Disney is Responsible for 80% of the 2019 Box Office
Art and Experience: Disney is clearly having a great year, but is it as great for the rest of us?
Disney has eight of the top ten movies of 2019 and captured 80% of the box office this year. This unprecedented dominance is striking and unusual, but it marks a shift in high powered, conglomerate filmmaking that could be the future of cinema.
The year was dominated by Avengers: Endgame, but outside of that Disney also put forward Lion King, Captain Marvel, Aladdin, Spider-Man: Far from Home, Frozen 2, Toy Story 4, and lots of other titles that inspired people to head out to theaters.
Disney’s dominance is historic.
How did we get here?
Disney purchased Marvel, Pixar, and Star Wars over the last decade and committed themselves to making the biggest movies out there. They embraced the idea of betting on tentpoles and insulated themselves against huge flops like John Carter and Tomorrowland by having other humongous hits that made up for those losses.
“We are not embarrassed by the fact that we have big blockbuster movies that people enjoy,” Kevin Mayer, Disney’s head of direct-to-consumer products, told The Verge, who first ran this story.
What happens next?
After acquiring Fox, Disney now holds the rights to almost all of the top ten grossing films of all time. Which is staggering. Even though 2020 is not as stacked as the last few years, they still have a Black Widow film and The Eternals. Plus Mulan, Soul, Onward, and Jungle Cruise.
That doesn’t even take into account all the stuff released on Disney+.
What about the rest of the studios?
The race of franchises has not slowed down at all.
Universal has spun off Fast and the Furious and Paramount is making more Mission Impossible and Transformers titles. Sony is betting huge with another Ghostbusters they hope spawns a series of hits.
And Warner Brothers is finally embracing a diverse set of DC titles and pushing those films out to bolster a reboot of Batman coming in a few years.
With all this money spent on huge titles, it’s hard to see indie titles continuing to succeed. Places like A24 and Annapurna have made a name for themselves by releasing an interesting set of original content.
Hope exists as titles like Little Women and Knives Out look like Awards contenders and also box office successes.
Still, with Disney taking such a large portion of the market you have to wonder if other places will load up on similar event titles to try to compete. That could mean fewer and fewer films being released every year.
That obviously affects jobs and opportunities as well.
Hopefully, a place like Lionsgate or another similar small studio decides to buck the trends and make original stuff. But what is more likely is that these movies get cannibalized by streamers who need content or are pitched by successful creators as shows or limited series.
Whatever happens next, we are witnessing history.