Propelled by the intergalactic juggernaut that is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Walt Disney Studios will top $5B is worldwide grosses today for the first time in its history, but domestically, it’s No. 2 behind Universal Pictures. The J.J. Abrams-helmed Force Awakens is providing only the latest rocket boost for Disney, which has reached stratospheric heights with such 2015 fare as Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Inside Out, Cinderella and Ant Man.
The $5 billion marks a new high for Disney, topping the $4.73B is rang up in 2013. The studio passed the $4 billion threshold in October; that was a record pace for the studio, beating the 2014 mark by six weeks. It’s the third consecutive year Disney has ripped past the $4B mark.
Disney crossed the $1B mark at the domestic box office this year in a studio-record 174 days on June 25, beating the 188-day previous record set on July 8, 2012, by two weeks. That was driven by the spring/summer releases of Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out, Marvel’s Ant Man and Walt Disney Pictures’ Cinderella.
In terms of studio market share, even with The Force Awakens added in, Universal Pictures still leads overall to date with 23.1% with $2.4B domestically versus Disney at 17.9% at $1.86B. Of course, Universal unleashed such worldwide monsters as Jurassic World, Furious 7 and Minions this year — all of which are among the 10 highest-grossing films of all time worldwide (see story here). According to Rentrak, from Jan. 1 to Dec. 20th, the percentages tracked Universal’s 26 titles while Disney released 15 films.
“It’s right down to the wire with Disney amassing a whole galaxy full of dollars in the home stretch of the box office year in a virtual horse race toward the finish line with the 2015 mega-successful Marketshare leader Universal,” says Rentrak’s senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “With just 11 days to go, it’s anyone’s guess where we will wind up. Either way, both studios have had a truly incredible year.”
2015 domestic B.O. (jan. 1 – Dec. 20)