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Disney has basically owned the box office for the last several years. The House of Mouse has been the studio box office champ the last three years, and is currently leading the pack in 2019 as well. However, what makes Disney's dominance so impressive is that the studio doesn't just win, it does so without breaking much of a sweat. Following a big weekend for Disney's newest release, The Lion King, the studio has set a pair of box office records thanks primarily to overseas business.
Disney passed the $5 billion mark in international box office according to Variety, the first studio this year to do so. This, when added to the over $2 billion the studio has done domestically, brings Disney's total box office take for the year worldwide to $7.67 billion. This breaks the record that Disney itself set in 2016, at $7.61 billion.
Yes, you read that correctly. Disney has already set a worldwide box office record, and it's not even August yet. Of course, when you produce the biggest movie ever made, that certainly helps your numbers.
This means that the three movies the studio has left to release this year, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Frozen II, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will simply be gravy for the studio from a box office perspective. The fact is that two of those movies could make a billion dollars themselves, whjch means that Disney could end up making $10 billion worldwide at the box office this year. That number is clearly insane, but it's absolutely within reach.
It's all the more crazy when you consider that not every Disney release has been a massive hit. Dumbo didn't do as well as expected. If that movie had been another hit, Disney would likely already be over $8 billion by now.
It makes one wonder what's next. Disney is a publicly traded company and so investors are always looking for growth. That's going to be potentially difficult for the movie studio side to achieve when it sets a record this significant. The acquisition of Fox will certainly help, but the company has added little to the box office bottom line so far this year.
The fact that the majority of that total has come from overseas also shows just how important non-domestic markets have become. The Lion King is just short of $100 million in China and that's a country where the film hasn't been number one since its first weekend. Aladdin did nearly $100 million in Japan. Toy Story 4 has done nearly $70 million in Mexico.
Being the first studio to pass $5 billion internationally is big. Having a movie that's a hit at home is great, but when you can attract a variety of audiences it simply adds to the bottom line.
We'll have to wait and see just where Disney ends the year. Will they break the $10 billion mark? It seems quite possible. Even if not, the studio will get closer to that than any company ever has before.