Disney dominated the world of movies in 2018, earning roughly 19% of global box office revenues. The way this year’s unfolding, Disney may grab an even bigger percentage of the take.
But that’s a bigger slice of a smaller pie. After last year’s record year for box office receipts, January’s revenues were the lowest since 2011. Through February, domestic box office revenue was off nearly 20% from the same period in 2018. But then something marvelous occurred for Disney.
Captain Marvel posted the third largest March opening in history with more than 4,300 theaters achieving nearly $800 million in global box office in its opening 10 days. luckbox expects it will close in on $1 billion.
That will tilt more global box office revenue share toward Disney – but there’s much more to come from Disney’s “tentpole” release strategy for the remainder of this year.
Tentpole movies are mega-bud-get, franchise-feeding, blockbusters with 360° ancillary revenues. They support Disney’s other business units — such as the theme parks, merchandise and the Disney Music Group — the same way a single tent- pole carries most of the burden of keeping a tent upright.
Think of the film Frozen. Better yet, don’t think Frozen or else that earworm of a theme song will take hold in your brain. Really, let it go.
Anyway, like erecting a tentpole, Disney parlayed Frozen, the all-time highest-grossing animated movie ($1.27 billion), into a franchise whose music and merchandising revenue exceeded revenue brought in by the film itself.
Disney has an extraordinarily promising tentpole release queue for 2019 with sequels to Avengers, Toy Story, Frozen and Star Wars; and new live-action remakes of Disney classics including The Lion King, Aladdin and the recently released Dumbo.
Here’s the Disney 2019 release schedule, per ComScore:
Penguins (April 17)
Avengers: Endgame (April 26)
Aladdin (May 24)
Toy Story 4 (June 21)
The Lion King (July 19)
Artemis Fowl (Aug. 9)
Frozen 2 (Nov. 22)
Star Wars: Episode IX (Dec. 20)
Besides that stellar list, Disney also controls the film franchises it picked up with the acquisition of Fox, including Dark Phoenix and New Mutants. It’s looking like another banner year in the House of Mouse.