maleficent .
The Disneynature film, set in South Asia, follows the story of a macaque monkey, named Maya. With a new son, Kip, and her longtime home, Castle Rock, being taken over, Maya faces various struggles. Her ultimate goal is to get her home back and establish a good future for her son. The movie is narrated by Tina Fey. The director of the film, Mark Linfield, spent over 2 and a half years filming and following the animals for the movie . The movie was released on April 17th. The opening weekend numbers have yet to be released. . .
SPRING 2015 RELEASES
Released on February 20th, 2015, the sports-drama, McFarland USA, tells the story of a high school cross-country team as they attempt to succeed under the supervision of a new coach, played by Kevin Costner. The director of the film, Niki Caro, expressed that film is especially timely with the current debate over immigration . The movie is set in a highly immigrated area and a majority of the athletes are from migrant families. Opening weekend grossed $11,020,798 and the movie made an overall domestic total of $42,715,645 . The film was not as successful as Disney had hoped, opening at number 4 in theaters and continually falling in rank week to week. .
Tomorrowland will be released on May 22nd 2015. The movie was directed by Brad Bird and stars Academy Award winning actor, George Clooney. The cast also includes Britt Robertson, this year’s “Star of Tomorrow” award winner  at CinemaCon, and Judy Greer. The films tells the story of a young girl who finds a mysterious and magical pin. Touching the pin reveals a new and better world . Disney is keeping the details of the plot a vaulted secret. Disney’s new sci-fi/fantasy film is inspired by the Disneyland park attraction and Disney World’s Epcot theme park. In a newly released featurette, Disney informs audiences of the tie between the film, Walt Disney and his original team’s vision for the future. The film is inspired by Walt’s vision of what the future would be like, as well as his ideas for the development of society . The nostalgia of the film and reference to Walt Disney, adds Tomorrowland to Disney’s list of inspired remake films, such as last year’s Maleficent and this year’s Cinderella.
FUTURE FOR DISNEY PICTURES
On March 12th 2015, The Walt Disney Company held their 2015 annual meeting of shareholders . At the meeting, CEO Robert Iger and Chief Creative Officer, John Lassester  announced exciting future projects for Disney. In October of 2012 Walt Disney Studios bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion . At this years annual meeting, Disney acknowledged three new Star Wars projects the studio has been working on. Star Wars: The Force Awakens will premier in theaters on December 18th 2015. The film is the 7th episode of the Star Wars series and is set thirty years after the last Star Wars film, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, which was released in 1983. The film was directed by J.J. Abrams and stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, & Carrie Fisher. The 2nd official teaser was released in April 16th 2015.
At the meeting, Iger announced the production of another Star Wars film, Rogue One. Set to release on December 16th 2016, the film written by George Lucas is a spin-off to the original franchise. Finally, Star Wars: Episode VIII will arrive in theaters on May 26th 2017 . The film will be directed by Rian Johnson and will continue the Star Wars story after episode 7. In addition, Disney Animation has officially announced plan of production for Frozen 2. After the huge success of the original film, it is no surprise that Disney is taking advantage of a sequel . A release date has yet to be set for the film.
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