Powered by its superhero and animated franchises, Walt Disney Studios has reached two box office milestones in 2016 – and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is still yet to come. First, the studio set a new industry record with $2.49 billion at the domestic box office, beating out Universal’s record of $2.45 billion from 2015. In addition, Disney surpassed $4 billion in overseas box office for the first time in its history. (Universal was the first company to accomplish this, with $4.44 billion in 2015.)
In 2015, Universal’s box office triumph was driven by the successes of “Jurassic World,” “Minions,” “Fast and Furious 7” and “Fifty Shades of Grey.” This year, Disney owes its accomplishments to “Finding Dory,” “Zootopia,” “Doctor Strange,” and “Captain America: Civil War.” In addition, “Moana” dominated the Thanksgiving box office after its November 23 release, and “Rogue One” ticket sales have only just begun. Disney’s box office total will undoubtedly jump as “Moana” continues to screen and “Rogue One” hits the first of its worldwide release dates on December 14.
The international box office is becoming a more and more significant part of Disney’s bottom line. Unlike some of this year’s other superhero fare – “Deadpool” and “Suicide Squad” – “Doctor Strange” was released in China, and the benefits of that distribution show in its overall box office haul. “Rogue One” does not currently have a release date in China, but it is expected to arrive sometime in January.
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