Films under the Disney umbrella earned over $3 billion at the box office in 2018 but the company is looking to exceed expectations in 2019.
When one looked at the 2018 calendar, Disney films accounted for at least one film every month. As pointed out by The Big Picture, Disney CEO Bob Iger tightened things down to the point that the studio releases about a dozen films a year or less. The Mouse didn’t release anything in January last year because of the rollover in box office revenue from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Thor: Ragnarok, and Coco. Things are looking very much the same in 2019 with the expected rollover in revenue from Mary Poppins Returns and Ralph Breaks The Internet.
While last year saw the release of Black Panther in February, this year is different with the Brie Larson-starring Captain Marvel being released on March 8, 2019. Avengers: Endgame will follow suit on April 26, 2019. While the first weekend of May has generally been a placeholder for a new Marvel Studios release, the studio has changed it up after Avengers: Infinity War in 2018. I fully expect both films will be box office juggernauts. This doesn’t even take into account the Marvel Studios-produced Spider-Man: Far From Home. The next Spider-Man film is currently scheduled for July 5, 2019. That being said, the film will be distributed by Sony rather than Disney.
It’s going to be quite the year for Disney’s animated canon getting a live-action or photo-realistic release. This year sees not one, not two, but THREE different films! While it’s smart of the company to space things out, the second and fourth weeks of March will see total Mouse domination. That is unless Dumbo under-performs upon its March 29 release. Among all the Disney films expected to be released in 2019, this is the one film in which I don’t have faith with regards to expectations. Even when I first watched the trailer, I wasn’t completely sold on the film. The 1941 cartoon was only 64 minutes in length. The live-action adaption is expected to run just over 2 hours.
The next animated film to see a live-action release will be Aladdin on May 24, 2019. This gives Avengers: Endgame about a month to dominate the May box office. When the initial images were released for the film, there was quite the outrage with regards to Will Smith’s Genie. Will he be blue in the film? This is still hard to say as the teaser doesn’t show much. I have full faith that Aladdin will perform quite well this summer.
The Lion King will see its much-anticipated theatrical release on July 19, 2019. I’ve been a fan since the first trailer. So what if the trailer was essentially a shot-for-shot remake of the animated film’s trailer. It got our attention! Beyond that, this is a film that features a star-studded cast so I fully expect this film will earn a lion’s share of the box office when it opens this July.
August is generally a weak month although some studios are trying to make it something of an event month. Disney is adding to the fold by way of Artemis Fowl. Based on the novel by Eoin Colfer, Kenneth Branagh directs the feature film of the same name. Ferdia Shaw, Lara McDonnell, Tamara Smart, Nonso Anozie, Hong Chau, Josh Gad, and Judi Dench star in the film. We’ll see how things hold through Labor Day weekend.
On the animation front, we’re getting the 58th Walt Disney Animation Studios film when Frozen 2 comes out on November 22, 2019. The animation studio typically owns November and this year is expected to be no different. Even if you wish to let it go, Frozen 2 is one of my most-anticipated films. Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee return to direct while Lee pens the script with Allison Schroeder. Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, and Jonathan Groff reprise their roles as Anna, Elsa, Olaf, and Kristoff, respectively. Both Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez will be providing the music once more. The sequel’s release comes six years to the day of its predecessor, Frozen, in 2013. Do you want to build a snowman?
Meanwhile, Pixar unleashes the fourth installment of the Toy Story series when Toy Story 4 opens on June 21, 2019. The studio is really spacing things out here! The film’s release comes about a month in between Aladdin and The Lion King. The third film in the franchise was one of the best Pixar films to date so expectations are riding high for the fourth film.
Meanwhile, Star Wars: Episode IX is looming in December. J.J. Abrams took over the director’s chair as he replaced Colin Trevorrow. Abrams also co-wrote the script with Chris Terrio. Reports suggest a one year jump into the future. Who knows what the state of things will be between The Resistance and The First Order. One thing that is for sure is that Carrie Fisher will appear in the film by way of footage shot during Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. There will be no Peter Cushing CGI like in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. This will also be the final Star Wars film in which John Williams provides the score.
It’s Walt Disney’s World. We’re just living in it.