ARTNEWSPRESS: Disney will pass $3 billion at the domestic box office for the third time in its history in 2019, following the release of this week’s Frozen 2. It’s been a year full of landmarks for the Mouse House, beginning with the finalization of their Fox deal in March. Then, Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe came to a close this summer, and not long before Avengers: Endgame officially passed Avatar to become the highest grossing movie of all time. More recently, the studio unveiled its much-hyped Disney+ subscription service, and has already surpassed expectations when it comes to its subscription numbers.
With Frozen 2 now playing in theaters and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker set to close out the Skywalker Saga in December, it’s safe to assume Disney will end this year on a strong note too, as far as the box office is concerned. Prior to 2019, the studio had already become the first studio to cross the $3 billion mark domestically on two occasions, first in 2016 and then again in 2018. Now, it has matched (or, rather, is about to match) its own record for a third time.
Deadline is reporting that Disney will have passed $3 billion at the domestic box office in 2019 by tomorrow, November 23 (if not sooner) thanks to Frozen 2. The studio’s current total this year stands at $2.946 billion (not counting Fox movies towards the amount) – and with the Frozen sequel estimated to bring in $45 million today alone, it won’t be long before the $3 billion number is official.
Between its purchase of Fox and complete domination of the box office this year, many film buffs have (fairly) expressed concerns about Disney securing a choke-hold on the film industry that will make it all the harder for smaller titles (or non-Disney movies in general) to find an audience in the future. Not helping things, a lot of studio releases have under-performed or disappointed this year, be they followups to fairly recent smash-hits (Godzilla: King of the Monsters), legacy sequels (Terminator: Dark Fate), or relaunches of popular franchises from the past (Charlie’s Angels). At the same time, most of 2019’s biggest commercial failures can be blamed on several factors, as opposed to Disney simply hogging all the box office loot for itself. Combined that with the sheer number of true event movies the Mouse House released this year, and it’s no surprise Disney pummeled its competition over the last twelve months or so.
2020, however, could be a very different story. With the Star Wars movies going on hiatus until 2022 and nothing on the level of Endgame or Frozen 2 on its docket, Disney will have to work harder to pass $3 billion at the domestic box office next year – again, without counting Fox’s box office gross towards their total. At the same time, other studios will be bringing out their bigger guns in 2020, with new installments in franchises like James Bond, Fast & Furious, and Wonder Woman scheduled to reach theaters. It’s generally unwise to bet against the Mouse but, at the very least, the contest for the box office crown should be more exciting next year.