ENTERTAINMENT

Disney Had A Blockbuster 2019. Here’s What It Has On Deck For 2020

Dec 25, 2019, 9:56 AM
Walt Disney Pictures...
Walt Disney Pictures

(CNN) –– The Walt Disney Company is going to have a hard time living up to its record-breaking 2019.

First of all, there are no Star Wars or Avengers films on the docket in 2020. There are, however, two Marvel films: “Black Widow,” a prequel about the super spy starring Scarlett Johansson and “Eternals,” with Angelina Jolie and Kit Harington as immortal beings who shape the events of earth.

There will also be a live-action reboot of the animated classic “Mulan,” two Pixar films — “Onward” and “Soul” — and a film based on the theme park ride “Jungle Cruise,” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Emily Blunt.

It’s a lineup with a lot of potential but it could lead to “a more subdued year at the box office,” Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com, told CNN Business.

“Disney has a 2020 slate that most studios would kill to have, but by their own recent standards, next year is missing a big event film that everyone has to see,” he said. “Sure, they have two Marvel movies and a few others that could be sneaky big hits, but there’s no epic conclusion like ‘Avengers: Endgame’ or even a Star Wars movie.”

This means other studios have a chance to topple Disney from its perch. So far, the competition is looking stiff: Warner Bros. is releasing “Wonder Woman 1984,” “Birds of Prey” and Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” in 2020. Paramount has two big sequels with “Top Gun: Maverick” and “A Quiet Place Part II.” And Universal is set to release “Fast & Furious 9” and the next film in the Halloween series, “Halloween Kills.” There are also sequels for James Bond, “Ghostbusters,” and “Coming to America.”

A hard-to-top year

This has been a landmark year for Disney. In March, the company closed its $71 billion acquisition for most of 21st Century Fox. In July, it set the record for the highest-grossing studio in box office historyStar Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the parks division’s biggest expansion ever, opened to incredible fanfare. And Disney+, the company’s first major leap into the streaming world, officially launched.

“When we look back in 20 years, I think people will say 2019 was one of the three or four biggest years in the company’s history,” Trip Miller, a Disney shareholder and managing partner at hedge fund Gullane Capital Partners, told CNN Business.

But next year will be focused on fine-tuning what Disney achieved this year, according to Miller.

“2020 is about tweaking the things that they acquired or launched in 2019,” he said. “It’s about refinement or making what they have better.”

Robbins of Boxoffice.com said 2019 is a “capstone year after a decade-plus of strategic build-up.” Bob Iger has been on shopping spree during most of his tenure as CEO, buying big brands like Pixar in 2006Marvel in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012 before snapping up companies like BAMTech to build Disney+ and Fox to fill the coffers of that streaming service.

What ensued was a global box office windfall that surpassed the $10 billion mark in 2019, shattering Disney’s 2016 record of $7.6 billion. The company released a record six films that made $1 billion or more with “Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker” potentially being the seventh. And as if that weren’t enough, “Avengers: Engame” surpassed “Avatar” in ticket sales and grabbed the top spot as the highest grossing film in global box office history.

“All of our brands contributed to the success, whether it was Disney live action or Disney Animation and Pixar to Marvel Studios,” Cathleen Taff, Disney’s president of distribution, told CNN Business. “And that’s really the only way you can get to sort of a number like that.”

But Robbins said that to “expect that kind of recent blockbuster success to be sustainable year to year isn’t realistic by anyone’s standards, including Disney.”

The company’s dominance this year came with some setbacks. “Dark Phoenix,” “Stuber” and “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” films produced by its newly-acquired Fox studio, flopped at the box office and Disney+’s launch day was mired by glitches.

But the steaming service quickly recovered ended its first day with 10 million sign-ups — the prize for years of work that Iger has repeatedly called his “highest priority.”

“Disney+ will prove to be the one thing that repositioned the company on several media fronts,” Miller said. “It will connect the company to the next generation of storytelling.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Entertainment

In 1991, when actor Mila Kunis moved to the United States, her family left their home in what was t...
Gabriel Kinder, CNN

Mila Kunis responds to the war in Ukraine by raising millions of dollars to aid those who are suffering

In early March, Mila Kunis and her husband, Ashton Kutcher, launched Stand With Ukraine, with the goal of raising $30 million. To date, the campaign has raised more than $36 million, and more than 75,000 people have donated.
2 days ago
Khaby Lame has unseated Charli D'Amelio to become the most popular person on TikTok. He has some 14...
Faith Karimi, CNN

This wordless comedian is now the most-followed person on TikTok

Comedian Khaby Lame has become the king of TikTok — all without uttering a word.
3 days ago
Composer John Williams attends the 40 Years of Star Wars panel during the 2017 Star Wars Celebratio...
JAKE COYLE, AP Film Writer

John Williams, 90, steps away from film, but not music

After more than six decades of making bicycles soar, sending swimmers panicking and other spellbinding close encounters, John Williams is putting the final notes on what may be his last film score.
3 days ago
Michael J. Fox will be honored by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for his contribu...
CNN wire

Michael J. Fox to be awarded honorary Oscar

Michael J. Fox will be honored by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for his contributions to film and his efforts to help cure Parkinson's disease.
4 days ago
FILE -- Actor and comedian Bill Cosby returns to the courtroom after a break with his spokesman And...
BRIAN MELLEY Associated Press

Civil jury finds Bill Cosby sexually abused teenager in 1975

Civil trial jurors have found that Bill Cosby sexually abused a 16-year-old girl at the Playboy Mansion in 1975.
5 days ago
One of Elon Musk's children has petitioned a California court to recognize her new name and gender,...
Chris Isidore, CNN Business

Elon Musk’s child tells court she no longer wants ‘to be related’ to her dad

One of Elon Musk's children has petitioned a California court to recognize her new name and gender, saying she no longer wishes to be related to her famous and wealthy father "in any way, shape or form."
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Disney Had A Blockbuster 2019. Here’s What It Has On Deck For 2020