HK$46b and counting: Disney enjoys best ever year at the box office

Finding Dory, Captain America and Zootopia among the biggest hits, which have contributed to a record-breaking 2016 – and, with two months of ticket sales yet to be counted, the ultimate record is within reach

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 November, 2016, 8:48am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 November, 2016, 8:47am

Walt Disney Studios is celebrating its biggest ever year at the global box office after posting US$5.9 billion (HK$45.8 billion) in ticket sales during the first 10 months of 2016.

Hits such as Finding Dory , Captain America: Civil War and Zootopia ensured that the studio, which owns prestigious brands like Marvel and Pixar, has already beaten last year’s record US$5.8 billion with two months to spare, the company announced.

With a Star Wars spin-off, Marvel’s superhero movie Doctor Strange and animated musical Moana yet to open domestically at the time of announcement on Tuesday, the studio could comfortably pass the record of US$6.9 billion, set by Universal in 2015.

“For the second year in a row, the Walt Disney Studios has reached a new high at the box office thanks to an absolutely stellar collection of releases from Disney, Disney Animation, Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm,” said studio chairman Alan Horn.

“This success is a testament to the refined talent and innovative work the entire studio team puts into making these world-class cinematic experiences.”

Disney has set several records this year, becoming the fastest studio ever to hit US$2 billion domestically and US$5 billion at the global box office, both in July.

It has not been entirely plain sailing, as Alice Through The Looking Glass and The BFG were deemed commercial flops, while Pete’s Dragon hardly had the accountants jumping for joy.

Coastguard drama The Finest Hours also sank without a trace, with Variety magazine reporting that Disney was expecting losses of around US$75 million from the film.

On the other side of the ledger, the studio had three hits in 2016 that passed the illustrious US$1 billion global mark – Captain America (US$1.1 billion), Zootopia (US$1.023 billion) and Finding Dory, (US$1.022 billion).

The Jungle Book made US$966 million while Star Wars: The Force Awakens , which debuted in December last year, brought in US$737 million of its US$2.1 billion global take in 2016.

Those five films scored an average 94 per cent rating on RottenTomatoes.com, which aggregates the reviews for all releases.