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Disney breaks $7bn box office record

News, 21 December 2016
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LOS ANGELES: Disney has become the first studio to pass the $7bn mark for global box office receipts thanks to the success of its brands including Lucasfilm, the makers of the Star Wars franchise, and Marvel, the producer of superhero stories.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is just the latest successful release, having taken $290m on its opening weekend and giving Disney five of the top six North American openings in the history of the industry, ScreenDaily reported.

The company also currently has four of the top-grossing films of the year, including three that topped $1bn, and a fourth, The Jungle Book, that fell just short.

Its top worldwide films include Captain America: Civil War ($1.15bn); Finding Dory ($1.03bn), Zootopia ($1.02bn), and The Jungle Book ($966bn). Doctor Strange, starring British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, is still on release but has taken $652.8bn to date.

"This historic achievement is possible because all of our film studios are bringing their absolute best to the table, telling great stories of all kinds that resonate with audiences across borders, gender, and generations," said Disney Chairman Alan Horn. "These films work because each one has not only something for everyone, but everything for someone."

Still with about ten days left in the year, the Guardian reported that the momentum generated by the latest Star Wars adventure and the popularity of Disney's animated film Moana could propel the company's overall takings closer to $8bn.

"Perhaps no company is better than Disney at taking a character, TV show or movie and turning into a money making franchise," said Ira Kalb, Assistant Professor of Clinical Marketing at the Marshall School of Business, the University of Southern California.

Kalb went on to outline in the Huffington Post what other brands and marketers can learn from Disney, including its approach to merchandise, partnerships and e-commerce.

"What gives you control and enables you to expand your revenue model is the uniqueness and desirability of your brand and your various products," he said.

"Uniqueness that provides clear benefits to your target audience is a wonderful thing to have because at some point in the purchase process somebody in the distribution channel has to pay you."

Data sourced from ScreenDaily, Guardian, Huffington Post; additional content by Warc staff

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