Sunday, November 5, 2017

Disney's 2019

In 2016, Disney dominated the box office by grossing over $7 billion in one year, largely thanks to a string of hits including "Zootopia," "The Jungle Book," "Finding Dory," "Captain America: Civil War" and "Rogue: One." They had three films earn more than a billion each.

Now, after the recent announcements at D23 and elsewhere, we're looking another potentially massive year for the Mouse House coming in 2019. The schedule currently looks like this:

“Captain Marvel” (3D) — Mar. 8, 2019
“Dumbo” (3D) — Mar. 29, 2019
Untitled Disneytoon Studios — April 12, 2019
Untitled “Avengers” (3D) — May 3, 2019
“Aladdin” (3D) — May 24, 2019
“Toy Story 4” — June 21, 2019
“The Lion King” (3D) — July 19, 2019
“Artermis Fowl” (3D) — Aug. 9, 2019
“Nicole” — Nov. 8, 2019
“Frozen 2” — Nov. 27, 2019
“Star Wars: Episode IX” (3D) — Dec. 20, 2019

As always, the usual caveats apply. I fully expect that either the "Aladdin" or "Avengers" films will be moved back to avoid cannibalizing each other, and we could see the newly announced "Artemis Fowl" or "Nicole" delayed to 2020. However, we're looking at a year where there are four very good candidates for billion dollar grossers. Even if several of the smaller titles bomb, and remember that several did in 2016, Disney's 2019 box office is likely to be another record breaker.

First off, you have two climactic endings to long-running action series. "Star Wars: Episode IX" will finish off the new trilogy of "Star Wars" films, while the fourth "Avengers" film has recently been described as the end of the 22-film series that started with "Iron Man" in 2008. The description is a little vague, but it does point to something climactic in the works. Notably, at the time of writing Disney hasn't announced much in the works for these two franchises beyond 2019. Whether it's more sequels or possible reboots, I definitely expect the momentum to start slowing down for both the MCU and "Star Wars" after that point, so Disney is going to be playing up both of these quasi-finales as much as they can.

However, potentially overshadowing both is the prospect of "Frozen 2." The original "Frozen" was a global phenomenon, the highest grossing animated Disney film of the modern era. "Toy Story 3" isn't that far behind it, currently the reigning box office champ for PIXAR. I have my doubts about there being much demand for a "Toy Story 4," especially with a nine year gap since the previous installment, but I think the next sequel is bound to do plenty of business even if it doesn't break a billion. "Frozen 2" has a much better chance, especially if the sequel improves on the original. Personally, I don't think that will be difficult since "Frozen" always struck me as an oddly slapdash Disney film with a lot of little flaws that could have been fixed with more time and care.

There are three different "live action" adaptations of Disney classics on the 2019 slate right now. Of those. "The Lion King" will almost certainly do the best, and has a decent shot of breaking a billion based on the popularity of the 1994 animated film. I don't think that the prospects of "Dumbo" and "Aladdin" are very good, however. Tim Burton is essentially constructing an original story with a lot of new human characters around the basics of the 1941 cartoon, and he hasn't had the greatest track record lately. Meanwhile, "Aladdin" is currently in a pretty odd place on the schedule. If any of these are going to be moved, I expect it to be "Aladdin."

Then we have "Captain Marvel," which is notable for being the next female-led superhero film after "Wonder Woman" and the MCU's first. The character is fairly obscure, but like Black Panther the character is going to be introduced in an earlier MCU film, which should give it a boost. This is currently a big question mark for Disney, but it doesn't have much competition and should be a decent performer. Finally, there's the "Untitled Disneytoon Film," which is an space-themed spinoff from the "Cars" universe, in the same vein as "Planes." It'll probably be the lowest grosser on the roster.

I'm looking forward to some of these movies, particularly "Episode IX," but I'm worried that Disney may be pushing too hard. I can easily see some of these franchises running out of steam, especially if they do try to put all three live-action Disney adaptations out in the same year, or keep pushing the MCU like this. Keep in mind that there's competition coming too, in the form of more "Fast and Furious," "Transformers," Dreamworks, and DCU movies. It feels a little like Disney is pressing their luck.

No comments:

Post a Comment